Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blast from the Past #591: August 25, 2002: Notes on lots of stuff, and August 27, 2002: Re: Howdy

Subj:  Notes on lots of stuff
Date:  Sunday, August 25, 2002 10:33:02 PM
From:  Peter Laird
To:    Lloyd Goldfine


Hope you are safely back from vacation and had a great time! I've got a bunch of comments on a number of things.

First, a general comment -- I think it would be VERY helpful to all concerned (especially me) if from now on any conceptual artwork come with a clear indication of what script (number and/or title) it is coming from/based on. There have times recently when I have gotten a drawing of a character and I scratch my head and wonder "Who the heck is this?"

Now, specific comments, on art first:

The Trio (Chinese woman, Indian gentleman, and Englishman): This is a good example of what I refer to in my comment above. These are nice drawings, but who ARE they? I don't recall them at all from anything which has come before. If they are the members of the Utrom/Guardian council, I thought they are referred to in the script as being identical. What am I missing?

Utrom Exo-Skeleton (revised): I think this is looking pretty good, although the head with its "sno-cone" top is a bit weak. But the more important issues are that (a) the Utrom in the stomach cavity looks REALLY squished, and (b) it doesn't look exactly like our Utroms should look (i.e. it appears to have tentacles/cilia sticking out of its head above mouth level, where our Utroms only have them along their lower edges). I would suggest redesigning the stomach cavity to be more comfortable and accommodating, and also to do a drawing of an Utrom so we can settle on the look for these guys in the show (as we will eventually be showing them in full view). A note: the Utroms have those short tentacles all around the circumference of their bodies' lower edge, and use them not only for locomotion and grasping/manipulation, but also they use some of them to grab onto grasping points inside the exoskeletons to keep themselves securely mounted when inside the exoskeletons.

Guardian Ninja: This guy looks too much like a member of the Purple Dragons for my taste. I think the Guardians need a very unique look with design elements derived, perhaps, from the Yama-Bushi tribe they came from, while at the same time being "normal"-looking enough so the Guardians can pass among humans without drawing too much attention.

Foot Tech Ninja: Better, and thanks for using the basic design that I sent you. The face needs work -- I'd like to see it keep the "multi-eye"/spidery look we were going for in the art I sent, as well as the segmented "mouth lines". I'd also like to see the shoulder pads have more than two segments (if you want to keep it simple for the animation, I think we could get by with three).

Baxter Stockman with eye patch and scar: This is a little over-the-top for me. Is it really necessary to have that huge jagged scar? I would think the eyepatch would be all we need.


TMNT episode 12 premise: "The Unconvincing Turtle-Man"

This premise is somewhat underwhelming ("unconvincing", you might say). One big problem I have with it is that it uses the story from the "Michelangelo Micro-Series" comic in a kind of throwaway manner. If we're going to use that story (and I think we should) I would want it to be the focal point of the episode. Now on to specific points:

1.) "The Green Gibbon" -- has this name been searched? And I believe "Turtle-Man" is the name given to a minor supervillain in DC comics (I could be wrong about the name, but I think Kevin and I illustrated -- at DC's request -- this character's page in DC's "Who's Who" series).

2.) Is a glancing blow from a closed canister of the ooze enough to mutate this human character in so radical a fashion? After all, it took near-total immersion in the ooze to mutate the Turtles.

3.) When April helps Mike make his costume, what is she thinking? If she is seriously trying to help him become a superhero, she's going against the direct wishes of Splinter, said wishes being something I think she would have become aware of -- at least in a general way -- since she has come to know the Turtles. Would she do that? Or is she humoring Mike? Or is Mike misleading her to get her help, perhaps saying that he needs the costume for a party that the Turtles are having or for a video he wants to make or something?
4.) The whole "Green Gibbon reveals himself and tells Mike how hard it is to be a superhero" thing seems kind of forced and ultimately unnecessary. (Hasn't Mike figured out that "how hard" part for himself, already?) And why would the Green Gibbon under his mask be a "scared-looking teenager"? The connection between GG and TMNT vis a vis the TCRI canister seems pointless, at least as told here. (Why would the Green Gibbon decide that "their destinies are clearly interlinked"? Perhaps their origins -- if we decide to go in that direction -- but their destinies? I think not.) 

