Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blast from the Past #599: November 18, 2002: Re: Howdy, November 24, 2002: Re: TMNT 022 - Outline first draft and premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt.2", and November 25, 2002: Show #20 Final Draft and Show #21 First Draft

 


Subj: Re: Howdy
Date: Monday, November 18, 2002 9:45:50 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 11/18/02 2:29:34 AM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi all -

Here's a revised premise for 24 and a revised outline for show 25.  I'd
love notes asap so we can keep this puppy moving!  hope you all had a
nice weekend!

Thanks,

Lloyd >>

Lloyd,

Here are some comments:

Show 25 Outline "The Search For Splinter"

1.) Pg. 2: The bit with the Guardian bothers me. I assume he or some other Guardian(s) saved Splinter. Why is he so averse to telling the Turtles about this? What's this "code of secrecy" thing? In fact, if he IS so averse to letting the Turtles know what Splinter's whereabouts are, why does he say ANYTHING? He obviously doesn't HAVE to. (Saying to the Turtles "Your Master is alive... but his injuries are grievous" implies pretty clearly that the Guardian knows where Splinter is... very provocative to the stressed-out Turtles.) Why doesn't he just disappear in the cloud from his smoke grenade without responding to the Turtles' questions?

Also, the TCRI building is described as being "several blocks" big. Doesn't this seem a bit TOO large?

2.) Pg. 4-5: I appreciate the fact that the pigeon handpuppet bit is in there, but I really don't like the way it's been changed (for no apparent reason, as far as I can see). Why end act 3 with the Turtles landing in full view of the surveillance camera (and could the bit with Raph yelling to Casey over his communicator to ".. keep those guards from lookin' at those monitors!" BE any clunkier?), when it would be much more dramatic to end Act 3 with the tightrope's knot unraveling and the Turtles (apparently) plunging from it earthward? 
      Then Act 4 could start by showing them clinging to, then climbing up, the rope as it dangles from the rooftop edge of the TCRI building. Don could then do his thing with the pigeon puppet and instant camera (WITHOUT Leo's help and without a digital camera and computer -- pointless changes, in my opinion) as the others huddle behind him at the edge of the building.

3.) Pg. 6: I don't see any logical reason why Don would think that the hologram covering the vent would be "electrically charged" (!). He should just tell Mikey to be careful.

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Show 24 Outline "Lone Raph and Cub"

This one is a little better, but I have to say I'm at this point still underwhelmed by it. 

1.) Pg. 1: Is there any particular reason that the kid (Tochi) has to be Japanese (at least I'm assuming that with the name Tochi he is Japanese)? I don't think we have to be that literal in trying to make the Raph/Toshi situation analogous to "Lone Wolf and Cub".

2.) Pg. 2: Perhaps it's because I just did a bit with the Turtles in the most recent issue of the comic book where they are able to fight even while blinded because of their ninja training -- but the thing with Raph losing his sight and suddenly being totally helpless struck me as wrong. Unfortunately, the story (at least as written so far) pretty much falls apart if Raph doesn't need the kid to help him get around... so... what if we set up in the beginning of this episode that Raph isn't really good at fighting in the dark? 
     We could do this by having Leo organizing a "training in the dark" session in the lair to keep them occupied while they wait for night to fall so they can go out and look for Splinter. Then Raph can get frustrated and blow up, and Leo can get pissed at him and say something about Raph really needing this type of training, as he's the worst of them at it. 

2.) Pg. 3: This next bit confused me:

     "Weasel orders the thugs to attack en masse!

     In the confusion, Raph realizes his vision is beginning to clear.  He lets Toshi rescue his mom, (Raph remaining carefully in the shadows: a big green Turtle might not be the best thing for her state of mind!)  He lets Toshi lead her out while he runs interference.  Raph takes a satisfying moment to bash Weasel on the way out.  Toshi and his mom run out and disappear into the alleys, Raph climbing to the rooftops above to watch over them."

I don't get how Raph is able to fight the thugs who are attacking "en masse" (I am ASSUMING he fights them -- it isn't clearly stated here) while at the same time staying in the shadows so the kid's mom doesn't see him. Hey -- maybe the kid's Mom is blind! Then Raph's appearance wouldn't be such as issue.

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Show 20 "The Monster Hunter"

I hate to say it, but this one is still a mess -- perhaps even more so than it was last time. I think there's a good concept here, but it just doesn't come together. In this draft, the character if Steve does nothing for the story -- if you took him out you'd never miss him. And the whole Raph/Leo/swordmaking bit in sorely underrealized. 

