Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blast from the Past #641: January 9, 2004: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft, January 10, 2004: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft, and Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft

Subj: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft
Date: Friday, January 9, 2004 11:45:58 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Just two days ago I got the FIRST draft, and I was just about to comment on that one tonight. Is this "final" draft the rewrite you were talking about when you called me on my cell phone tonight, or something different? I'll hold off on reading this one until I hear from you. (Sorry about getting cut off, by the way... I was driving into the hills outside of Northampton, and cell reception is spotty out there. The last couple of things you said were garbled.)

Oh, before I forget -- about Mr. Touch and Mr. Go... after talking about them with you tonight, I went back and looked at the faxes again. It occurred to me that it might be cool to go against physical type for a change and make the big guy Mr. Go, and the small guy Mr. Touch. 

Anyway, here are my comments on the first draft of 60:

1.) I still think it's silly for Leo and Raph to be "mapping" the roads, but I will let it slide if we can throw in a line or two from Raph in his scene on the rooftop with Leo, lines in which he grouses about how pointless this "mapping" bit is. 

2.) Re: the following:

"Donatello pats LeatherHead on the humongous shoulder.
Come on, LeatherHead.  Let’s get working on a new communications array.
LeatherHead looks down at the crushed antenna in his hands.
Yes, it does appear … [small self-deprecating chuckle] … quite necessary."

What, in this context, is a "communications array"? And what does the TV antenna have to do with it? I'm not trying to be picky and technical, but our tech guys should know what they are talking about, I think. My idea of a communications array MIGHT include TV (via cable and/or antenna reception) but most importantly have to do with two-way radio, internet connection, shellcels, videophone, etc.. Leatherhead looking at the crushed TV antenna and connecting it to a new communications array being now "necessary" (because he's crushed the TV antenna, apparently) is a bit off.

3.) Re: the following:

We will have surface for a short space."

I would change that to read:

We will have to surface for a short distance."

I would also replace the word "space" with the word "distance" in line 55.

4.) Re: the following:

"SIDE VIEW – Splinter raises his stick and <BLOCKS> Mr. Go’s fist attack.  In almost fast motion, Mr. Go attacks with a flurry of Tiger Claw hands as Splinter continues to block them."

Should that be "Mr. Go's first attack" instead of "fist attack"? And what is "almost fast motion"? Slow motion?

5.) Re: the following:

"82. SHREDDER (V.O.)
Just remember, we are legitimate now, Hun.  I don’t want anything to spoil my image.  Understand?"

I still don't get this. "Legitimate"? Who? What? When? How? Why? And... his IMAGE? Huh?

6.) Re: the following:

Raphael is moving at top speed along the side of a building … along its ornate ledges …
There’s no way he’s going to beat me now.
CLOSER ON - A crumbling ledge of the damaged building gives way underneath him …
WIDER - Raphael goes tumbling down …
Aw … sheeellllll!
DOWN ANGLE ON – Raphael is falling and falling towards the street far below as we …
DOWN ANGLE - Raphael is falling to the street very, very far below …
SIDE VIEW – The building is just zipping by in the BACKGROUND as Raphael falls.  Raphael rotates around in midair (looking almost like a skydiver) … he focuses and …
CLOSER – Much like a skydiver, Raphael angles himself down slightly … aiming himself back towards the building slightly … and then …
FOLLOW RAPHAEL DOWN as he tucks and then comes out of it to grab the edge of a fire escape …
… he twists, leaps, comes around, slows his descent until finally …"

How freakin' high is this "old building"? Apparently falling off the top of it is like diving out of an airplane, as it gives you that much time to use skydiver tricks and techniques to reorient your body position.
Let's ditch this stupid stuff and have Raph do something a little more in line with common sense, a reasonably tall "old building" -- and the laws of physics -- to save himself.

7.) Re: the following:

"Mrs. Morrison gropes reaching blindly for Raphael’s hand.
Oh, you must be one of Mr. Rossetti’s boys.  I’m Mrs. Morrison.  Help me, dear.  Take my hand.  I can’t see you.  [slight laugh]  I can’t see anything.  I’ve been blind for almost a year now."

Gary pointed out, quite correctly in my opinion, that if Mrs. Morrison is blind she would have great difficulty identifying the money that Raph gives her in the end of the story AS money. Why not make her REALLY nearsighted, like Mr. Magoo-type nearsighted? And instead of her saying "I can’t see you.  [slight laugh]  I can’t see anything.  I’ve been blind for almost a year now." she could say "I can’t see you very well.  [slight laugh]  I can’t see anything very well.  I’ve been legally blind for almost a year now."

8.) Re: the following:

"FRONT ON – THE TRAIN is coming on fast.  And, it’s not stopping (this station is closed, remember?).
ON - Touch and Go smile wickedly.
145. MR. TOUCH
I think it’s time for the turtle to catch a train, Mr. Go.
146. MR. GO
Or, for the train to catch the turtle, Mr. Touch.
Touch and Go take a step closer to Mikey.
MICHELANGELO’s sweating it.
THE TRAIN’S getting closer and closer coming into the station."

It seems kind of odd for Touch and Go to want to wipe out Mikey in this fashion -- I thought they were supposed to bring "trophies" to Hun as proof of the Turtles' demise(s). What if the train hits Mike and carries his body many miles away? Or are they thinking that the impact will dismember him, and all they'll have to do is look down the tracks a little way to find an arm or a leg? If so, it might be creepy/cool/fun to have one of them actually SAY something like that.

9.) I am still REALLY unclear as to exactly WHAT Touch and Go are. Do we know now, or is this something we are going to figure out as we go along? They've got to be something pretty special, not the least because of the way that they survive their encounter with the train. Speaking of which, I think that when they rendezvous with Bishop, they should look pretty messed up -- limping, dirty, cut, torn, etc..