I think this story has some potential, but it's pretty far away at this point. To start with, I would lose the "L'il OrphanAliens™"/Christmas sublpot (and save it for another episode, perhaps a Christmas special), and play up the "ups and downs of being a superhero" bit. For example -- Mike discovers that one of the BIG downsides to being a superhero is having to fight SUPERVILLAINS! He could find himself way out of his element trying to battle some supervillain with whatever gadgets/weapons/moves he's devised for his "Turtle-Man" persona. It might even be fun to do something like have him be losing this battle and in the course of it have his costume trashed and his gadgets destroyed, and along with them his superhero dreams... then SOMEHOW he gets hold of/makes a pair of nunchuks (or something that would work like 'chuks) and he realizes that he doesn't need that costumed crap -- he can kick major butt if he remains true to himself as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!

And corny thought it may be, this might also be fun: After Mike (as a ninja turtle) has defeated the villain, the Green Gibbon could show up and say something like "You did good, kid" and toss him something (a patented Green Gibbon "grapple vine"? a Green Gibbon decoder ring? etc.). As GG leaps away into the sunset, an awestruck (but wiser) Mike says something like "Wow... thanks, Green Gibbon!" (I'm thinking of that Coke commercial with the football player -- Mean Joe Green? -- and the little kid.)


Episode 13 Premise: "Notes From The Underground" Part 1

I think this is a promising start to a multi-episode story arc. My major concern -- and a final judgment will have to wait until we see all three pieces -- is that it all makes sense.

1.)  In Act One, when the Turtles start tracking the mysterious "hulking creature" down into the bowels of the earth, perhaps it would be cool to, along the way, have them encounter forgotten remnants of others who have passed that way, maybe skeletal remains of humans in clothing from different periods of US history (implying that other intrepid -- but ultimately unfortunate -- spelunking explorers once tried to fathom the mysteries of these depths).

2.) In Acts Two and Three, when the Turtles have to battle the two monsters in the dark, I think their ninja training in "eyes closed" fighting should figure in here somehow. In other words, they shouldn't be completely out of their element in the darkness. Maybe Leo is the best at it (because he ALWAYS listens to -- and practices -- Splinter's lessons.)

That's all for now!



Subj: Re: Howdy
Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 10:29:01 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 8/27/02 7:06:32 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi Peter -

Just a reminder:  please send me your notes on the storyboard for Show 3
(preview through act 3).>>


I liked the boards for Show 3 a lot! Quite cool -- a lot of charm and humor. I have only three minor comments:

1.) Pgs. 135-139: In these scenes of the newly mutated turtles (when Splinter first sees them upon waking up), I don't think they should already be standing upright, as they appear to be here.

2.) Pg. 139: Should Splinter already be in a robe here? Seems a bit early.

3.) Pgs. 161-162: "Mouser footprints" -- what's up with these? Are they footprints in the dust... or are we to think that the mousers make footprints in the stone or steel floor of the bank vault? I think it should be the former, because the latter strains credulity.

<<Also, is the profile for show 9 approved (Leonardo)?>>


<<Finally, we sent out revised models for Stockman's scar (I like version 1,
though I think we can still "shorten" it a bit), the tech ninja, the
exoskeleton, and I think the revised Guardian model should be on it's way
tonight as well.>>

I prefer version 2 of Stockman's scar (more unique).  Tech Foot Ninja is cool, and I could go for it as is, but I wonder if we should bring back the belt/wrap -- just to keep that basic identifiable design element of the Foot Ninja in this version. Exoskeleton is fine, and I didn't get a revised Guardian model tonight.


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