Monday, February 11, 2013

Blast from the Past #614: May 11, 2003: Re: FW: Secret Origins - Part III -- 1st Draft Script, May 16, 2003: storyboards for Ep. 28/"The Trouble With Triceratons" and new art, and May 19, 2003: notes on outlines for Episodes 36 and 37




Subj: Re: FW: Secret Origins - Part III -- 1st Draft Script
Date: Sunday, May 11, 2003 11:40:06 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/10/03 3:18:25 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hey Peter -

Not sure if the office ever sent this your way again or not, but here's
a first draft of Secret Origins part III.  Your notes asap are, as
always, greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend!

Lloyd >>

Lloyd,

Got it, read it, liked it. I only have a couple of comments.

1.) Line 61 -- I think the General should say "reinforcements" instead of "backup".

2.) The scene which starts with Line 81, where the Turtles try to stop Stockman, is kind of confusing. In line 84, Don says "That's it! Stockman's control chip is voice-activated!"... but then, two lines later in Line 86, Don says to the Fugitoid "Can you generate an electronic signal to interfere with Stockman's cerebral interface?" Mr. Mortu then helpfully suggests a frequency of 256.3 megahertz which "should cause the Shredder great harm." But... aren't they trying to stop Stockman here... and didn't Don originally say that "Stockman's control chip is voice-activated!"? The "voice-activated" and "256.3 megahertz" things seem like they're too completely separate things. I know the frequency thing is used later in the defeat of the Shredder, but that's a separate problem that I will address in a moment.

I think there's a missed opportunity for continuity and humor here. My suggestion would be, after Don realizes the "voice-activated" thing, that he ask the Fugitoid if his audio processor allows him to replicate any sounds that he has heard -- the Fugitoid replies "yes" and Don asks him to try to speak in the Shredder's voice to command Stockman to stop what he's doing and attack the Shredder. There could be a brief fun moment when the 'Toid quickly runs through different voices (imagine each of the Turtles, Splinter, Mortu, etc.) each saying "Stockman!" before he gets to the Shredder's voice, and gives Stockman the command. Then... it might be fun for him to absentmindedly CONTINUE to speak in the Shredder's voice for a few lines, until he notices the one or more of the Turtles looking at him oddly. Maybe Mike could say something like "Dude -- that's really creepy!"... then the 'Toid realizes what he's doing and switches back to his original voice.

3.) In Line 99, Mr. Mortu says "The entire building will blow sky high in less than ten minutes!"  Perhaps it would be more accurate and less cliched if he were to say "implode" instead of "blow sky high".

4.) Given that they've had four episodes of adventures together and become friends, I think adding to the Fugitoid's last line (Line 142) to indicate that he is saying farewell to the Turtles would be a good idea. Maybe something like "Until we meet again, my young green friends!"

5.) I'm not really crazy about the whole "256.3 megahertz" thing used beginning with Line 170 to weaken/defeat the Shredder, for a couple of reasons. First is, when first mentioned in Line 88 by Mr. Mortu, it seems irrelevant to the scene at hand. But much more importantly, it seems like such a simple thing for the Utroms to do to cripple the Shredder that one wonders why they don't just have an "anti-Shredder" weapon which emits a frequency of 256.3 megahertz. I think we need to find a better way to accomplish getting the evil Utrom out of the Shredder's armor... perhaps it could be something as simple as having the Turtles beating the crap out of the Shredder, and his armor, already damaged by Stockman's attack, can no longer function.

-- Pete

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Subj: storyboards for Ep. 28/"The Trouble With Triceratons"
Date: Friday, May 16, 2003 2:52:47 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,

Unlike the boards for the last episode, I have some significant issues with this set. 

First and foremost is the way the aerial battle with the Triceratons on their flying rigs plays out -- it's done exactly the way I didn't like in the last draft of the script (at least the last draft that I saw). Back on 4/1/03 I sent the following email:

<<I'm still disappointed in the denouement of the Turtles in aircar vs. Triceratons in Flying Rigs scene. I have read it over and over and it dawned on me a moment ago that there seems to be -- for some reason I don't quite understand -- the idea that we need to have the Turtles defeat ALL three Triceratons in this skirmish. I don't see why that's necessary -- why can't they take out two and then the third one disables their aircar, and when it looks like the Turtles are definitely going to crash, that remaining Triceraton could just fly away to join his comrades?

