Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blast from the Past #638: December 8, 2003: Re: Scripts 58, 59, December 10, 2003: Re: TMNT - 2nd draft eps 57, and December 16, 200: Re: Script 58

Subj: Re: Scripts 58, 59
Date: Monday, December 8, 2003 10:54:12 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on Episode 59, first draft script.

1.) Re: the following:

Voice identification … Bishop … Log 493 Zeta.  The massive force of the Triceraton Republic has successfully invaded and occupied Earth."

Have the Triceratons actually occupied all of Earth? Or have they just occupied NYC?

2.) Re: the following:

I’d administer a sedative… but why spoil the fun?"

This is one of several lines in this script which make Bishop look like a cackling psycho -- which was NOT the impression I got about his character from earlier scripts. Maybe something along the lines of "I’d administer a sedative… but that might contaminate the results of my examination." would be better.

Or... it might be funny if he actually DOES give Mike a local anesthetic in one of his arms (where Bishop intends to begin his cutting), and for the rest of the episode Mike has to deal (humorously) with an arm which is "asleep".

3.) Re: the following:

A break-in, sir.  We’re advised to step up security measures.
EXTREME CLOSE-UP - on Bishop as he sneers in disgust.
Who would be stupid enough to try to break in here?"

Bishop's line and his sneer seem out of character. I would think that he would just tell the Soldier to "deal with it!"

4.) Here are some other "psycho Bishop" lines:

And so back to work, or should I say… "play.""

There’s just something about the first incision…"

5.) In this line of Raph's:

(losing it)
I had enough of this!"

... I think it should be "I've had".

6.) Re: the following:

General Blanque took him.  They’re going to try and force him to download the Teleportal plans!"

I suggest these changes:

General Blanque took him.  They’re going to try to force him to download his Teleportal plans!"

7.) The scene which runs from line 40 to line 53 is weird -- I thought we had gotten rid of the "super Mutant Bishop" concept.

8.) I'm not sure why Mozar has to kneel before Zanramon in the scene beginning with line 54 -- has he done this before when he meets Zanramon? It seems like it's just there to set up the silly bit where Zanramon keeps leaning in on Mozar until Mozar is "prostrate on the floor before him."
And Zanramon's line 60 -- "Don't you dare!" -- sounds REALLY silly.

9.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE – LOW ANGLE - on General Blanque as he steps back, a crazed gleam of triumph in his eyes.
After all this time!  The Teleportal plans are mine!  The Triceratons are doomed!  The Federation has finally and forever triumphed over all!
EXTREME CLOSE-UP - on General Blanque as his eyes widen even further.
Let the annihilation begin!"

Isn't Blanque really jumping the gun here? Don't they have to BUILD the teleportal first?

10.) Re: the following:

As you should have remembered, General, I designed almost the entire the Federation system for you."

There is an extra "the" in that line. In addition, I would add the word "computer" between "Federation" and "system".

11.) Re: the following:

"116. BISHOP
It’s that tin toy the Federation was after.  [dismisses it]  Reboot the system and clear it.  We can to proceed at once with the genetic mutation … now that I have this:"

A minor point, but Bishop's dismissive "tin toy" reference to the Fugitoid seems off -- surely Bishop, being as smart as he is, would know the great value of the 'Toid and his teleportal.

12.) Re: the following:

"EXTREME CLOSE-UP - on Bishop as he holds up the carrying case and opens it, revealing four vials of green fluid.
Samples of the Terrapins DNA!"

When did Bishop get these samples (I don't remember him doing anything of this nature while he had the Turtles strapped to tables) and why are they GREEN FLUID?

13.) I really like the way the Fugitoid's intelligence reverts to that of a worker robot as his mind drains away. Very HAL!

14.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE - Donatello looks as the green pattern spreads.
It’s… the professor … his virus!  It’s destroying all the equipment!  The Professor’s parting shot"

I don't think what the 'Toid was doing had been referred to as a "virus" up to this point -- should it be?

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 2nd draft eps 57
Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:12:33 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


This draft is significantly better but still has a few problems.

Number one is the Fugitoid's reason for returning to Earth. It is SLIGHTLY more believable the way it has been rewritten, but I'm still not totally happy with it. I still like the idea that he has come back just to see the Turtles, doesn't know the Triceratons are there, and just steps in the shit.

