Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blast from the Past #583: June 14, 2002: comments on outline for Episode 1488-06 "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" and vehicle designs, and June 18, 2002: Re: Faxing new models and Episode 1488-003 ("Attack of the Mousers") script second draft and Episode 1488-05 ("Nanotech!") Outline

Subj: comments on outline for Episode 1488-06 "Darkness On The Edge Of Town"
Date: Friday, June 14, 2002 12:45:11 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:           Lloyd Goldfine


Just finished reading the improved outline for Episode 6. Here are my few comments (haven't heard Gary's comments yet):

1.) "Project" is spelled wrong in the first paragraph. ("... science porject...")

2.) I think "reverie" (i.e. "daydream") in the third paragraph is not the right word here.

3.) One thing about the confrontation in the museum I'm not clear about -- are the Foot guys armed with weapons they've picked up in the museum, or are these weapons they've brought with them, or both? Also, the Foot guy who uses the vibrational sword against the turtles -- should he do this on purpose or by accident? The reason I ask is that I wonder if the Shredder would have instructed his underlings in the martial uses of this sacred object... or would he keep that special knowledge to himself? I have this vision of a shot where the turtles are kicking butt and getting closer to the guy who's got the sword, and he nervously swings it wildly at them -- and the Turtles (to their great surprise) all get knocked on their asses by the sword's shockwaves.
The mission of the Foot in the Museum also seems a bit haphazard as laid out here. They ARE there specifically to get that special sword, right? The way it goes down it's almost as if the Foot guy who picks up the sword does so almost by chance. Maybe it's just the shorthand of the outline form, but I think it should be made clear that getting this sword is the purpose of the Foot's invasion of the Museum.  Perhaps the sword is in a special bullet-proof (or otherwise tough as heck) display case which requires some kind of special tools to break into, and the Foot guys also have with them a purpose-built carry-case for the sword. While a couple of Foot specialists do the actual stealing of the sword, the rest of the Foot take up defensive perimeter support positions.

4.) I like the glider thing, but as I read it I started thinking "How did Don test this thing out... in the sewer?" Perhaps it would make for some fun bits to have Raph or Mike ask him how he knows it's going to work right, and Don assures him that he's worked out all of the theoretical aerodynamics, etc... and when he jumps off the roof, at first he does all kinds of scary bobbles and weaves and flips before he gets the hang of it. Of course, while he's floundering around, back on the rooftop, Raph is yelling something like "Nice theory, Fly-Boy!"... or something actually funny.

5.) It didn't bother me when I read it in the first draft, but this time around the sudden "deus ex machina" appearance of Splinter in the big battle scene on the ship did bug me. It seems somewhat out of character for Splinter to come up out of the lair to help the Turtles in a fight. And why this fight? He didn't even know the Turtles were leaving, let alone where they were going. And by doing this, are we setting a bad precedent whereby whenever the Turtles get in a jam, we can just have Splinter show up to save their asses? I think if we have Splinter appear, there should be a good, specific reason that he does -- not just that he wants to help the Turtles out.

6.) Back in the sewer after saving the sword, "Splinter suggest that perhaps his sons should take his warnings about the Foot more seriously next time." What warnings were those? I thought Splinter didn't say ANYTHING about the Foot (specifically -- I know he forbids them to go after the Foot after the Museum thing, but that seems like more of a general "Don't mess around above ground" kind of warning... and as written he just FORBIDS them to go -- he doesn't actually WARN them about anything) to the Turtles, and in fact was quite secretive about what the Foot symbol meant.

7.) Re: the final scene -- would it be better/scarier/creepier to have the hapless Foot guy hanging above the barrel of ooze, or to have him tied down, perhaps in some oddly shaped container/mold, with the ooze poised to pour onto him (a la James Bond on the table in GOLDFINGER)?

That's all I've got!



Subj: vehicle designs
Date: Friday, June 14, 2002 12:46:27 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Gary Richardson


Given the problems we're having with the designs for vehicles for the new show, I'd like to see if we can get our vehicle master artist (Jim Lawson) involved in this design process, if he is interested. Do you remember what he got paid for this kind of stuff in the past? I'd like to get him started ASAP.



Subj: Re: Faxing new models
Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 12:11:25 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 6/17/02 6:18:46 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi Peter -

I'll be faxing you NEW rough turtle models and one in-progress SewerSled a
little later tonight.   It's important that Chuck Patton, our new designer,
and I speak with you early tomorrow.  I'll give ring at 12 noon.  If there
is a better time to reach you, just e-mail me and let me know.

Hope you had a happy Father's Day!



Maybe you should call around 12:30...?

I got the faxes. The SewerSled drawing is the best yet, but paradoxically it also illustrates (to me, anyway) the pointlessness of those extendo arms. They're just not working for me.  What exactly do they do again (other than take up storage space and add complexity and weight)? It seems like all they can do is, when extended, press against the walls of a tunnel of the right size and allow the SewerSled to essentially ride through the very center of the tunnel, in mid-air as it were (not sure WHY they would need to do that),  and/or do a kind of spiraling 360 degree motion similar to an amusement park ride (again, not sure why that would be a good thing, considering that if they're doing that to evade something in the tunnel, the body of the sled itself will only be -- CAN only be -- halfway between the floor and ceiling of the tunnel, and if they're upside down, the top/center arm will be on the ground, vulnerable to hitting whatever it is that they were trying to avoid). I would suggest eliminating these extendo arms and instead use the more practical and dramatic idea of using the speed of the SewerSled and centrifugal force to allow the turtles to do quick evasive moves up and around the interior of sewer tunnels, much like those circus daredevils who ride motorcycles in the "Sphere of Death" or "Cylinder of Doom".