I've extracted the part of the script in question, and here's how I would suggest changing it:

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

ANGLE ON - THE REMAINING TRICERATON comes swooping down in a long ARC …

CLOSE - on the Air Car’s remaining engine, shaking and rattling in  engine mounts loosened from previous Triceraton blasts, belching smoke and FIRE …

CLOSE - on the remaining Triceraton, looking down and cracking an evil grin, <CHUCKLING>.

130. ** TRICERATON
I've had just about enough of these green punks -- now I'm going to take them out in style!

ANGLE ON - the Triceraton as he continues his sweeping arc on a vector which will take him up UNDER the Turtles' aircar.

ANGLE - on sky as Mikey suddenly zooms out of the clouds on his sidecar -- out of control -- and desperately jumps out of the sidecar back onto the Air Car. 

CLOSE - on Mikey <LANDING HARD> in the back seat.

131. MICHELANGELO 
I’m saved!  I’m saved!

ANGLE ON - the Triceraton, muscular arm raised, as he zooms up under the aircar and GRABS the aircar's engine, and RIPS a large hunk of it loose, bits and pieces of metal popping off, fuel spraying from torn fuel lines.

** ANGLE - on shuddering Air Car – Donatello struggles with the controls.

132. ** DONATELLO
Complete engine failure!  We’re going down!

HIGH ANGLE – of Michelangelo looking up toward us, and falling away toward the forest below, shouting:  

133. MICHELANGELO
I’m doomed!  I’m doomed!

ANGLE ON - the Triceraton as he flings the smoking, now-useless engine part away, circles back, and, laughing evilly, watches the Turtles falling to their doom before he ZOOMS off to join the main force of his Triceraton comrades.

ANGLE – on the Turtles, the air <SCREAMING> around them. 

134. * LEONARDO, RAPHAEL, MIKEY 
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

ANGLE - on the ground rushing up to meet them, as they fall out of the sky toward certain pancake-flat extinction! >>

Then two days later, I sent this response to your response:

<<In a message dated 4/2/03 11:53:45 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi Pete -

I wanna talk with you about your last note re: episode 28 and whether or
not the Turtles should defeat all 3 Triceratons or not.  While at first
I didn't think it mattered all that much one way or the other, after
goin' in and checking it out, I think it's actually much better that the
Turtles do in fact defeat the Tri's.  It's really the only thing they
get to accomplish in the whole episode, a kind of "mini-victory" for
them.  The rest of the time they're on the run, getting chased or trying
to catch the Fugitiod, that kinda thing.

But I think the more important (actually, more FUN) reason to let them
have their moment of victory is that it makes a comedic contrast to what
happens to them in the next moment (namely their AirCar gives out and
they're about to die), from one extreme to the other.  I think that
works better for us.

Anyway, let's talk around 12:30.  I'll be working from home tomorrow.

Lloyd  >>

Lloyd,

Not to be disagreeable, but -- I disagree!

I think the Turtles get to do a LOT of cool stuff in this episode -- they acquit themselves quite nicely in the bar against various alien scum and Federat soldiers, they successfully steal an unfamiliar alien aircar and take out two tough, experienced Triceraton commandos IN MID-AIR, and they battle their way into the Triceraton bunker/ship.

And if we have them take out TWO Triceratons instead of THREE, that's still TWO moments of victory to make what you refer to as the "comedic contrast" to their following distress. I just don't see why they have to take out ALL of the Triceratons. I mean, the Turtles don't HAVE to win ALL the time.

Not to mention the fact that as it stands now, we're supposed to believe that Mikey can slam himself and his sidecar into the Triceraton HARD enough to KNOCK that big Triceraton and his combat flying rig out of the sky -- and yet Mike is apparently unscathed and unshaken (and so apparently is the sidecar, this rusty beat up sidecar from a rusty beat up stolen aircar!), and -- la di da, piloting his sidecar as if nothing has happened -- "swoops around, passing his buddies again and jumping out of the sidecar back onto the Air Car." 

I think the scenario from the comics (as reworked in my last email) is tighter, more dramatic AND funnier, unexpected and less cliched, and my suggestion is to stick with it.>>

Now on to more problems. There seems to be an excess of weird silliness/goofiness in these boards for some reason.

1.) Pg. 113: Raph is shown "slicing" rifles with his sai. We've had this problem before -- sais are not slicing/cutting weapons like swords.