1.) Pg. 4: What is up with this fixation on having April try to whack Casey in the head with the mop? Am I the only one who sees this as psycho bitch behavior on her part in this context? What's next -- if April accidentally knocks over a tray of motorcycle parts into the dirt as Casey is tuning up his bike, can he throw a wrench at her? If we really need her to react in visual exasperation, have her throw the mop TO him (as she does to Don). We can then EASILY lose the little bit with Don, the mop and Raph ("You doing the cleaning now, Donny"?) which is sort of pointless and goes nowhere anyway.

2.) Pg. 5: Raph's line "Man, he’d better get together soon or we’re going to be stuck here forever." might read better if we added "it" so that it reads "Man, he’d better get it together soon or we’re going to be stuck here forever."

3.) Pg. 14: The word "ruthless" implies intent -- therefore I think it's wrong for Dr. Finn to apply it to the Sortis, which are just robot  vehicles. I would suggest changing her line "They’re beautiful and ruthless, rather like myself" to "They’re beautiful and dangerous, rather like myself."

I find these ATV-based Sortis much less interesting than the flying ones in the previous iteration... and the idea that they would find, ensnare and then DRAG (!) their prey back to the Doctor's truck really pretty silly.

4.) Pg. 21: I found this bit:

"98. DONATELLO
Mikey, rupture the gas tank!

ON – MICHELANGELO brings his fist down hard on the gas tank of the ATV/Sorti and the fluid starts to SPILL "

     ... REALLY ridiculous. Also, two lines later Leonardo (?!) grabs a stick. I think that's a typo and it's supposed to be Don.

5.) Pg. 28: Mike says "I used to come swimming in this pond all the time …" Isn't this a bit of hyperbole? Makes it sound like this is the Turtles' summer home.

Also, shortly thereafter "you're" is misspelled "your" in Mike's line "Your one to talk, Mr. Universe."

6.) Pg. 34: An example of silly inconsistency on this page -- Mike's kick won't even budge Steve, but a whack of his 'chuks sends Steve flying.

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Also, I got the color art for the three stages of Nano -- which are fine, but I wonder if it would be a good idea to have some kind of glowing light/eye thing which would be the same on all three versions to serve as a visual connecting thread. Just a thought.

--Peter

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Subj: Re: TMNT 022 - Outline first draft and premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt.2"
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2002 8:25:31 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,

Here are some comments:

---------------------------------

TMNT 022 - Outline first draft:

1.) Pg. 2: Why are there four "Misshapen Shredder Clones" as opposed to the three there were in the comics? Not that we HAVE to have three, but there seems no real point to adding one.

Also, the bit where April can't help the Turtles find their way upwards because they're "... on a floor with no plans or schematics", and they then climb up through the holes punched by the pod in the previous episodes doesn't work for me at all, not least because (a) the pod bit in the last episode is lame slapstick and I think we should lose it, (b) April's ability or inability to help the Turtles via her remote computer link in VERY inconsistent and seems to come and go according to no logical rhyme or reason, and (c) WHY would the Shredder and the Foot have building plans which didn't include this particular floor (apparently from what transpires here there is nothing particularly special about this floor) AND why wouldn't they just have stairs? How do the Shredder and the Foot get from this floor to the next?

Now, if the idea here is to add some mystery to the building's interior, I think a much better and more sensible way to do this bit would be for April to see the floor where the MYSTICS are located displayed oddly on her computer screen -- perhaps there's no floor number, and maybe only stairs up and down indicated (no details of rooms, corridors, etc.).

2.) Pg. 3: With several Foot ninja, Hun arrives on the 34th floor and is "stunned" to see the Turtles alive. If I'm remembering correctly, he has to have come UP from the lower levels, essentially following the Turtles and at least seeing the results of their passing. I doubt he'd be "stunned". Who else does he think is attacking?

3.) Pg. 4: I'm confused by this line -- "The gap is too wide to jump.  They have to climb across using their ninja climbing talons." What, exactly, are they supposedsupposed to climb ON? I don't get it.

In any event, having April reset this trap seems redundant. Once tripped, would this floor trap remain open until manually reset? I think it would more logically reset itself.

Also, this trap supposedly opens up onto a "virtually bottomless shaft" -- haven't we seen this shortly before? How about flame jets or freezing liquid nitrogen or flesh-eating insects or acid or grinding cutting wheels or a slicing laser grid or something other than just a big hole?

4.) Pp. 7-9: The inclusion of the Foot Mystics is a good idea, but the design of the chamber in which they battle Splinter is uninspired and not nearly creepy enough. Also, what's this with FIVE elements, one of them being METAL (?!)? Is this some Asian mythology I'm not familiar with? If I remember correctly, there are FOUR classical "elements" -- earth, air, fire and water.
Also, is there a particular reason why Splinter doesn't use the special glove to handle the Sword of Tengu and thus ends up with burned hands? Seems kind of stupid of him.