The turtle figures are interesting, and the details are more in line with what they should be. Not sure I'm loving the "micro-beaks" and big chins on the turtles, though. The belt sashes are way too long, also.

Talk to you Tuesday!



Subj: Episode 1488-003 ("Attack of the Mousers") script second draft and Episode 1488-05 ("Nanotech!") Outline
Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 9:31:18 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I read both of these and have some comments. (Incorporated herein are some comments from Gary.)


Episode 1488-003 ("Attack of the Mousers") script second draft

1.) Pg. 5: "too" is spelled "to" in Mike's line "... but I'm talking to much."

2.) Pg. 6: Mike says on this page (re: April) that "This is the first human we've ever talked to." Do we want to establish this as stated... or do we want to leave it open for any future flashback-type story which might tell the tale of how the turtles encountered humans before this episode with April? If we want to leave it open, we could easily change Mike's line to something like "We don't have much practice talking to humans".

3.) On page 8 -- can we make Mike's MP3 player an iPod?

4.) Pg. 26: Instead of using the word "booted" when April says "Booted out", I would suggest "locked" or frozen". In computerese, "booted" usually refers to a program or system being started up.

5.) Pg. 35: Although they've just watched each other's backs in a shared adventure, and we know they are going to be fast friends for life, I'd like to see a little more awkwardness and tentativeness right now in these scenes with April and the turtles, as they kind of feel their way in this new and unprecedented relationship. (I mean, April's already calling them her "best friends"! I think that while she has calmed down since first seeing them, and she knows they mean her no harm, she's still a bit freaked out by them.) Also, I don't think April should put her hand on Splinter's shoulder -- it just seems too familiar a gesture, especially at this point in time, and especially with Splinter, who I see as being somewhat more aloof, private and dignified than any of the turtles. The same thing can be accomplished by her just looking at him.


Episode 1488-05 ("Nanotech!") Outline

1.) Overall, while I think the basic idea of this story is fine, it feels very weak in the rationale behind the Nano-Monster's actions. The old "artificial being yearns to be human" bit can be effective (STAR TREK: TNG got lots of mileage out of it with the character of Data), but I think to work it has to make sense. You could believe that Data, made by a human in the image of that human, with programming which allowed him to act nearly human, would want to try to make that final step and BECOME human. What would motivate our cloud of nano-robots to have a similar interest?

2.) I think if we go forward with this concept, we have to agree what kind of nanotech we are talking about here. My sense is that the writer is using the common perception of nanobots as "assemblers/disassemblers" of matter at the atomic level. These tiny robots could literally strip matter down to a pile of atoms and reassemble it into nearly any form (as long as you had the right kind of atoms). If this is so, then we need to adjust some of the stuff that happens in this story. For instance:

-- Atomic-level nano-disassemblers would have no trouble getting out of any kind of container -- they would simply attack it at the atomic level, and take it apart bit by bit. You might have to posit some kind of programming inhibition against disassembling the material of the container or incorporate some kind of non-physical (i.e. force/energy field) restraint.

-- Nanobots of this capability would be able to shape themselves into any form they wanted -- not merely kludge bits and pieces of junk into rough forms. (Unless, of course, there is some kind of limit imposed on these kind of creative actions by the nano's programming.) The mask that the Nano-Monster likes could be broken down and the features animated through atomic manipulation.

-- Nanobots of this type would not have to be "superhumanly strong" to break into locked stores -- it could simply (and quickly and silently) disassemble the locks at the atomic level.

3.) Given the above, I think the Nano-Monster's escape from the lab scene needs a lot of work, as do many of the following scenes of Nano-Monster action. 

4.) I don't buy that April is bummed-out because she can't find a job -- as smart and capable as we have pictured her, I don't think she'd have much trouble finding another job. I would instead suggest that she is a bit "gun-shy" of looking for work right away, given what happened with her last employer, the psychotic Baxter Stockman... and she's using the Second Time Around shop as a kind of therapy.

5.) Does the Nano-Monster's final form have to be so big (three stories high)? And if it "... starts to destroy April's antique store...", how much does it destroy, as in the final scene we have her opening the store for business the next day.

6.) Do junkyards have steel-melting furnaces? Perhaps we should set this last scene somewhere else, like a steel mill.

7.) If we keep the setting of the climatic ending battle as a junkyard, I wonder whether it might be a good idea to make the Nanotech be vulnerable to magnetism. This would then set up a situation for using one of those neat giant junkyard magnets to swing the crushed Nano Monster over the furnace -- or even to magnetically "suck" the Nanos out of the Monster.  On the other hand, this would mean someone, a Turtle, Casey, April, would need to be more directly involved in the "killing" of the Nano-Monster.



  1. Why make Mike's MP3 player an iPod? You getting paid by Apple or something?

    1. I wish! Actually, I'm pretty sure that was one of Gary's suggestions, though I could be wrong. I've not made it a secret that I am a Mac user and have great admiration for the design sense behind most Apple products. I've always found them to be easy and fun to use and get work done with. (Well... maybe not so much with the Newton PDA.) I understand that there are a lot of computer products that also are well-designed and get the job done... there's just something about the way Apple approaches the look and feel of their products that really appeals to me.

      It's kind of like in the world of motorcycles (another of my passions) -- most motorcycle manufacturers generally put out fine products that look good and work well. But to my eye, Honda has the best overall design sensibility, and that's a major reason why I've owned mostly Hondas. -- PL