However, I'm not going to push that idea anymore. I do have a new idea which might add some interesting twists to the existing story: What if the Fugitoid that beams back to Earth is NOT the real Fugitoid, but a DUPLICATE  -- created by the Utroms and Professor Honeycutt. It has been programmed to simulate Professor Honeycutt's personality, but we could drop a few hints that MAYBE this 'Toid isn't all it should be -- nothing to raise too many suspicions, but just stuff like he calls the Turtles by the wrong names, doesn't remember certain things about his adventures with them, etc.

The point is that this way, this false 'Toid can go through the motions of sacrificing himself (wiping his brain) without there ever REALLY being any danger that the Triceratons could get his teleportal secrets (the duplicate 'Toid is not programmed with the real teleportal info) -- even though to the audience and every other character in the show, the threat is real. Not only that, but we could have a much more visually dramatic and seemingly permanent denouement for the 'Toid where he is melted down/blasted to bits/disintegrated in front of the horrified Turtles' eyes. Then, later, the REAL 'Toid reveals himself... perhaps when the Turtles go back to the lair, to their astonishment they find him making tea for Master Splinter.

Now to my comments:

1.) I'm not crazy about calling the Utroms' homeworld "Utromia" (line 52). Let's just call it "the Utroms' homeworld" or "the Utroms' planet".

2.) Re: the following:

No go, Prof, you used the Transmat.  If your memory’s gone, the Triceratons will just track the transionic particle trail back to Utromia!
Oh, I have been careful to cover my tracks.  The particle trail will lead the Triceratons on a wild goose chase, which will take millennia to follow."

I think it's a good idea to tie up this loose end, but perhaps some extra pseudoscientific verbiage would be in order. Maybe the 'Toid can even say that the transmat on the Utrom's homeworld is not as crude as the one they built on Earth, and doesn't leave a residue of transionic particles, or that he made sure to tune the transmat so it didn't leave a trail, or something. 

3.) The scene which begins with line 94 and has Don grabbing the Fugitoid's head and unlocking it from his body bothers me, for a number of reasons -- mainly that it telegraphs a gag which renders all of those scenes with the individual Turtles' carrying parts of the Fugitoid around (but shown in a way which makes you think -- though I'm not sure WHY exactly you would think it) that each Turtle is with the whole 'Toid.

Also, shouldn't Don get this idea instead of Mike? Seems more likely.

I suggest eliminating Mike's line 94, and the bit which follows it with Don taking the 'Toid's head off. Keep lines 98, 99 and 100. Change Mike's line 101 to a Don line. Then, probably around lines 120 -121, in the junkyard, do some new lines where Don and the 'Toid are talking -- the 'Toid is complaining in his fussy way about the indignity of being pulled apart, and Don is explaining that it was something the 'Toid mentioned to him back on D'Hoonib, in conversation (one we never heard, of course), about how the SAL robot worker bodies were modular in nature, allowing for homeowner customization... and THAT is how he got the inspiration to dismember the 'Toid.

4.) In line 105, I think "hooves" is better usage than "hoofs".

5.) When Don and the 'Toid's head are in the helicopter, it might be fun to have the 'Toid's head rolling around when Don is doing evasive maneuvers.

6.) I still don't like Leo flying the Triceraton flying harness -- it really strains credulity and turns out to be unnecessary, anyway.

7.) Because they are not very funny, I would eliminate lines 158 and 159.

That's it!

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Script 58
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 10:24:29 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are some comments on Episode 58 second draft script.

1.) Do you think it's time for Splinter to stop saying "Miss O'Neil" and "Mister Jones" when talking to April and Casey? It was appropriate at first, but I think he knows them well enough now.

2.) I think Gary also pointed out the "We're"  for "Where" typo in line 21.

3.) I don't think either Casey or April should refer to Splinter as "Master Splinter", as Casey does in line 23.

4.) I'm not sure if "black robe/black headband" Splinter will look cool or goofy. Guess we'll have to wait for the design sketch.

5.) Where exactly do Casey and April get their black "commando" gear? Did they bring it with them? Is it stuff the Turtles have in the lair? Might be a good idea to at least mention where they got it.