And a question -- is the Sword of Tengu a mystical artifact, a technological artifact, or both? From our exposure to it in previous episodes, I had been thinking it was a technological artifact, but its effectiveness against these Foot Mystics makes me wonder. If it IS a combination of science and sorcery, perhaps we should have Splinter making some kinds of ninja mystic moves or gestures which would indicate that he is using the sword as something more than just a mere blaster.

Also, as pithy and seemingly appropriate as Splinter's "battle speak" is ("Water quenches fire!", etc.), are we skirting too close to the words of the old kid's game of rock/paper/scissors, and by so doing, making Splinter's battle seem too silly?

5.) Pg. 10: I agree with Gary that having Hun call the Shredder "Boss" is way too much like the old show.

6.) Pg. 11: I also agree with Gary that there seems like there are too many of the Shredder's Elite -- these guys should be few and far between.

7.) Pg. 12: And once more I agree with Gary that Hun's "Nice suit" line is lame.

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Premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt. 2"

1.) Pg. 1: There are MAJOR consistency problems with the battle between the guards and Casey. If, as written, the guards are "displaying amazing feats of strength and agility, including breaking his baseball bat in half, and sending it flying from his hands" -- and these are supposedly Utroms in their metal humanoid exoskeletons, which you would reasonably think are quite a bit stronger than the average human -- how is it Casey is able to defeat them all, and not only that, but by KNOCKING THEM UNCONSCIOUS??!! How do you knock an Utrom in a protective metal exoskeleton unconscious?

2.) Pg 2: When Don and Mikey are in the elevator car with the two TCRI security guards, it might be fun to have the two guards engaging in idle chit chat (I'd suggest a line like in the scene in issue #3 of the original comics where one of the TCRI guys says "I must get out of this suit -- it's killing me.").

The multidirectional zigzagging of the elevator seems a bit much.

3.) Pg 3: Mike and Don observe as "A slimy, gumdrop-shaped alien (the Utrom) leaps from the stomach cavity." Do we really want the Utroms to be "leaping"? It might behoove us to think a bit about how the Utroms actually get in and out of their exoskeletons. I always had in the back of my mind that they sit inside the exoskeleton on a platform which can be commanded to extend outward, at which point the Utrom could crawl off it or actually use the exoskeleton's arms and hands to pick itself up and place it somewhere.

I think this important "reveal" could be done much better. Here's a suggestion: One of the guards with some apparent facial damage from the battle with Casey PEELS OFF his face to reveal to a freaked-out Don and Mikey his robotic-looking exoskeleton's face. Mikey could whisper to Don something like "Whoa -- can this get any weirder?!" -- at which point the guard continues to "undress" and we see the Utrom in its belly cavity!

I don't think we should have Splinter "slowly look over at the Turtles with a drugged, helpless expression." I'd prefer we do it as in the comics, where he appears dead (motionless inside a clear tube filled with liquid) -- prompting an emotional outburst from Raph -- but Don surmises from what he can tell of the machines surrounding him that Splinter is actually in some kind of suspended animation.

5.) Pg. 4: Instead of this as the ending: "Mr. Smith looks distressed at what’s happened.  And as we see Splinter’s nearly vacant stare registering this from inside the fluid-filled tank, we... END SEASON ONE" which seems very flat, I think we should end on an image of the Turtles seemingly disintegrating (though we know -- and will see in the next season opener -- that they are just being beamed into space).

Also, I think we should stick with the original comic's action of the activation of the Utrom's transmat being an accident (as written here it seems either purposeful -- i.e. the Utroms are activating the transmat to send the turtles somewhere -- or kind of silly, as in just standing on the transmat platform will activate it -- which doesn't make sense to me), as well as having this action of the fight in and around the transmat machinery damage the transmat in some way (which would figure into the action when the Turtles return next season). Also, I really want the basic design of the transmat machinery to be as close as possible to the design in the comics.

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Technical note: While it probably wouldn't be a problem if I were at Mirage and using the fast internet connection, downloading the last three pieces of color art (Second Time Around exterior and interior, and April's apartment) at home with my 56K connection it is a pain, not least because the files are WAY bigger than they need to be -- especially annoying as a lot of that size relates to HUGE areas of irrelevant white space around the actual images. By the way, all of those images look fine.

       --Peter

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Subj: Show #20 Final Draft and Show #21 First Draft
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002 9:51:44 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,

Henceforth my comments!

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Show #20 / "The Monster Hunter" 

This one is much improved from previous drafts, and I only have a few detail points. I will say though that I think there's a much better story lurking in the "Monster Hunter" concept, and I'm kind of disappointed that this episode feels just adequate.

1.) Pg. 4: I think Splinter means to say "explicit" rather than "implicit" instructions.

2.) Pg. 7: I thought it might be cooler if, after Casey and Mike turn to see Dr. Finn's vehicle coming, Casey looks back -- and Mike is gone (ninja style!).