(This may be really goofy and not fit in anywhere, but for some reason while thinking of these characters, I imagined Mikey calling Mr. Touch "Mr. T"... and then in response to something Mr. Touch says, Mikey says "I pity the fool!")

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft
Date: Saturday, January 10, 2004 7:50:10 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Thanks for clearing up most of those points. I look forward to seeing your rewrite.

One thing:

<< **In the rewrite I'm having Touch and Go throw Mike and Splinter in
front of the train and we end the act with them believing our heroes

But we have a clever way for them to have survived... right? 

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft
Date: Sunday, Re: TMNT - 60 Final draft 8:59:32 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 1/11/04 3:26:57 AM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hey Pete -

Re: your query about Mike and Splinter surviving the train, the truth is
we don't go into too much of an explanation.  As written now, Mikey
seems to let Touch and Go deliberately toss them onto the train tracks,
the train zooms through the station, and after it passes we see
Splinter's tattered robe and Mikey's 'chucks on the track.  Touch and go
declare their mission a success and go to see Hun at the hotel to
collect their money.  While having their meeting, there is a knock on
the door and Mikey shows up pretending to be room service.  After Mikey
and Splinter defeat Hun, Touch and Go, Mikey says:

Y'know sensei, this whole "using your mind" thing is wild!! 

(earlier, Splinter urges Mike to think before he acts, use his mind more
and his mouth less!) 

**ON SPLINTER and MICHELANGELO as they walk from (Mikey assisting
Splinter) the window and head for the door.  Mikey gesticulates wildly
as he recounts his mental prowess.  Splinter humors him as they cross
the room and exit through the door.

First I thought, "Throw them in front of the train" . but then I
thought, "No, let them think they're throwing us in front of the train."
and then. 

Yes, yes, my son. It is a brave new world for you.  I am very proud.

. and how about that brainstorm "Keep the bad guys separated?" Whoa,
that was a good one, huh?  <CHUCKLE>

That's about all the explanation I plan to give about the train.  I had
written a version where we see them hiding in the well under the train
platform as the train passes, but that just gives the whole thing away.
I feel it's more fun if left as a mystery that's not completely
explained, and it works to make their appearance at Hun's hotel more of
a surprise.  I don't think anyone would have a hard time believing that
Splinter and Mikey could get out of that kind of predicament; it's
pretty much an action movie standard!

I'm still finessing the script tonight.  Lemme know if you don't agree
with the way I'm handling this!

Have a great weekend!

Lloyd >>


I see where you are going, but I think that this scenario -- without at least SOME tweak (I will shortly suggest at least one) -- is bringing us dangerously close to a place that I at least don't want to go. That is, let's set up our heroes in a situation from which -- given their abilities - - there is seemingly NO possible escape... and then have them show up later, unharmed, having escaped SOMEHOW (and we don't say how). To me, this opens up a HUGE can of worms and opens the door for really poor writing (or at least plotting), leading to situations of ludicrous peril easily escaped -- and thus making ANY peril meaningless.

Consider: Touch and Go throw Mikey and Splinter onto the train tracks just before the train "zooms through the station". One would reasonably assume that after Touch and Go throw our heroes onto the tracks -- but BEFORE the train zooms through -- they STAND there and WATCH the train run into/over our heroes, to make sure that they did in fact do their jobs and Mikey and Splinter didn't just jump out of the way and scurry off into a drain pipe or something. It would make NO sense for them to just turn away and ASSUME that the train crushed them.

Part of this problem is timing. How long are Mike and Splinter on the tracks before the train zooms by? One second? Three? Five? If the interval is too short, then there really IS no escape -- the train would just flatten them before they have a chance to do anything. And if it's too long, the audience will think "Well, of COURSE they can escape!" 

And think about this -- just being pushed off the platform and onto the tracks (a drop of what, maybe ten feet at most?) would not likely faze ninja fighters like Mike and Splinter, and Touch and Go would KNOW this, having already seen them in action. So they would DOUBLY want some assurance that the train did them in, and thus would, as I said earlier, likely watch as the train ran them over.

So... something needs to be added that will make this scenario play a bit more realistically, or at least somewhat more believably. 

Suggestion 1: When Splinter and Mikey are pushed off the platform, this should be done NOT when they are right at the edge, but they should be WHOMPED hard by Touch and Go from about seven or eight feet away from the edge, and they actually go flying through the air and off the edge -- momentarily OUT OF SIGHT of Touch and Go. (We can, however, SHOW them landing on the tracks, even if it's something Touch and Go DON'T see.) In another second or two -- BEFORE Touch and Go have time to reach the edge of the platform and look down to see Mike and Splinter on the tracks, the train blasts by. Several seconds later, when it has passed, Touch and Go leap down onto the tracks and find the evidence as you suggested.

Suggestion 2: Mike and Splinter get kicked off the edge of the platform by Touch and Go, landing HARD on the tracks. Touch and Go look over the edge, seeing Mike and Splinter lying dazed on the tracks. The train approaches at high speed, and as it gets closer, its BRIGHT headlight glares in the eyes of Touch and Go, causing them to briefly cover their eyes (this brief moment is all it takes for Mike and Splinter to get away, out of the path of the train). Additionally (or alternatively), the train's approach and passage could push a huge air wave ahead of it which kicks up lots of dust, debris, and trash which obscures Touch's and Go's vision. Several seconds later, when it has passed, Touch and Go leap down onto the tracks and find the evidence as you suggested.

Either of these tweaks would work for me, and neither requires a real explanation for our heroes' escape.

-- Pete

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