Friday, June 28, 2013

Blast from the Past #654: April 1, 2005: Re: first pass and 2 other things

Subj: Re: first pass and 2 other things
Date: Friday, April 1, 2005 1:08:58 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Kevin Munroe


Here are my comments on your list.


General Turtles question: can we alter any of their masks? i.e. can one of them wear a bandana instead of the mask? We’ll keep the classic colors, but can we put any markings  on the masks? (just questions to open the forum. I like the bandana idea for Raph, but it’s not a hill I need to die on for now.) >>

  My preference is to stay with the classic mask look. Over-the-head bandanas remind me of "THE NEXT MUTATION" live-action TV show.... blech. While they are okay for the Turtle Tots (the Turtles as youngsters seen in several episodes of the new animated series), I don't like them on the adult Turtles.

<<We’ll probably make the different body shapes (only slightly, I know) on the second pass of deliverables. (schedule still forthcoming). I’m thinking of Raph being a little more cut, but am open to any other opinions you may have on Mikey and Don, or reference to what’s been done already, or any avenues you’ve gone down, good and bad, before this. >>

  I have no problem with Raph being more muscular... and as far as other physical changes go, "I'll know it when I see it" -- in other words, I have a mental image of what will be okay, but it's hard for me to put into words. But a rough rule of thumb might be to say that a variation from a "standard" Turtle form of 10 to 15% would probably be okay (depending, of course, on what that variation actually looked like). Maybe Don should have a slightly bigger head (proportionally to his body) than the others.

  A lot of the visual variation for the Turtles can -- and I think should -- come from posture. For example: Mike slouches a lot, is very casual; Raph likes tough-guy poses, hunched over/angry; Leo stands tall, is very precise in his movements; Don is slightly distracted all the time, as he thinks about a lot of stuff.

just confirming: the deformed ear is a mainstay, right?>>

  No, not necessarily. That torn ear concept was used in the first movie and was developed to make a particular plot point work. I think Splinter would be fine with or without it.

<<Does he have to wear a tattered robe, or can it be a little more presentable? (not shiny, but more everyday wear, gi-style)>>

  I think Splinter could wear a robe which isn't tattered; in fact, he could certainly have several different outfits. But the key, I think, is that whatever he wears, it should be simple in design... to reflect his higher level of Zen mastery.

she will be the most challenging – human and female. Pushing for a few clothing changes – jungle, business wear, casual, training, final battle. Already have resistance on that from Hong Kong, but I will push it through. We can maybe alter the color/texture of her casual wear for a low-impact way of adding variety to her wardrobe as well.

- as discussed, all of this gear will be store-bought-able. Is the white mask a given? Could it be any other color/painted design?>>

  I think the white hockey mask is an iconic element for Casey, and thus I would be very reluctant to change it. Maybe there could be an opportunity somewhere in this story for Casey to apply "war paint" to his mask to customize it -- preparing for a big battle or something.

GENERAL UNO (names still not given)
- again, we’ll only see her sans-mask for one shot at the end. Up until that point, we’ll make her body a bit less curvy and less feminine to not raise unnecessary questions.

  The comment about Karai and her curvy figure made me realize that there is really no good reason why some of the Foot Ninja couldn't be women.

<<- do we want a logo? Is it the one from the tv show? If so, what the heck is that logo supposed to stand for? If not, what do you want for a logo?>>

  I'm not completely sure what you mean by "what the heck is that logo supposed to stand for". But I am not opposed to a new logo for the film, as long as it works well and looks cool. I like the design of the logo which we are using on the TV show and all licensed products -- it's a variation/updating of the original Playmates Toys logo. Maybe we could tweak that. Also, we should probably decide if we want to have a "teaser" logo and a final logo -- for example, is "TMNT" as seen on the manhole cover at the end of the teaser trailer going to be a part of the final titles of the movie, or is that going to be the full "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"?

- I don’t think I want to ever refer to the monsters directly as “hey! There’s Bigfoot!”, but I like that we’re using it as a production design of sorts. On top of that, I am shooting for a look that sort of redefines, (while staying true to established convention) the look of some of these classics. The first four were picked to try and get a wide array of body types and silhouettes. The last three tbd’s and any others we see will be chosen same way.>>

I agree. The idea I've had in my head re: the monsters is that they -- the ones who come through Yaotl's portal thousands of years ago -- are the archetypes upon which the look and legend of our contemporary mythical monsters (i.e. Bigfoot, Yeti, Nessie, etc.) are based. So part of the design process might be to "reverse engineer" these monsters... in other words, to try to imagine what look would have inspired the legends we have today, as filtered through centuries of retelling and the recollections/testimony of not-necessarily-reliable eyewitnesses.

  One type of legendary monster which would be visually a lot of fun would be the fearsome Kraken, the sea monster which is thought to have been based on sightings of squids or octopi. A werewolf (or were-beast of any sort... were-lion, were-tiger. were-bear, were-elephant) would also be cool, as would some variation of my favorite movie monster, the Gill Man ("Creature From the Black Lagoon")... at least one which wouldn't get us in legal hot water with Universal Studios.