6.) I'm glad the silly bit with Splinter taking Casey's hockey mask off is gone, and I think it's totally appropriate that Casey should not be wearing it for these scenes. But... it occurred to me that a cute character bit might happen if we have Casey say something about feeling naked without his hockey mask, and April turns to him and says something about how she likes it, being able to see his face... Casey perks up at that -- "Really? No kiddin'...?" Just a little bit to bring along their attraction to each other.

7.) Bishop says in line 66 that he has been spying on the Turtles for "quite some time now". That comment has significant implications -- do we want to deal with them at some point? If not, we should probably not have him say this.

8.) Suggest changing "Operation Galactic Storm" to "Operation Broken Horn" in Blanque's line 69.

9.) I still think it's silly that the Triceratons would have entered our solar system and encircled Earth -- and still not have seen the Federation ships "on the dark side of the moon". I suggest adding some extra line or two to indicate that they weren't just sitting out in the open for anyone to see -- maybe they were hidden in caverns, or in craters covered up with moon dust. Might make for a cooler visual, anyway.

10.) Re: the following:

APRIL - peers down at Don's scanner.
82. *APRIL
The good news is the shellcel signal is less than a mile away.
*REFRAME TO REVEAL - April points across the East River, the destroyed Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.
The bad news is it's coming from that direction.

Shouldn't April's line 83 come BEFORE she points across the East River?

11.) Re: the following:

An underwater entrance?
Splinter (holding his walking stick), April and Casey swim toward the underwater light source Casey saw earlier.  As they grow closer, we can see it is, in fact, a subaquatic tunnel entrance.

Why is Splinter holding his stick while swimming? Seems more sensible for him to tuck in in his robe's belt.

12.) Re: the following:

*WIDEN TO REVEAL - Splinter is gone!
114. *CASEY
Man… How does he do that?
*ON THE POOL WATER'S SURFACE - Splinter's walking stick suddenly floats to the surface with a <FWOOSH>.
*THE SOLDIERS - quickly turn the pool, aiming their weapons at the floating walking stick, not noticing the WET, HAIRY, RATTY SHAPE, moving through the shadows behind them…
*SPLINTER - leaps out from the shadows at the Soldiers.

This action doesn't make much sense to me. How is it supposed to work? If I am reading it correctly, Splinter has to be underwater to release his stick so it will "float to the surface". But by the time THAT happens -- a few seconds at most --  how could he be out of the water and waiting in the shadows to attack the distracted guards? Unless he has some kind of special "slow surfacing" wooden stick, I think it would make more sense for his to THROW his stick into the water (from a position of concealment in the shadows) to distract the guards. It would also make more noise than a stick just floating to the surface.

13.) Re: the following:

WITH A GUARD - following a trail of WET RATTY FOOTPRINTS along the floor.  Suddenly the trail of footprints just stops.
118. GUARD
CLOSE ON GUARD - looking this way and that for the missing source of the footprints.  A drop of water <DRIPS> on top of his head.  He looks up, just as:
APRIL AND CASEY - leap out from the shadows of the doorways on either side of the hall just BEHIND the Guard.  They grab the Guard, April cover his mouth with her hand.
*ANGLE UP - Splinter leaps down out of an open ceiling vent, landing silently in front of the Guard, who can only react wide-eyed to the sight of the giant rat now standing before him (April's hand still cover's the Guard's mouth).
*SPLINTER - smiles at the Guard.  Then raises his walking stick high over his head.
CLOSE ON GUARD - <O.S. IMPACT> April releases her hand from the Guard's mouth.  His eyes roll back and he <CRUMPLES> to the floor out of frame.

This action seems forced and goofy to me. Splinter has just demonstrated his ability to take out -- all by himself -- "several" guards at once. Why does he need April and Casey to hold this one guard while he bashes him over the head with his stick? (And Splinter smiling at the guard before he bashes him on the head -- weird and silly.) If the intent is to get Casey and April more into the action, why not have TWO guards, one for April and one for Casey -- they can take them out when the guards are startled and distracted by the sudden appearance of Splinter. 

14.) In the reconfiguring of this episode, it appears that some undesirable stuff from episode 59 has found its way into the end of 58 -- I'm referring to stuff I've already commented on re: Bishop's suddenly sadistic psycho personality (lines 134, 138,  143, and 147) AND his superpowers. NO SUPERBISHOP!!!

-- Pete

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