Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blast from the Past #601: December 3, 2002: first drafts of episodes 22 and 23, December 5, 2002: Re: Hi Pete, and December 9, 2002: notes on episode 25, second draft

(Note: Disappointingly, some of the emails that I transferred over from my old computer seem to be fragmentary, typically having the end parts turned into some random gibberish. I am not sure why, and I am going to try -- when I find the time -- to boot up that old computer again and try to recover these emails in their full forms. I don't know if that is possible, but if I manage it, I will replace these incomplete versions with the complete texts from those emails. In the meantime, here are three partial emails from December of 2002 -- actually, they're the last ones I have for that year -- and even though they are incomplete, there is some interesting stuff iin them. -- PL 10-28-12)


Subj: first drafts of episodes 22 and 23
Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2002 9:22:05 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Wow! These are exciting! If we're able to get on screen what's here on the page, these will be two kick-butt episodes. I have no significant structural issues, only a few small things and several minor suggestions.


Episode 22:

1.) Pg. 6: Don see the Shredder clones and in answer to Leo's "What are these things?", he says "Genetically engineered hybrid clones, etc." As it has not been established that Don actually KNOWS that this is what these things are, I suggest changing his lines to "My guess would be genetically engineered hybrid clones, etc."

2.) Pg. 7: Gary also commented on the "super speed" issue. I know the writer is trying to say that the mini-Shredder clone is moving very fast, but "super speed" in comics (and I think in cartoons) means Superman or Flash-level speed -- the kind of speed which would allow you to move fast enough to blast around the world in a minute, for example. That's surely not what we're talking about here, so why don't we just use another phrase rather than "super speed"?
Also, why does mini-Shredder have pop-out claws? Seems odd, when none of the others do. It's not like he ordinarily has to HIDE them, like Wolverine does.

3.) Pg. 8: Don is described as having a "ShellCel cradled on his shoulder" while he fights the Four-Armed Shredder clone. This seems kind of silly (not to mention really difficult), and Gary made the point that Don may have lost his ShellCel earlier. Would it make more sense, if Don has to be in contact with April a lot, that he have some kind of hands-free headset connected to his ShellCell -- maybe even something clipped to his bandana?

4.) Pg. 11: On this page Mike gives a "Tarzan yell". Can we actually have him yell "Kreegah Bundolo"? That would be cool for all of us fans of the original Tarzan stories.

5.) Pg. 21: It occurred to me that in this setting with the five alcoves with the five Foot Mystic statues, there are also, coincidentally, five points in the classic mystic pentagram. Should we have a pentagram inscribed on the floor with each of it's five points corresponding to a statue's alcove? Or is that too "Satanic"?

6.) Pg. 28: Where Leo says "Trashed April's store?", I think it would read better and be more accurate if he said something like "Burned down April's building?"

7.) Pg. 30: I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me before, but -- how exactly is Leo carrying the Sword of Tengu on his back? Does it have its own power-resistant sheath? (I don't recall seeing it.) Would an ordinary sword sheath contain it without burning up or vibrating to pieces? Wouldn't the naked blade of the Sword of Tengu damage Leo's shell? Should we give Leo a Don-constructed techno-damping sheath for the Sword?
Also, when Raph says to Don "What, you didn't pack a compass in yer bag a' tricks?", I thought it would be fun to have Don stop and start digging in his bag, saying "Well, as a matter of fact..." -- and then Leo finds the elevator before Don can find his compass.

8.) Pg. 37: Shredder's line to Stockman "However, you now have a chance to correct that mistake" would read better as "However, you now have a chance to redeem yourself".


Episode 23:

1.) Pg. 3: Stockman's lines 11 and 12 seem kind of clunky.

2.) Pg. 6: After Shredder cracks Stockman's dome, and he says his line 21, I thought it might be cool to then show the crack filling in and disappearing, then Stockman smugly saying something like "Self-healing polymercrylic -- just one of thirty-nine patentable technologies I've developed using your resources!"

