Sunday, September 16, 2012
Blast from the Past #593: September 3, 2002: Re: Turtle Titan, September 9, 2002: Premise 1488-12 ("The Unconvincing Turtle Titan") and first draft script "The Shredder Strikes" Part 2, September 11, 2002: notes on Episode 13 script, September 16, 2002: Re: Stuff, and September 29, 2002: Comments!
Subj: Re: Turtle Titan
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2002 11:31:39 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
In a message dated 9/3/02 10:13:09 PM, Lloyd writes:
<< Hi Peter -
We never did connect today. I would love your notes on Turtle Titan,
and, once I read through 'em, I would like to talk the story through
with you tomorrow on our usual 12:30 call.
Lemme know if 12:30 is a problem, as I will be in the voice record
session for show 3 most of the day (so you won't be able to get me at my
Hope you had a nice long weekend!
Sometime between 12:30 and 1 should not be a problem.
Re: "Turtle Titan" -- it is better than the last go-round, but still not quite there. My major problem with it is the bit about the "mind-controlling robo-bug" things. First, I can see why the villain might try to use them on the Silver Sentry, but why all of the other regular people (if, as stated in the outline, the Servo-Master's actual plan is to not only defeat Silver Sentry but to look like a hero doing it)? Why waster them on the purse snatcher (who's not, really), the ledge-jumper, and the bus driver? Am I missing something? Also, the "robo-bug in the ear" thing may just be a bit too grotesque (and inappropriate if we use another idea as explained below).
I also found how Mikey defeats the Servo-Master (basically somehow getting into the giant Robo-Tank -- a bit too easily, I might add -- and smashing some stuff) pretty clunky and crude -- not really making the best use of his ninja-ness. It also misses a prime opportunity set up by the "mind control" of Silver Sentry -- the classic "hero vs. hero" thing, where Mikey would have to (reluctantly) fight the crazed SIlver Sentry. I would suggest something like this: Instead of the robo-bug disappearing into people's ears, have it clamp onto the backs of their heads (perhaps underneath their hair), the implication being that it is tapping into the spinal column or brain from that position. This would allow Mikey the opportunity to -- during a fight where he has to use all of his ninja skills of evasion and dexterity to avoid being walloped by Silver Sentry -- do some kind of amazing "flip and grab" ninja-acrobatic stunt where he does some kind of wild twisting flip over the Silver Sentry's head and simultaneously grabs and pull off the robo-bug, freeing the Sentry from its mind-controlling influence. Then the Sentry could take on the Servo-Master and his Robo-Tank.
We'll talk more tomorrow.
Subj: Premise 1488-12 ("The Unconvincing Turtle Titan") and first draft script "The Shredder Strikes" Part 2
Date: Monday, September 9, 2002 9:46:23 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
I really don't have anything to say about the premise for episode 12 -- it's much improved, though. Actually, there is one thing -- the names of Silver Sentry and Servo Master. Are the words "Silver" and "Servo" too similar sounding?
I just remembered one other thing -- the (mis)use of the word "wail" or "wailing" to refer to beating up on somebody. I believe that should be "whale", as defined thus in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Main Entry: whale
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): whaled; whal·ing
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: circa 1790
1 : LASH, THRASH
2 : to strike or hit vigorously
3 : to defeat soundly
Re: "The Shredder Strikes" Part 2 first draft script: I have only a few comments. I think this one is going to have a lot of cool action.
1.) On page 4: "The Shredder's eyes get a wicked glint/squint as he lifts the HELMET from his revealing himself..." I think that should read "... from his HEAD revealing..."
2.) I think it might be useful to at some point have someone -- Splinter or Donatello -- identify Mike's injury as a sprained ankle (which is what I think we agreed it was) as opposed to a broken ankle or broken leg, because it would seem to me a lot less gruesome to have Mike bopping Foot guys with a sprain as opposed to a break. Also -- is splinting the appropriate action to take with a sprain? (And just as I wrote that, I had a goofy thought -- what if Splinter examines Mike's ankle and re-does the splint that Don put on it, and always-goofy Mike could make some kind of joke like "Hey, Master -- I guess this makes you a real Splint-er!")
3.) Page 22: The Battle Shell should NOT fire off rockets. If more action is desired, it could fire something less destructive, like a net.
4.) Page 23: Should the Guardian refer to himself as "THE Guardian" or "A Guardian"? There is more than one Guardian, right?
Subj: notes on Episode 13 script
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 1:10:38 AM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
This is pretty good! I have a few comments:
1.) Where's Splinter in all of this -- especially when the decision to go after the mystery creature is made (page 11) ?
