Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blast from the Past #524: December 25, 2005: Re: 139 ("Head of State") First Draft, December 28, 2005: Re: 138 ("Race For Glory") First draft, and December 29, 2005: Re: Episode #143 ("Zixxth Sense") Premise

Subj: Re: 139 First Draft
Date: Sunday, December 25, 2005 1:55:13 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 139 first draft.

1.) Re: the following:

Come on, guys! Bishop is President now! He’s a good guy, and he needs our help!"

There's something a bit simpleminded in Leo's line here -- I think it's the idea that his first words to convince the other Turtles that they should help Bishop are "Bishop is President now!"... as if simply by being "President", a person becomes worthy of the Turtles' help.
And the phrase "He's a good guy" is also a bit much -- given the Turtles' history with Bishop, they should NEVER completely trust him, even if he does seem to have "changed his spots".

2.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON BISHOP. He throws Raph a glare.

I need your help. I’m being hunted. By an underground... monster.

ON TURTLES. A beat. They bust out <LAUGHING!>

12. LEONARDO Monster?!

13. MICHAELANGEO You sure it’s not the boogeyman?!

14. RAPHAEL Maybe he needs a nightlight!

15. DONATELLO (trying to stifle laughter) What does your... “monster” look like?"

This is utterly inane and out of character. Why the SHELL would all of the Turtles LAUGH at Bishop's mention of an "underground monster"? Haven't they encountered enough of said type of creatures on their own? What's so freakin' FUNNY???!!

3.) Re: the following:

"ON TURTLES as they approach Bishop.

22. DONATELLO I take it that’s the monster!

23. BISHOP My Security’s never battled anything like this; you have! I need your help!"

I appreciate the attempt to give Bishop a rationale for asking for the Turtles' help, but I don't think the fact that his security guards have "never battled anything like this" is good enough. I believe that the REAL reason should be that Bishop knows they have special skills and a LOT of experience in the underground realms, and as THAT is where these monsters seem to be coming from, he figures the Turtles might be able to help him out.

4.) Re: the following:

"ON MOUSER as it’s elongated tongue whips out, wraps around a <SCREAMING> GUARD and throws him across the room.

BACK ON BISHOP AND THE TURTLES as they cringe at the disgusting sight."

Given the types of extreme and revolting things the Turtles and Bishop have all experienced before, it seems silly that they would "cringe" as this tongue action.

5.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON BISHOP, pressed against the wall. The Mouser’s huge mouth comes within inches of Bishop’s cringing face."

"Cringing"? When did Bishop become such a weenie?

6.) Re: the following:

"ON MOUSER, recovering from its crash into the thick marble wall, emerges from a pile of rubble. It clamors to its feet and <ROARS> just as the Turtles’ makeshift battering ram crashes into it, knocking the beast back down."

I believe it's "clambers", not "clamors". From Websters:

"clamber: to climb awkwardly (as by scrambling)  *clambered over the rocks*"

7.) Re: the following:

"OTS MIKEY as he and Don strain to push the table against the beast.

I think he’s down for the count!

<CRACK!> The Mouser’s massive tongue rips through the table, mere inches from impaling Don’s head.

<GULP!> Guess not!

ON LEO, MIKEY AND DON as they try to restrain the Mouser by pushing their weight against the table. However, the creature’s tongue continues to rip through the table like a retracting fleshy spear. The three Turtles move in a funky spasms to avoid the trashing tongue."

This is SO not Ninja Turtle-style fighting. The whole "grab a table and push it against the monster and hope for the best" bit is a silly desperation move, and for Don to say "I think he’s down for the count!" is just plain dopey. And then they just stay there pushing against the table while the thing's tongue repeatedly rips through it!

8.) Re: the following:

"WIDE as the Mouser’s tongue, firmly holding Donatello’s leg, hoists him into the air.

ON LEO, RAPH AND MIKEY, staring at their friend.

45. MICHAELANGELO That can’t be good."

Lame line (stating the freakin' OBVIOUS) and lame (in)action -- why are the other three just STARING instead of doing something to help? Ridiculous.

9.) Re: the following:

"ON LEO, MIKEY AND RAPH as they grab dozens of interplanetary flags and throw them like spears at the Mouser.