3.) Pg. 8: I would reword line 33 (Lead Guardian), which reads "One has to admire the tenacity and courage of the turtles. Truly, the turtles are ninja of the highest order.", to "One has to admire the tenacity and courage of the turtles. Truly, they are ninja of the highest order."
There seems to be an extraneous "and" in line 36 ("And, they've managed to infiltrate the Shredder's building...").
Also, I would suggest changing line 41 from "With respect, the Sword of Tengu could be the salvation of them." to "With respect, the Sword of Tengu could be their salvation."

4.) Pp. 21-22: Splinter gets a bit wordy on these two pages and I would suggest trimming his lines a little bit. For line 72 on page 21, I would say delete "And you... I have been grooming you to lead the others." -- it's obvious and sort of redundant given his next line of "Lead your brothers well."
There's an "alright" in Leo's line 75. Yuck!
On page 22, I would change Splinter's line 76 to just read "Fight well, my sons."

5.) Pg. 26: Shredder's line 98 could do without "I believe you've met my Elite Ninja!" (obvious) and be just fine as "Finish him!"
Also, while I won't make a big deal out of it, and I acknowledge it's a neat visual, I am curious to know if there is any logic to the Elite emerging out of the pond when the Shredder pushes a button. Weren't they part of the fight when the Turtles first got to the top floor (beginning on page 31 of episode 22)? How did they get into the pond, and why? Did they run from the fight? Doesn't seem likely. Or are they DIFFERENT Elite ninja (they don't SEEM to be, from their description)?

6.) Pg. 30: Another "alright" in line 108 -- AAAIIIEEE!!!

7.) Pg. 31: What exactly is the Guardian saying in line 112 -- "This one is taken care of you."?
Also, in line 114, "We Guardians will take care of this lot" seems odd -- I'd just have him say "We will take care of this lot."

8.) Pg. 33: Would it be better for the Lead Guardian to say, in line 118, "Saki has the sword" instead of "Shredder has the sword."?

9.) Pg. 36: I'd like to change Don's line 128, where he says "... should cook the insides of the entire building" to something like "... should fry everything electronic in the whole building".

10.) Pg. 38: I don't think the power surge should literally melt "all the vehicles" and "all the equipment" -- instead, we should see animated power surges coruscating all over these things, leaving them charred and smoking... the idea being that all of the electronics inside them have been destroyed, melted -- rendering them useless to the Shredder.

11.) Pg. 39: I still feel that there should be something, a crashed pod or whatever, near where Leo left Splinter, that would give the Turtles the idea that that might be what happened to him (something knocked him off the roof). Otherwise, his just mysteriously "disappearing" is too "soft" -- it makes it seem too likely that he has just been spirited away to some other location. In fact, it makes it seem like he must have been healthier and stronger than Leo thought he was, because the first and most obvious inference would be that he got up and walked away.


As you can tell, I'm very happy with the way these turned out and all of my comments are pretty minor, more detail tweaks than anything else.

-- Peter


Subj: Re: Hi Pete
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2002 11:45:41 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 12/5/02 9:15:03 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Soooo... I was unable to track you down today!  Hopefully we can talk
tomorrow.  I have a 12 noon meeting, so I may not get to call you until
1:30 ish, but I'll try you around then.

We sent out scripts for 24 and 25.  If you have notes tonight, we can
discuss those as well tomorrow.

Hope all is well.

Talk to ya soon.

Lloyd >>


Hopefully we'll connect on Friday. In the meantime, here are some comments:


Episode 23 profile, Episode 22 final draft, and Episode 24 second draft -- no comments! Woohoo!