2.) Pg. 148-161: The whole "flying table propelled by exploding blaster" thing is really silly (like something from the old series) and seems like filler, unnecessary to storytelling. And partly because of this silliness, one of my favorite little bits from the comic story is lost -- the bit where one Triceraton commando standing in the bar below street level TOSSES the hapless Fugitoid up to another Triceraton commando who is waiting by the Triceraton aircar. I always liked this little bit because it spoke to me of the efficiency and strength of the Triceratons.

3.) Pg. 162: The Triceraton who fires the rockets should be shown using a rocket launcher of some sort, if rockets are really necessary, as Triceraton blasters (as he is shown holding) are energy weapons, not rocket launchers.

4.) Pg. 206: I actually groaned aloud when I came to this scene of the Triceraton commandos "hovering upside down like bats". Where the heck did THAT come from?! Totally inappropriate.

5.) Pg. 207: There seems to be a kind of misapprehension on the part of this storyboard artist about the nature of the Triceraton Flying Rig -- it's not a little flexible costume that the Triceraton using it can pose with and "fly like Superman" (!!!). It is a more or less rigid one-man flying platform that the pilot stands in and flies, using the hand "gauntlets" to control flight and fire weapons.

6.) Pg. 307: Leo is "slicing a laser blast" with his sword?!

7.) Pgs. 389-390: Maybe I'm not getting something, but those last couple of pages of the Preview seem really out of place and tone. Do we really need the "you watch too much TV" joke?

-- Pete

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Subj: new art
Date: Friday, May 16, 2003 12:40:30 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,

I got some new art and wanted to send you my comments.

First, thanks for adding the callouts to the Utrom Ship/Bridge -- now I get it. It looks fine.

The Feudal Shredder, Feudal Foot Ninja, Baxter Stockman Spider Robot, Utrom in primitive exo-suit (also with hat and robe) all look fine.

The Utrom Prisoner (Saki) also looks good, though I wonder about the facial scar (at least I think it's a scar). We've already had two bad guys with facial scars (Stockman and Hun), and with the distinctive shape of that Utrom's head, maybe we don't need it.

-- Pete

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

Subj: notes on outlines for Episodes 36 and 37
Date: Monday, May 19, 2003 1:17:44 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,

Here are some comments!

on episode 36/"The Ultimate Ninja" first draft outline:

1.) When the Ultimate Ninja starts scanning for Leo with his little handheld scanner, I thought it might be cool to have that device work in conjunction with another -- some kind of thing which releases or breaks apart into dozens or hundreds of micro flying spy-eyes which go out and start cruising around the city looking for signs of Leo.

2.) With an eye toward hinting at the developing Casey/April relationship, a fun little bit might be to have them end up sitting next to each other on the couch when they watch the western movie... a little bit of awkward closeness.

3.) I think the idea of the Gyogi robot referee dude is very cool. However, I wonder if we really want to have him and everyone else actually, literally "materialize" wherever Leo and the Ultimate Ninja are fighting -- or if it might be better to not open that can of transmat worms and instead have their IMAGES appear at the scene -- projected from where they are actually standing, perhaps by those flying micro cameras. Actually, that might be cool if the Gyogi and the others are watching the fight on a kind of floating virtual screen -- and the images projected onto that screen are from a number of those flying micro spy-eye camera things, so we could get some really cool angles on the fighting. I just realized that if we did it this way, it would not be necessary to have the observers actually BE at the scene of the fight, either as an image or in the flesh.

4.) A minor point -- but there's a line after Leo loses his swords on top of the truck which reads "They quiver there and Leonardo is now helpless." Weaponless, yes... but helpless? No!

5.) I think something cooler than "an elaborate laser pistol" should be the weapon the Ultimate NInja pulls out at the last moment, after he's been defeated. There are any number of possibilities -- one might be a monomolecular flail (with strands that are only one molecule thick, but incredibly strong and because they are so thin, capable of slicing through anything).

6.) If his father is the Ultimate Daimyo, should the Ultimate Ninja actually be the Ultimate SAMURAI?

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

on Episode 37/"The Return of Nano" first draft outline:

1.) One major thing right off the bat -- the April/Casey stuff is in serious need of reworking. I know it's hard to pull off, but we should try. We need to show these two very different people coming together and getting closer in a NATURAL, almost haphazard way -- sort of in spite of themselves. The way it's set up right now, April comes off as desperate for a date and sort of throws herself at Casey.

2.) Dr. Richards says to Harry when they meet "You're the man from the news. The one that used my invention to steal a fortune!" How does she know this? 

-- Pete

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