Hail to the chief, dude!"

"Hail to the chief"? WTF?

10.) Re: the following:

"ON TURTLES as they clamor aboard Bishop’s HoverCar."

See point 6 re: "clamor".

11.) Re: the following:

Now would be a good time to take off.

ON HUGE MOUSER as it prepares to spit more acid slime.

CLOSE ON HOVERCAR CONTROLS, Bishop’s hand hits the ignition. <VROOM!>

68. BISHOP Take off!"

Not only is Bishop's line silly (why is he saying "Take off"? -- he sounds like a kid playing in a rocketship made out of a cardboard box), but it's also very awkward immediately following Don's line which ENDS in "take off".

12.) Re: the following:

Alright! Power’s back on!"

"Alright" = bad. "All right" = good.

13.) Re: the following:

"ON TURTLES as Leo, Don, Mikey and Raph all use their respective weapons to try and fight off the attacking teeth."

"Try and" = bad. "Try to" = good.

14.) Re: the following:

"ON BISHOP, randomly pressing buttons and futilely pulling the controls. The HoverCar’s Muzak continues."

Why is Bishop "randomly" pushing buttons? Doesn't he know what he's doing?

15.) Re: the following:

Not unless he scared of crashing HoverCars! We’re going down!"

I think that "he" should be "he's".

16.) Re: the following:

"EWS as the HoverCar, little more than a spec, dives straight down, leaving a thin trail of smoke.


WIDE on old and dilapidated buildings. Silence. Then, <CRASH!> The HoverCar smashes through the brick façade.

ON HOVERCAR as it skids along FDR Drive until finally crashing into an abandoned tenement."

How is it that the Hovercar is plummeting STRAIGHT DOWN and then is going SIDEWAYS?
And...isn't this 100 years in the future? Does New York City REALLY still have "abandoned tenements"?

17.) Re: the following:

"ON BISHOP, unfastening his seatbelt.

We’re still in Manhattan. If we-"

Huh? I don't get it. What is the significance of being "still in Manhattan"?

18.) Re: the following:

"LEO, RAPH AND MIKEY stand in the sewer. They are frozen in awe, their mouths agape at some unseen marvel."

I'm REALLY getting tired of the Turtles stopping and staring in this script. Given what they have experienced in their lives, I doubt that anything here would "awe" them, let alone FREEZE them in awe.

19.) Re: the following:

"WIDE/HIGH ANGLE ON TURTLES as they walk through the Concourse. Each cranes his neck, trying to take in the unbelievable sight. Glowing machinery pumps power and light through wires that crisscross the station.

It’s the old Penn Station!

It must have collapsed underground during the New York Earthquake of 2055."

Hmm... that must have been the earthquake where NOBODY NOTICED THAT THE OLD PENN STATION WENT MISSING!!! Come ON! 

20.) Re: the following:

"BISHOP is bound to one of the slabs with metal restraints.

Get me out of here!

The Turtles run INTO FRAME and try to pry him free.

Hurry up, before he comes back!

CLOSE ON LEONARDO as he pulls on the restraints."

Hmm... too bad Leo doesn't carry a powerful blade which can cut through almost anything, so he is reduced to trying to "pry" Bishop free. Oh, wait -- HE DOES!!!

21.) Re: the following:

Erg! Almost got it- Hey... What’s this?

LEO’S POV of the metal restraint. It’s engraved with “EPF”.

EPF? That’s the Earth Protection Force.

ON DON, MIKEY AND RAPH. Concerned, they no longer pry at Bishop’s bonds."

So let's recap -- Bishop has been kidnapped by a huge monster, taken underground, and strapped helplessly to a table in a weird laboratory. But when the Turtles see "EPF" on Bishop's restraints, they (a) immediately assume it stands for "Earth Protection Force", and (b) stop trying to free Bishop from the restraints. Am I the only one who thinks this scene is ridiculous?

22.) Re: the following:

We don’t time for this! You need to get me out of here!"

I think the word "have" is missing from between "don't" and "time".

23.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON RAPH, resolute.

Forget it! You want freedom? We want answers! What’s going on?!"