2.) Page 23 -- I don't buy Raph deflecting laser beams with his sais... not enough flat surface area. Leo's swords, okay (we did it in the Mouser episode, in Stockman's lab). Also, as we already did do a "lasers target Turtles" thing in that Stockman episode, we should really try to differentiate this scene from that one.
3.) Page 24: When Don boots up the computer, and they see the Foot insignia on it, there's the following line:
"It's our old friend... Shredder"
This line sounds kind of hokey. Why not just "It's the symbol of the Foot!" There is a line following this where Raph says "We just got rid of him." (meaning the Shredder.) How is Raph so sure they "got rid of him"? In any event, I'm not sure of the appropriateness of Raph's line here, and we could easily lose it.
4.) Page 25: The Foot scientists says, on the videotape, "Master Shredder believes his Extraterrestrial enemies have taken refuge underground. " Is this line telegraphing too much? Should we just say "his enemies"?
5.) Page 26: Again on the Foot video --
FOOT SCIENTIST (V.O.)
"Day 345. The experiment appears to be a success. The creatures are exhibiting signs of intelligence on the order of dogs or pigs."
Weren't these creatures human beings to start with, with human intelligence?
P.S. One other thing I just thought of -- would the Turtles take the noisy Sewer Slider with its bright lights out to check out the tripped alarm... or would they go more stealthily?
Subj: Re: Stuff
Date: Monday, September 16, 2002 11:23:50 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
In a message dated 9/16/02 1:16:09 PM, Lloyd writes:
<< Hi Peter -
Sent ya two scripts and two premises today - lots of reading! As usual, I
need your comments asap. I need Marty to finalize Turtle Titan early this
week, Eric to finalize Underground pt. 1 this week, and Greg (new guy) to
forge ahead on Underground pts. 2 & 3 this week!
I'll try you again tomorrow.
I read them all! Herewith my comments:
Show #12 First Draft Script: I think "Turtle Titan" turned out much better than expected... certainly far better than the early premises promised. I have only a few comments:
1.) On page one, in the preview, I was concerned about the goofiness of Mike's "grapple line" as described -- "... cobbled together from an extension cord on a retractable reel..." -- the vision I had was that of Mike actually trying to use the extension cord itself as part of the grapple line, which would be really silly. Reading further I realized that this was NOT the case, but I think it should be made even clearer than it is right now that Mike is only using the retractable reel mechanism of the extension cord gadget as a cool "utility belt" way to reel in his grappling line.
2.) "Sensei" is spelled wrong on page 9.
3.) On page 15, Mike says to the Pedestrian "Dude, you were like this close to roadkill." I think it would read better and make more sense if he were to say instead "Dude, you were like this close to BEING roadkill."
Show #13 Second Draft Script: Not much to say about this one.
1.) On page 27, we see Raph "... in the air, spinning past the darts and SLICING through the turret." I ask -- slicing with WHAT? Is this another example of confusion of Raph's stabbing sais with Leo's slashing swords?
Show #14 Premise ("Notes From the Underground" Part 2): This is promising, as is part 3. I have several comments:
1.) On page 1, "steel" is misspelled "steal" twice.
2.) More importantly, on page one I don't buy the bit with Leo saving the monster (Creature #1) from being crushed by the piece of equipment -- seems totally inappropriate after the vicious, unprovoked assault on the Turtles by these creatures. I understand that it is in here to set up the idea that Creature #1 then decides to try to communicate with Leo, but I think it can be done better. My suggestion: The piece of heavy equipment in fact DOES pin Creature #1, leaving him (albeit temporarily) at Leo's mercy. Leo stops his killing stroke and lets the Creature #1 live, moving instead to escape. It is therefore this act of mercy which makes Creature #1 try to communicate. (In addition, I don't see any good reason to have the Creatures take the Turtles' weapons away from them, as with or without weapons the Turtles are clearly no match for these Creatures, at least as described in this scene.)
3.) Creature #1 is described as being "known as Jace"... known by whom, and how? And doesn't "Jace" sound kind of goofy for the name of this threatening creature? It sounds to me more like the name some skateboarder might have. Is this supposed to be the person's actual pre-Creaturizing name? Perhaps it would be more poignant if the Creature #1 calls himself by the name the Foot scientists gave him after he was mutated ("StoneBiter" or something like that)... and only distantly remembers his human name... or part of it. Maybe he can struggle to remember it, only being able to come up with the first sound ("... B--..." at which point Mikey says something like "Dude, don't sweat it -- we'll just call ya Bob!" or another name if preferred.
