Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blast from the Past #628: August 11, 2003: Re: April's Artifact 1st, and August 12, 2003: Re: TMNT - 044 Final draft script and Re: TMNT - 1st draft eps 046

Subj:  Re: April's Artifact 1st
Date:  Monday, August 11, 2003 1:46:43 AM
From:  Peter Laird
To:    Lloyd Goldfine


Comments on Ep. 47/"April's Artifact" draft 1:

1.) Re: the hornet-things losing their stingers after firing them once -- I wonder if this makes sense, or if we should have a line somewhere from someone (Don? Uncle Augie's journal?) which implies that the hornet-things need to regrow their stingers after every shot, and that takes some time (hours? days? months?). It just seems to me that one stinger per life of a hornet-thing seems a bit off, crypto-biologically speaking.

2.) Re: the following:

"The Queen jabs her stinger.  His back to us, Raph doubles over in shock, clutching his chest.

REVERSE - Raph removes his arms from his chest in wide-eyed surprise, revealing a big, black stinger mark.  He <COLLAPSES> to the floor, still clutching the stinger swords.  But he's not giving up.  While his lower body is paralyzed, his upper body still has some mobility.  Gritting his teeth, fighting the onset of paralysis with a combination of determination and pure hatred, he drags himself toward the Queen with his arms.

(with great effort)
I… will… exterminate… you…"

It is kind of odd that every other time somebody gets grazed by a stinger they are instantly totally paralyzed and helpless -- but this time, even though Raph takes a solid hit which leaves a "big black stinger mark", he's still able to move his arms. I think we should just have him paralyzed like Mike and Leo are, but maybe with a frustrated "Not again --!" groan as he realizes he's been stung for a second time.
Actually, it brings up another question: As Raph's "chest" is -- like all the other Turtles' chests -- actually part of his shell (his plastron) how can getting hit on this bony surface affect him, via venom? Or are we postulating that the Queen's stinger actually PIERCES his shell (which is kind of gross)?

And that's all from me!

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 044 Final draft script
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 5:58:17 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments:

1.) Apparently I missed something in the last draft of this script that for some reason I did get in this latest draft -- the part where the Parahawks detach from their parachutes and become earthbound vehicles, essentially like snowmobiles -- and nobody corrected me when I complained last time about these guys going into the SUBWAY when they have FLYING machines. So I'll do it myself -- my bad!

2.) This will be the last time I bring this up, but I feel I have to make one last shot at it. I find the whole "Texas Oil Baron/Texas Roughnecks" bit to be somewhat cliched and boring. This is why I suggested that we make them at least a LITTLE bit less cliched and boring by making them an ALASKAN Oil Baron and ALASKAN Roughnecks. As I expressed to you on the phone, my idea was not that they are Eskimos, which concept (for some weird politically correct reason) seems to get BS&P's panties in a bunch, but rather that they are essentially transplanted Texans or other "cowboy/roughneck" types who are working the ALASKAN oil fields. 

      I felt this was more interesting for several reasons, one of which was the connection between ICE hockey and Alaska (lot of ice up there). Also, it would allow for more clever costume designs for these characters -- I'm thinking maybe mukluks instead of cowboy boots, fur coats instead of leather dusters, etc. (they could still have ten gallon hats for that "cowboy roughneck" look). And I like the sound of "Yukon Slim" better than "Texas Slim". The Alaskan Oil Baron, Mr. Arbuste, could have already prepped for the Super Slam Hockey team he thinks he can finagle with the purloined Golden Puck -- we could show that he's had team shirts made up for the "Kodiak Krushers"! Maybe he's the embittered youngest son of a Texas oil dynasty who got kicked out of his home state for some misdeed and found his way to Alaska where he made his fortune.

Of course, not being a team sports fan, perhaps I am missing something -- perhaps Texas and ice hockey have some tight connection that I am not aware of, and which thus makes this "Texas Roughneck" thing make more sense.