Maybe it's just me, but the idea that -- in these circumstances --  the Turtles would leave Bishop strapped to this table while they question him is simply inane.

24.) Re: the following:

We were under the threat of alien invasion. The Earth Protection Force was our only line of defense. We converted Penn Station into a massive genetic research lab.

ON BISHOP as he walks through the lab. His face distorts as he crosses the myriad of glass beakers and tubes in the foreground.

It was the perfect location. We’d be able to ship our “soldiers” to anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice."

How is old Penn Station the "perfect location" to "ship our “soldiers” to anywhere in the world"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it just a train station?
The further we get into this story, the more ridiculous this whole Penn Station thing becomes. I realize it's a cool visual, but it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

25.) Re: the following:

And so I disbanded the EPF, founded the Galactic Alliance and worked for peace."

I sense a lot of shorthand going on here. Could Bishop have disbanded the EPF? Did he have that authority? And even if he did, would he really disband it completely? I mean, just because ONE alien showed him mercy, does that mean that ALL aliens would do so, i.e. be "good guys"? And did he really found the Galactic Alliance all by himself? Here's a possible alternative:

And so I reconfigured the mission of the EPF, and began seeking out aliens races which could be allies... and that eventually led to the founding of the Galactic Alliance."

26.) As it has already been noted that the appearance of Baxter Stockman is inconsistent with existing continuity, I won't go into it.

27.) Re: the following:

Sorry, Doc. We can’t let you do that!"

I don't think Leo would refer to Stockman as "Doc".

28.) Re: the following:

I think I got it!"

I think Don would more likely say " I think I HAVE it!"

29.) As noted, the ending IS very abrupt, and if the point is to begin to rehabilitate Baxter Stockman, I think we need to have a more compelling argument than just saying "Bishop is a good guy now!" 

-- Pete


Subj: Re: 138 First draft
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 10:37:31 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 138 first draft.

1.) Re: the following:

Donnie jus’ hooked up my bike to dis VR simulator thingy."

Why is Raph sounding like a street thug? Please replace "jus'" with "just" and "dis" with "this".

2.) Re: the following:

"He <TAPS> Mikey lightly on the belly with one of his swords.  Mikey rises to his feet indignantly and sucks in his gut, <PATTING> it proudly.  
Whachoo talkin’ ‘bout?  This is one hundred percent muscle.
He <EXHALES>.  And his BELT <POPS> off.  He slumps back down to the couch defensively.
And CLEARLY they don’t make belts like they used to!"

Let's try to remember that Mikey's "gut" is actually a SHELL, and is not flexible as (mis)used here. And all in all, this is a silly, irrelevant bit that will not be missed.

3.) Re: the following:

"LEO - <SLASHES> at the Hover Tray, which <ZIPS> away as his  swords <SLICE> through the mount holding up Raph’s motorcycle, sending him <SPINNING OUT> in the middle of Cody’s Holo Data."

This seems pointless and also unrealistic -- Leo is such a poor swordsman that he makes this kind of lame, novice mistake? I think it would make more sense -- if the idea is to create chaos to annoy Cody -- if Leo might slice the hover tray in two pieces, which could then spaz out and collide with Cody's Holo Data.

4.) Re: the following:

"ON PIT AREA - Donatello emerges with the tricked-out Hovershell, covered in O’NEIL TECH LOGO RACING DECALS, with a huge funny car type ENGINE and enormous JET THRUSTERS sticking out."

Outside of the racing decals, I'm not sure I'm loving the description of the modified Hovershell here -- sounds pretty dopey-looking. I will reserve final comment until I see the drawings for this.
UNLESS... part of the competition is to make your vehicle also a rolling piece of artistic expression... and these extra things are extraneous stuff which add nothing to the actual FUNCTION of the Hovershell (and in fact could be ripped/torn/blasted away if needed, to add to the "car"nage. 

5.) Re: the following:

Sorry to disappoint you, Raph, but there won’t be any “between heats”.  With all the modifications I’ve put in, we should make around the entire Tri-State track in just a few hours."