4.) On page 2, we hear the beasts slam against the "electrically charged force fields". Where did these come from? I don't recall the Turtles having to get through them.
Also, the gag with Mikey making the crystals crack when he tries to activate them makes NO logical sense to me. After reading the premise for part 3, I realize it's to set up the bit where Mikey disarms the Entity... but it still makes no sense.
And when Creature #1 says that the only place to get more crystals is down in the "place deep below", isn't he forgetting the Turtles' lair? Why don't they go there instead?
And what happened to the other two Creatures who attacked the Turtles? They seem to have just disappeared.
Show #15 Premise (Notes From the Underground" Part 3):
1. ) On page one, Mike's "badass" talk ("... picked the wrong mutant to snatch!", etc.) seems more appropriate for Raph.
2.) On page 3, the Entity "tries to recapture the Turtles with his bolos, but they're too fast." Why? Earlier he took them with no problem. What has changed? Has the Entity slowed down for some reason?
Also on page 3, there is a scene where "... Donatello whips a crystal bolo at him (the Entity)". Where'd that come from? How did Don get a bolo?
3.) On page 4, the scene where Mike cracks the crystal cocoon and "Jace" is restored to his human form seems a bit out of left field. I think we need to set this up a bit -- perhaps have the Entity actually say earlier that the cocooning is the beginning of the restoration process. Otherwise, it just seems too convenient (i.e. basically so we can wrap up the episode).
Actually, now that I think of it, does it make any sense that Mike could shatter the cocoon with just a blow from his 'chuks? If that's all it took, why couldn't the Creatures' great strength and/or bizarre abilities accomplish the same result?
Also on this page, I think we miss a neat story opportunity with the resolution of "Jace" and the others (i.e. they get back to the surface and just say goodbye to the Turtles). I would suggest something like this -- as they get closer to the surface, and farther away from the underground city, their creature aspects start to come back... prompting the grim realization that the effects of the Entity's process fade the further away they get... and to be fully human they'll have to go back to the underground city... and, ironically, fulfill the Entity's plan to repopulate the city. This way, we have more emotional content, and also set up another interesting adventure for the Turtles in the underground city when they return to visit "Jace" and the others.
That's all from me!
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2002 10:49:36 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
In a message dated 9/27/02 8:49:33 PM, Lloyd writes:
<< Hey Pete -
If you have any notes you can send me this weekend, writers are standing by!
Either way, enjoy! Talk to you Monday!
Here's a bunch of stuff!
Episode 16 outline ("The King": I'm probably going to be more critical than usual on this one, as I have a significant personal attachment to the "Kirby" story in the original comic book. Basically, what is in this outline is pretty good, but there are a number of places where it veers away from the original into areas which don't work for me, and for no apparent good reason.
1.) Pg. 3: The introduction up front of the character of Kirby doesn't work for me. I assume it was done to make his later appearance more easily understandable, but I don't think that's necessary, and in fact takes a little of his mystery away. I think it would work fine if she warns Don as she does in the comic about watching out for Kirby.
2.) Pg. 4: Let's substitute something else for "pork rinds", one of the more vile licensed products we were associated with last time around. Suggestions: pretzels, "SmartFood" (popcorn), barbecue soy chips, peanuts.
3.) Pg 4: Donatello says he's fixed the water heater in April's apartment "many times" before. Aside from the problem of timing (haven't they just met her recently?), it also raises the question of if he has been in her cellar many times, why hasn't he run into Kirby before? This is a change made for no apparent reason that I can see.
4.) Pgs. 4-5: The scene where Don encounters his first "Kirby critter", as written, is too much of an unnecessary fight scene for my tastes. I prefer the way it is in the comics, where he is just surprised by the critter as it flies squawking over his head. If we want to extend it for timing, we could easily make it similar to what happens when a bat or bird flies into the house -- encountering Don could fluster the critter and it could swoop around his head in confusion, freaking Don out until he grabs a handy broom and tries to chase the thing away, which he succeeds in doing, making it fly off down the corridor and around the corner.
5.) Pgs. 5-6: I don't understand why the Don/Kirby intro scene has been changed to what it is here. It doesn't work any better than the original, in my opinion, and I REALLY don't like the "Chinese gift shop" origin of the magic pen (PEN?!) which it leads into. I think it's cooler and more suspenseful if the critter disappears around the corner into a dead end corridor (it adds a bit of eeriness -- where the hell did it go to? What kind of wackiness is this??!!). Also, the change of the pencil in the original into the pen in this version doesn't work for me at all, not the least because, this being a story which is essentially a tribute/tip of the hat to Jack Kirby, a pencil is the right tool, because Kirby's greatest prowess was as a penciler.