And this WILL be the last time I bring it up.


-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 1st draft eps 046
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 11:45:42 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments:

1.) Re: this Donatello line:

PAN DOWN – From the huge <TURBINES>, between the colossal engines, to a control panel.

It’s lucky I paid attention in shop class…

CLOSE ON - The back of the control panel has been ripped off and colored wires trail from it as Donatello <TWISTS> sets of wires together, connecting them up to a bunch of components and other wires.

This line about "shop class" seems like a weak and pointless attempt at humor, and really says nothing about what is going on in the scene. I suggest eliminating it.

2.) Re: this Splinter line:

WIDER – Leaving Splinter free as he <RUNS> across the control panels to the engine controls.
CLOSE ON – Splinter grabs the throttle control with his foot and <PULLS> it to ‘FULL AHEAD’.

Full ahead!

This also seems pointless -- stating the obvious, and in a way which is very un-Splinterlike. I'd lose it.

3.) In this Leo line:

It looked so much nicer in the catalogue!

... I suggest changing the word "catalogue" to "brochure".

4.) Just before line 24 there is this:

CLOSE ON – A sai lies on the floor…
PULL BACK TO SIDE ON – Raphael and Elite Ninja #1 are on the floor on either side of the FRAME as they eye the katana…

Is it a sai or a katana?

5.) I don't understand the following action choreography:

FOLLOW – Michelangelo <CHARGES> forwards and leaps, kicking off a Foot Ninja for extra height, somersaults and lands on the upright of a large loading crane.

DOWN ANGLE ON – Michelangelo climbs towards CAMERA as below, two Foot Ninjas start to follow him up the crane upright.

WIDE DOWN ON – Michelangelo climbs onto the arm of the crane and begins to run along it, pursued by the two Foot Ninjas as the Kurai Yama moves further away from the wharf.

FRONT ON – Michelangelo launches himself off the end of the crane arm, then curls up into a somersault, as the two Foot Ninjas leap after him.

CLOSE ON – Michelangelo grabs onto the steel cable and swings forwards.
WIDER – The two Foot Ninjas reach for Michelangelo, who twists on the cable and <PUNCHES> one Foot Ninja, then <KICKS> the other, sending both plummeting towards the water…

What steel cable are we talking about here? It doesn't seem like it can be the mooring cable, as that has already been knocked loose from its mooring post by Zog and has gone into the water, along with Zog. So is it a cable dangling from the crane Mike and the Foot ninja run up? If so, how can Mike take a running leap and somersault off the end of that crane upright and then grab that dangling cable? Doesn't seem to make sense.

Then there is a line at the beginning of Act Two which has Mike dangling from the cable where it is attached to the hull of the ship. How did he get there? I don't see how Mike could jump from that crane onto this mooring cable which should be dangling /trailing from the now moving ship, and then do the acrobatics described where he kicks the Foot ninjas off the cable. This whole thing should be a lot clearer.

6.) The following is kind of silly:

DOWN ON – Michelangelo hangs from the cable as he scans the water below.
Zog!  Zog!  Soldier, I order you to surface now!

Mike has no idea where Zog is, can't see him -- so why is he yelling down at the water to Zog, ordering him to surface? That to me implies that Mike believes that Zog is somewhere immediately below him, close enough to the surface that Zog could hear him yelling (and anyone who has ever been underwater and tried to hear someone speaking above the surface knows how difficult it is -- so I would expect Mike would also know this, and realize the futility of such an action). I think it would work better if Mike just yells something like "Zog! Zog, where are you --?!"

7.) Another pointless attempt at humor:

WIDE – Donatello casually approaches the Foot Ninjas, who are at the ready.
Aren’t you guys a little short to be sailors?

Are sailors supposed to be a certain height? Or is this just another lame repetition of the "Star Wars" gag ("Aren't you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?")? In any event, it seems really silly for Don to be making a joke here, especially a bad one.