Really would like to see any reference you have for this from your show. Better yet, please wax poetic on your approach to this key layout. Is it an antechamber? An old subway station? Etc. Would love to know your thoughts on the “foundation” of the lair. What you liked about the current tv. What’s cool about the upcoming one. What don’t you like about what’s been done? I think we’re on the same page with wanting something unique and cool with offshooting rooms and pipes and inter-connected chambers, but I want to get in your headspace as much as possible on this before hand. I’m probably going to have the guy who designed most of the underground lairs in Matrix 2 and 3, Van Helsing sets, and the Judge Dredd city, so we’ll be in good conceptual hands, I think. (at least he didn’t write the scripts!)>>

  The basic idea for the Turtles' lair, in pretty much all of its incarnations, is that it is a part of the city infrastructure that was lost/forgotten/abandoned, and the Turtles found it and made it their own... with quite a bit of customization over the years. I'm not married to any particular design, but the basic things are individual rooms for each Turtle and Splinter, maybe a few extra rooms for guests, a dojo/training area, kitchen, armory, workshop, and common area. The entrances and exits need to be carefully/cleverly hidden, and can be things that Donatello has worked out, like sliding walls, hidden panels, doors disguised as pipes, etc. -- the idea being that the Turtles don't want to be discovered, even accidentally by a curious sewer worker.


I remember your response to the proposed drawings a long time ago, so I know we’re not altering the Turtles’ gear they wear everyday. But you mentioned it might be okay for special purposes – i.e. final battle. If we preluded this by Don tinkering with new gear for them during the movie, could the tmnt use it at the end?
Those issues aside, does that mean that in their standard “walking around” look, that the tmnt “tuck” their weapons into their tied belts, and that’s their only “gear”? When they bring out other gadgets – claws, stars, etc., where do they hold them? Do we do the Looney Tunes off camera grab? I know that Don has a sash bag from the show, but just curious what your thoughts are.>>

  I understand the impulse to add new stuff to the Turtles, and I am not opposed to them using new gear for specific reasons... but the sai, katana, bo and nunchaku have become powerful iconic elements of the TMNT "mythos", and thus need to be retained as is. That said, one of the things that we have tried to do in the various iterations of the TMNT is to show that although those four weapons are their PREFERRED weapons, they have also received lots of training in other weapons, and are proficient in them.

The question of "Where do those climbing claws come from, anyway?" is a good one. In the comics and the TV show, we have been able to "cheat" it... but my thought has always been that a certain amount of gear could be stored on the INSIDE of their belts, tucked away into low-profile pockets hidden on that reverse side. If it becomes a problem in terms of logic and realism, maybe we could think about giving them some kind of small pouches attached to the belts to carry these small gadgets. Don's shoulder bag is more for carrying larger stuff or multiples of smaller things, and/or the tools he needs for a particular job.

Going after the same production design as the flashbacks, this ancient culture, the motifs of his building etc. But just higher tech.

Just a funny van decorated to fit Mikey’s alter ego as a party mascot.>>

  That could be cool. This could also be a useful "hide in plain sight" surveillance/transport vehicle. Which actually raises another question -- I don't know if it is needed, given the demands of the story, but the Turtles in both animated series have had a "group vehicle" in which they (and Splinter) can all travel together. In the current series, it was first a converted bank armored car called the "BattleShell", and then a converted moving van. Do we need something like this?

tweaked out ktm adventurer, right? Either way, we’ll keep the advice of an off-road suspension design and take it to heart.>>

  Barring any possible legal problems with using the KTM-specific design, I think that's a great bike to use for this purpose. 

I can’t find the paper where I wrote down your key villains that we would see during the opening credits projected onto walls, etc. Could you provide again, please?>>

  I think Gary has made a pretty comprehensive list, which either he or I will send you, but here is a list off the top of my head, some from the comics, some from the new TV show:

  Foot Ninja/Shredder Elite Ninja/Tech Ninja
  Rat King
  Leatherhead (he's not really a villain, but they did fight him... and he's cool-looking)
  Battle Nexus warriors
Ultimate Draco
Savanti Romero

I'm sure there are more. It just occurred to me that it might be fun to show glimpses during these credits some of their allies, as well -- Fugitoid and Usagi Yojimbo both come to mind. (The fans would dig it!)

<<That’s about it. We’re ramping up with artists to get going on all aspects of design. And we’ll also get you guys that schedule for what to expect and when. I’m pushing for a small amount of just percolation time (couple of weeks), just to flesh out our general direction. Then the actual designs will begin then. Schedule will explain more.

Anything else that comes into your head along the above lines, please feel free to throw in.



  Cool! Looking forward to seeing more stuff.

    -- Pete


  1. So what universe was this film supposed to take place in anyway?

    1. so peter big fan um if this movie take place in another universe why did i see the ooze sherdder's helmer