Episode 25 first draft ("The Search for Splinter" part one):

1.) Pp. 3-4: I realize we had a Turtle riding a motorcycle on rooftops in the CGI clip we did last year,  but that was more for a "proof of concept" effect. It's REALLY unrealistic to have Raph jumping from rooftop to rooftop on the Shell Cycle (ESPECIALLY if what he is doing is trying to search for Splinter, and NOT trying to draw attention to himself) -- he should be riding it at street level.
If we need an aerial perspective, why not reintroduce the glider that Don used in that earlier episode, and maybe say something about how he's improved it since then? We could then do a cute gag (ripped off from the first SUPERMAN movie, I'll admit it!) where a bored kid is watching out of a window fifteen stories up as Don floats by -- Don could give the kid a thumbs up -- and the kid could run offscreen, excitedly telling his mother "Mom! I just saw a big turtle fly by my window!", and then we hear the mom yell something like "No TV for a week!" Or, the kid could just yell "Gamera!" as Don goes by.

2.) Pg. 5: Raph says "Man, doesn't anyone in this city take in their garbage?" That sounds odd to me -- why would anyone WANT to take in their garbage? I get from the context that he means the garbage CANS, but...

3.) Pg. 7: I think a word -- perhaps "have"? -- is missing from Leo's line "Raph, it looks like we might something to go on." Should it read "Raph, it looks like we might have something to go on."?

4.) Pg. 9: Lloyd, as you pointed out in one of our phone conversations, the Guardians wouldn't have thought the Shredder was dead because his head got cut off, as they know his true nature (Utrom in robot body). I think the same applies for the Utrom Council, so this exchange referring to the Shredder...

Council Member #2: "Could he still be alive?"

Guardian Dorn (Radio VO): "Possible. He has deceived us before."

... would seem to need reworking.

5.) Pg. 10: Leo says to the Guardian "Easy. We're not here to fight." And The Guardian replies "Anyone who lays a trap for me, can expect one!" This seems grammatically suspect. The "one" in the Guardian's line I think refers to a FIGHT, but the way it's written it actually sounds like he's referring to a TRAP. I think it sounds odd because in Leo's line "fight" is a verb and the Guardian is referring to "fight" as a noun. (Hey, I'm married to an ex-English teacher!) I think a simple solution might be to change Leo's line to "Easy. We're not here FOR A fight."

6.) Pg. 12: For the shots of the Turtles trying to track the Guardian, I would suggest letting Don once again use his glider.

7.) Pg. 13: Another grammar thing -- when Leo says "April -- suppose the trail went cold?", it read to me as if he's asking her "What would happen if the trail went cold?" which obviously makes no sense. I think we should just add "I" to the line so that the meaning is clearer -- "April -- I suppose the trail went cold?"

8.) Pg. 16: In reference to the TCRI building, Don says "The secret to our origin... lies within the walls of that building." Well, he doesn't actually KNOW that for a fact, right? There could be ANYTHING in that building. The letters of the name could be a coincidence. I think we should add "could" so the line reads "The secret to our origin... COULD lie within the walls of that building." Actually, isn't "within the walls of that building" a bit florid? How about just saying "within that building"?

9.) Pg. 18: Leo says "Master Splinter is in there.  Answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives are in there." Much like my previous comment, while WE know his surmise is right, LEO doesn't actually know these things. They MIGHT be true... they might NOT. They only know that the Guardian is probably in there, and the name of the company in that building has the initials TCRI. I suggest changing Leo's line to "Master Splinter -- and  answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives -- could be in there."

10.) Pg. 19, etc.: Are we sticking with the name "Mr. Smith"? Does anyone besides me like "Mr. Mortu"?

11.) Pg. 20, 22: Why does April suddenly seem to turn into a moron? This seems unnecessary, and this bit of forced humor on page 22...

I’m... Ap...
Don’t use your real name.
(making it up as she goes)
...a... Apollo Vander Pepper.  Dr. Vander Pepper.  A doctorate, not an MD, so don’t come to me with any backaches.

... didn't make me laugh.

12.) Pg. 30: Why does one of the Guards RIP a desk from the floor and toss it aside, just to reach Casey? I thought they were trying to PREVENT damage to their lobby, not cause it.

13.) Pg. 31: The "electrically charged" hologram is back! And doesn't Mike seem REALLY stupid to just blindly leap into (or at) a concealing hologram  without knowing what's behind it? I would suggest something else to get them to fall -- perhaps Mike doesn't perceive where the edge of the hologram is, and puts his suction cup over it, with the obvious result that he loses his grip.