3.) Pg. 8: I'd dig it if when Dr. Finn is introducing herself to her cable channel audience in this scene, she also says something like "we're here in Western Massachusetts..." or "we're here in Northampton, Massachusetts..."

4.) Pp. 19-20: A couple of things about the liquid nitrogen trap scene: First, on page 19 when Don says "It's liquid nitrogen! Instant deep freeze...", I thought it might enhance Don's science geek quotient a bit if he throws in something about exactly HOW cold it is -- which I just learned via a quick search of the Internet -- so his bit might go like this: "It's liquid nitrogen! 77 degrees Kelvin -- and that means instant deep freeze..." Also, I learned something interesting in one of the hits I got in my search, as follows:

"Liquid nitrogen is a dangerous material. The following is an excerpt from the Air Products Nitrogen Material Safety Data Sheet: A back of the envelope calculation indicates that the entire contents of a 10 Liter dewar being spilled in an unventilated 274 square foot room with an 8 foot ceiling would reduce oxygen levels below the 19.5% level where Air Products recommends the use of a respirator. Since most classrooms are larger than this, suffocation does not represent a major danger. When transporting the liquid in a car, however, it is probably a good idea to open a window."

I never knew that! But Don probably would -- and he should say it or he and Mike should show that effect on their breathing, as a way of ramping up the danger. Maybe even a line from Mike like "Great! So if we don't freeze solid first, we suffocate?!" Actually, it just occurred to me that this bit of real science kind of emphasizes how whacked-out Dr. Finn is -- she should know this about the liquid nitrogen, and if so that speaks volumes about the level of her concern for the "monsters" she traps.

Also, I still don't really buy the logic of freezing the lock on the inside of the chamber with the blast of liquid nitrogen, and while I'm not going to obsess about it, I would prefer it if we used the gag I suggested before of Don taking Mike's soft drink or water and using the freezing/expansion of the liquid to break apart the lock.

5.) Pg. 22: Mike says a couple of things on this page that don't make any sense to me. In these lines:

"Hey!  That’s it!  Little Miss Monster Hunter is still out there, right?"

What does his "That's it!" refer to?

And in this line:

"Look… what I’m sayin’ is… she wants green men?  We’ll give her some! Serious butt-kicking ninja green men!"

Why is Mike saying this? Why does he suddenly want to expose himself and his brothers to the Monster Hunter?

6.) Pg. 29: I think it would be cool -- and in character -- if when the boys encounter the real "Green Man", Don -- after his initial startlement -- gets excited and rattles off a bit of scientific speculation, like "Amazing! It could be related to the extinct Eremotherium, the giant ground sloth... look at the coloration -- an evolutionary survival adaptation? I wonder if it changes color with the seasons..." Of course, Mike and Casey roll their eyes, snore, etc..

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Show #21 / "Return To New York -- Part One"

Not much to say about this one! It is also much improved.

1.) Pg. 32: As we talked about on the phone tonight, the bit with the hover-glider crashing through all of the floors in the building will be taken out.

2.) Pg. 37: Also as we discussed on the phone, we will be using the three Shredder "clones" and not the genetic mutants described here.

--Peter

6 comments:

  1. Also, as pithy and seemingly appropriate as Splinter's "battle speak" is ("Water quenches fire!", etc.), are we skirting too close to the words of the old kid's game of rock/paper/scissors, and by so doing, making Splinter's battle seem too silly?"

    Perhaps the writer was referencing the commercial for Battle Beasts!

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  2. Was there any backstory developed for why those Shredder clones were created by the Foot? Since the Shredder isn't actually human in this series, what were they cloned from?

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    Replies
    1. Calling them "Shredder clones" was not really accurate -- just a cool shorthand way of referring to them. In the comics, they were supposed to be the results of preliminary -- and mostly failed -- experiments by the Foot scientists who were attempting to regenerate the Shredder after he died in the first issue. At this point in time, I can't remember if we'd worked out a backstory for the "clones" as they appeared in the 4Kids series. -- PL

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    2. Hun calling Shredder "Boss" wouldn't have been cool..glad that was taken out.

      I posted this elsewhere, but I thought it would have been cool to have another story on those shredder clones... once we found out Shredder revives himself using data reconstruction after death. these could be the first failed experiments...we even sort of see this happening with that Back to the Sewers episode where Shredder gets all deformed coming into the real world..

      Also, was Baxter the only one to loose body parts? We saw two foot tech Ninja being taken away by hun in the same manner as baxter, but nothing was ever shown on their fate. Was Baxter the only unlucky one to have his neck broken, eye removed, legs smashed, and brain separated?

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    3. I suspect there were other minions of the Shredder who suffered similar "trimming", though we never saw them on the show. -- PL

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