6.) I'm not sure why the "Kirbyesque portal" thing has been replaced with the more ordinary window. The reason I did the portal in the original story was to add some more depth and mystery to the nature of the "warp crystal"... I liked the implication that there was some other (undefined) agency at work beyond what Kirby understood about the warp crystal, which is why there was only one thing (the portal) which he drew in his sketchbook that didn't quickly disappear like everything else the crystal brought to "life".
And there's a practical reason for making the portal a more permanent (at least apparently) anomaly -- would Don and/or Kirby be so quick to go through the window/portal into the other world if the window that Kirby has just drawn should -- if recent experience should be any kind of guide -- shortly disappear... stranding Don and Kirby in wherever they've ended up? I don't think so... which is one of the reasons why I made the portal the way it was in the original story.
7.) A general comment -- there seems to be some "stuff" added to this story as a kind of padding -- I get the sense that it was felt that to fit the tale neatly into our episodic time constraints, "stuff" needed to be added. I have no problem with that idea -- but I think it should be other "stuff".
8.) Pg. 8: I'm curious about the addition of the two "stone men" who are apparently on the side of the good guys. What's up with them?
9.) Pg. 8: I think it's a mistake to immediately have Don attacked by a monster when he and Kirby enter the other world. I'd prefer that they first experience this new place as something cool and exciting and beautiful -- which makes the following battle/angst that much more effective. (In fact, if padding is desired, this might be a good place to put it -- as Kirby and Don begin to wander around this new landscape, eyes bugging out (well, not QUITE literally) as they see wonder after wonder.
10.) Pg. 9: I think all creative types should call for a moratorium for at least a decade on the use of the "warrior/wizard/savior/doom/etc. foretold by prophecy" bit. It has truly become a cliche in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction, and it doesn't work for me here, and it isn't even necessary for the story. And what's with this "Protector" guy?
I also don't like the idea of the "massive dark cloud", not the least because of the way Kirby conquers it a bit later, by tearing the page on which he had drawn it in half. (The implication there is that it's the paper on which the drawings are made which is the magic part, NOT the warp crystal/pencil combination... which is exactly opposite of how it should be.) Also, why does destroying the black cloud also get rid of all of the monsters? Doesn't make sense to me.
11.) Pg. 11: "Kirby draws three more Donatellos." No.
12.) Pg. 11: What happened to the other two solutions Kirby tried in the comic -- the "mobile creep trapper" and drawing restraints on all of the monsters? It's unclear to me why these have been excised. The "mobile creep trapper" was specifically a nod to all of the cool cosmic machinery Kirby is well known for, and his ultimate solution -- quickly drawing restraints on all of the "bad" critters in his sketchbook -- was both a humane way to deal with them (capture versus killing) and a nod to the real Jack Kirby's legendary penciling speed.
13.) Most of what I like about the emotional content of the conclusion of the original comic story has been lost in this version. I like the fact that Kirby proves to be personally heroic by sacrificing himself (or at least the likelihood that he will ever get back to our world) for Don's sake by making Don go through the rapidly shrinking portal first. As written in this version, there's no jeopardy for Kirby at all -- apparently he could come or go anytime he wanted to.
Also, I like the fact that in the original tale we have the "bookends" of Raphael complaining about the hot water, which grounds this wild tale of fantasy in reality. (It also allows for a neat moment when Don gives the complaining Raph, who has no clue about what Don has just been through, that dirty look -- see the penultimate page of the original story.)
And I like the idea of the final shot being of the drawing/note which Kirby made into the paper airplane, instead of just the light being turned off and the door being closed as in this version.
I also object to the softening of the words of that final note, because one of the reasons I came up with that original story idea is because I was inspired by that quote (which comes from the last issue and last page, I believe, of Kirby's run on MR. MIRACLE), something I think really sums up our human existence in quite a pithy way. I don't see the ending as a downer in any way, though it is poignant. It's just an acknowledgment of reality, and I think kids will "get it".
Comments on Episode 17 and 18 ("The Shredder Strikes Back" parts one and two) treatments: Overall, I like these two treatments, not the least because they are taken from some of my favorite stuff from the original comic books. There are a number of problems though, but they are easily soluble.