The art for the Foot Genetics Lab, Four-Armed Shredder Clone (revised), Stockman in Exo-Suit, and the five Foot Mystic Ninjas all looks fine to me.



Subj: notes on episode 25, second draft
Date: Monday, December 9, 2002 8:59:17 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Episode 25, second draft: This one is nearly there! I have only a few comments:

1.) Pg. 12: Can we think up a cooler "Turtleistic" name for the "tracking bug" Mike plants on the Guardian? In the past (in the old animated series) these have been called TurteTrackers, I believe... which isn't a bad name. Others might be: ShellTracker, ShellSpy, TurtleBug, ShellBug.

2.) Pp. 12-14: The "tracking of the Guardian" scenes are a lot better than in the first draft. However, I still don't quite see why the Turtles aren't in the BattleShell with April, but instead are out on foot following her instructions. At first I was thinking "Well, it's because they want to be stealthier and not alert the Guardian to the fact that they're following him in the big noisy BattleShell..." -- until I realized that they don't ever actually get within visual range of the Guardian (and one would assume the opposite -- that the Guardian never sees them, either), so stealth is somewhat irrelevant. So... why walk when they can ride?

Also, why do they need April at all? Wouldn't it make more sense for Don to have a portable version of whatever gadget is inside the BattleShell which tracks the tracking bug? And if so, why not leave April out of this entirely? Don could also have the ShellCam in his goodie bag. The more i re-read this bit, April seems really superfluous.
I'd suggest reworking this sequence to take April out of it, and either have the Turtles by themselves on foot, or by themselves in the BattleShell.

3.) Pg. 19: The following line -- said by Leo about the TCRI building -- is still in the script:

Master Splinter is in there.  Answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives might be in there.

The second part of that line has been fixed, but the first is still wrong -- they DON'T know that Splinter is in the TCRI building -- they only know that the Guardian is PROBABLY there.

4.) Pg. 21: April STILL looks like a moron in this scene, "staring with mouth agape" as she "stares blankly" until she's "finally able to speak". I mean, what the Turtles are suggesting in this scene is NOT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!!! April is a smart lady -- I'm sure she "gets it" -- and if we want to suggest here that she doesn't want to do it, or thinks its a bad plan, we should find another way to say so.
Why not have her nod, murmur "Mm-hmm...", or "Riiigght..." as each of the Turtles glibly lays out his part the outrageous plan (basically humoring them), then end it with the following exchange:

It all rests on your shoulders, girl.  No pressure.

ANGLE ON APRIL – can't take it any more
Uh-huh, that's all good. Great plan. There’s just a teeny-tiny part of the plan missing: INVISIBILITY!  Because there’s a guard sitting right there!!

5.) Pg. 32: I hate to sound like a broken record, but the hologram is still "electrically charged". I really don't like this, and propose the following:

ANGLE ON THE INDICATED AREA – which looks like solid wall.  We hear O.S. <THUCK-THUCKS> as the Turtles scale around it – Mikey and Don below it, Leo and Raph on opposite sides.

There’s nothing here.

Hold on!
(leans closer)
Hear that?  Air’s coming out.
(extends had over it)
You can feel it, too.

CLOSER ON DON – also feeling the air.

Amazing.  Maybe it’s some kind of hologram.

Yeah, finally - a way in. All we gotta do is find out where the real wall ends and the hologram begins --

Mikey eagerly starts waving his hands around as he edges forward, feeling for the edge of the hologram and now only held on by the suction cups on his feet.

DONATELLO (concerned)
Mike, not so fast! Be careful --!

Suddenly Mike finds the edge -- as both his hands plunge INTO THE WALL, his forearms DISAPPEARING into the hologram. Startled, he pulls back (incomplete)

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say I am loving these "Blast from the Past" pieces. I've been a long time fan of the turtles in a couple of franchises, but the 2k3 cartoon was something I grow up with and respect more the more I reflect on it. It's really cool to see all the thought and care that went into making it.