8.) The following makes no sense to me:

O.T.S. – Karai <LANDS> on her butt and <SKIDS> backwards as Leonardo <SWOOPS> his katanas over his shoulder and points them at the defenseless Karai.  The fight is his.

I trusted you once, Karai, and you made a fool of me.  But I am not afraid to perish, for, unlike you, I have always lived with honor and I shall end that way.

WIDER – Leonardo <DROPS> his katanas… then turns around and walks away from Karai, his head lowered.

SIDE VIEW – Karai flips to her feet and raises her sword over her head, ready to strike Leonardo from behind…

O.T.S. – Leonardo keeps his head bowed and does not react as Karai hesitates, her blade wavering above her head, frozen in a moral dilemma.

Leo tells Karai that he trusted her once and she made a fool of him... and then he drops his swords and turns away from her, essentially leaving himself vulnerable to her attack? WHAT??!!! And this while Hun and the Shredder Elite are standing nearby? Is Leo STUPID???!! He DROPS his WEAPONS???!!! What the hell is going on here???!! And then he just STANDS there while Hun advances on him with Raph's sais?
If this is Leo giving Karai a little "test of honor", his timing for it is REALLY bad. This is NOT the right moment.

9.) Re: the following:

WIDER – Suddenly the bulkhead <BURSTS> open, swinging on its hinges and <SLAMMING> the Hun between itself and the wall, CAMERA SHAKE, as Zog <CHARGES> into the room…

I believe that on a ship, a bulkhead is a wall, not a door.  And I have to say that I am very disappointed with the way Hun is disposed of, and the fact that there is no Hun/Zog confrontation.
Also, I think that Zog should display accumulating injuries as this episode progresses.

10.) Re: the following:

ANGLE ON – Donatello looks around in amazement as the flames illuminate the long rows of half-completed FootMechs stretching off into the b.g.

Wow!  This ship is nothing more than a great big evil robot factory!

Donny, see what information you can get on these FootMechs.

CLOSE ON – Donatello consults his wrist timer, 2:32… 2:31…

You got it, but we better hurry unless we want to be chicken fried turtle!

I don't understand why in the middle of this ferocious fight Leo is asking Don to stop and research the FootMechs.
And why "chicken fried turtle"? Seems silly. I would just say "fried turtle".

11.) Re: the following:

WIDE – Zog <CHARGES> forwards, <SLAMMING> into the Shredder as they lock together and grapple.

ANGLE ON – Splinter and the turtles watch in horror.

You guys go on!  I’m staying!  We Triceraton recon units don’t leave anyone behind.

Raph's line seems really bogus and silly. I'd just drop it. And why are they watching "in horror"? Didn't Zog just a few minutes ago easily (and I think WAY too easily) kick the Shredder's ass? In fact, he kicked the Shredder's ass so easily that this confrontation shouldn't cause any consternation. Zog should be able to take Shredder out AND jump to safety with no problem.
Something needs to be done to make this scene more dramatic -- to make it clear that Zog, by attacking the Shredder at this moment, IS making the ultimate sacrifice, and through that sacrifice is giving the Turtles and Splinter the opportunity to save their lives.

-- Pete


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    1. There is no there there. -- PL

  2. I thought the Raph/Bug thing was a great running gag. Dunno why I laughed at it. probably because I'm not a big fan of bugs either ;o)

    Karai was really annoying in this series. Flip a coin, and she can change sides at an instant. Stab Leo through the shell, and she feels guilty...later stopping The Shredder from chopping his head off. every time she did something like this I wanted to scream 'make up your mind, woman!"
    In Turtles Forever, she also does a 180...going from seemingly reformed (being invited to April's wedding and all), back to all evil.

    As for the Texans..I had no problem with them. Maybe the 4kids folks thought eskimo's would be even goofier, sort of like old Adam West Batman villains? The Golden Puck is still one of my favorites. Nice Casey episode.