1.) I don't think Leo going underground into the sewer tunnels by himself works -- I just don't think he would do that kind of thing solo. The resulting battle is also telegraphed -- you kind of expect him to get in trouble if he's going down there. I like better the idea that (as in the original comic) he is attacked when he does not expect it because that makes his desperate battle for survival all the more involving. Also, because (as in the original story) Leo has just gone out for an excerise/training run, it makes more sense that the other Turtles, Splinter, and April are not as worried about him as they might reasonably be if they knew he had gone down into the sewers to check on whether the Foot were gone or not.
2.) In Act Two, I think it's a mistake to introduce a new Foot soldier type (the huge Bio-Engineered Foot guy) -- I think we should save that for a separate episode. Instead, if the idea is that at this moment we want to see Leo up against physical strength and muscle (to go along with Raph's simultaneous comments back at April's pad) why not just have either (a) a really big, muscular Foot soldier, or (b) Hun?
3.) We see Don, Raph, and April's reactions to Mikey's "belching the alphabet" -- what's Splinter's reaction?
4.) The ending needs work. First, I think it would be more dramatic if BOTH of Leo's swords are broken by the Shredder, and in front of Leo. (Having BOTH swords taken from him and broken in this manner helps to make Leo's defeat and humiliation more dramatic.) I also think it works better if Leo is thrown/kicked/whatever through a WINDOW instead of having him stagger through the DOOR (which implies that somehow, in his battered, weakened state, he managed to get in at the ground level and make his way up the stairs to get in through the door... unlikely, I think).
1.) It seems like Leo is quite the little chatterbox in the first scene of Act One, where he is telling everyone about who is after him and why. A lot of this is self-evident, I think, and I think he should really be almost out on his feet at this point.
2.) I've always loved the scene where Casey enters the fracas in the Second Time Around shop, and having him come in on his motorcycle in this version is I think even a bit cooler. How about having him do a stunt similar to the one Tom Cruise did in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, where he smashes into the room and does a big stoppie (reverse wheelie, bike up on its front wheel as opposed to its back wheel) and spinning the bike around as he does so, the rear end of the bike taking out a handful of Foot ninjas?
3.) I don't like the bit where Leo grabs the broken half of his sword from the Shredder's belt (see my earlier comment about the ending of Part One), nor do I like the part where Splinter takes a wound for Leo. The latter bit seems unnecessary -- that scene would work just as well -- perhaps better -- if Splinter just deflects the Shredder's blow in some fashion (with his walking stick?).
4.) In this version, our heroes pile into April's van and head out of the city at the end of Part Two. In the original comic, they take Casey's car. I think we did it that way because we wanted them to escape in a vehicle that the Foot would be unlikely to be able to trace (it having no connection to April). Does this matter?
Comments on storyboard for Episode 8 ("Fallen Angel")
1.) Pg. 66: It should be Don, not Leo, with staff.
2.) Pp. 99-100, 127: How old is Angel? The way she's drawn, she looks about thirteen... so it makes me a bit queasy to read some of the Turtles' "quips" about her, i.e. about how Casey should go for her, get her phone number, etc.
3.) Pp. 283-286: All of the Turtles are giving a military style, hand-to-temple salute to get into the Purple Dragons' arena, whereas earlier the secret signal is just a raised, three-fingered gesture.
4.) Pg. 288: It's a nice drawing, but what is this view of the Turtles' lair doing here? Is it meant to be a shot of the Purple Dragons' arena?
5.) Pp. 404-405: When the Purple Dragon goon pulls Raph's coat off, Raph is then shown to be minus his pants too. How did that work?
6.) By the way -- what are we actually going to call the character who is now going by the name "Hun" in the scripts and storyboards? If memory serves, we decided to rename him, but this has yet to be reflected in the material being generated.
7.) Pg. 461: "... Leo and Mike struggling to get up..." Shouldn't that be Raph, not Mike?
8.) Pg. 511: In the very first panel of the profile -- very nice drawing, but what the heck is it? It looks like a trailer/office or something. I don't remember it from any other drawings of the lair.
Silver Sentry: I prefer the chest insignia in version "B".
Mike as Super Hero: I think I prefer version "A", not least because the shield is a reasonable size (unlike the oddly tiny one in version "B"). I think the circular "TT" medallion is cleaner than the tunic... will the medallion bounce up and down and get in Mike's face? (I think it should.) Re: the shield -- I envisioned the shell pattern painted on it going all the way to the outer circumference -- and should Mike also paint the "TT" logo on the center of the shield? Also, are we going to try some kind of boots for Mike's outfit?
I haven't read the script for Episode 14 yet... but hope to later tonight.