This is a little confusing -- I think we need to clear up WHY there are no separate "heats" in this race. The fact that the Hovershell can cover the whole track in "just a few hours" is irrelevant, I think -- in racing (at least as I understand it), "heats" are part of the competitive structure of the event in question.
Perhaps a simple way to solve this small problem would be to tweak Don's lines as follows:

Sorry to disappoint you, Raph, but there won’t be any “between heats”.  The machines entered in this race are fast enough to make it around the entire Tri-State track in just a few hours."

6.) Re: the following:

Mind if I take a peak under the hood?"

I think he'd rather take a "peek".

7.) Re: the following:

"ON STARTING LINE – The vehicles all take off with a <ROAR>… except for the Hovershell, which <EXPLODES> and is hurled end over end just as they launch."

Just to be clear here -- the Hovershell itself doesn't actually explode, but the Concussion Grenade underneath it does.

8.) Re: the following:

Fasten your seatbelts and hold onto lunches, bros.  We’re gonna start this race with a bang!"

Don doesn't say "gonna".

9.) Re: the following:

Somebody juked our ride.  But who?"

"Juked"? Weird, obscure slang which doesn't even fit the situation -- I'd lose it and substitute something more common, not to mention something that Leo would be likely to say.

10.) Re: the following:

Just a minute!  A new entrant has taken the track.  But he… they… it… doesn’t appear to be a registered racing team.  
IN THE GRANDSTANDS – Cody scrambles toward a group of four (human and alien) TECHNO-INDUSTRIALISTS, each dressed with their company’s logo (which correspond with logos on the vehicles).  
We need to call off the race!  Now!
No.  There’s too much at stake here, Jones.  For ALL of our companies.   
You know the rules.  Anything goes.  Besides, this new racer can’t be that much of a threat."

"Anything goes" is obviously inaccurate -- if true, then the Turtles could be flying the Hovershell or cutting the course (as would their competitors), or doing other kinds of cheating. This should be changed to reflect the idea that although the organizers won't stop the race, they WILL disqualify this illegal entrant, regardless of how he finishes.

11.) Re: the following:

This stinks.  How we gonna stop Triple Threat if we can’t even start the engine?!"

Raph is no stranger to the use of slang, but there is no reason for him to say "How we gonna" when it's just marginally more difficult to say "How ARE we gonna", and thus not sound quite so dumb.

12.) Re: the following:

I can start it.  
Everyone turns to see… GODMAN FALCON, the kid racing fan from earlier.  He’s chewing a big wad of gum.    
But you have to promise to take me along on the race.    
DONATELLO – peers up from the engine.  It’s a mess.
Look, no offence, kid, but the power couplings are blown, the manifold is cracked, and the fusion engine is about to have a small meltdown.    
MICHELANGELO – steps out of the Hovershell and puts a fresh drink in the Hover Cupholder, which is still intact.  
But on the plus side, the cupholder is one hundred percent operational!
FALCON – whips out a ROLL OF DUCT TAPE and <RIPS> off a length.
Mind if I take a crack at it?
In a flash, he tapes up hoses and power couplings, then grabs the laser welder from Don, rapidly fusing some more loose parts together.  For the grand finale, Falcon takes the huge wad of gum from his mouth and sticks it somewhere deep in the engine. 
It ain’t pretty, but it’ll hold. 
DONATELLO – watches in shock as Leo flips the starter switch and the <ENGINE TURNS OVER>.  Falcon holds out his hand to shake Don’s hand as Raph and Mikey scramble inside the Hovershell."

I can see where it's a fun idea to show that this Godman Falcon kid has some clever ideas and knows a lot about racing, but this scene is just too freakin' over-the-top ridiculous.
And it's "offense", not "offence".

13.) Re: the following:

"The Serpent Speeder whips its “tail” around the track, preventing the Luxury Command Cruiser from passing."

Ridiculous. Pointless.

14.) Re: the following:

He already destroyed the refined sport of professional wrestling.  One can only imagine what he’ll do to racing!"

I think that to be consistent and correct, verb-tense-wise, it should read as follows:

He's already destroyed the refined sport of professional wrestling.  One can only imagine what he’ll do to racing!"

15.) Re: the following:

"TRIPLE THREAT – whips out a TINY ROBOT (about the size of an action figure) and tosses it onto the Luxury Command Cruiser."

If both vehicles are still moving, unless (a) the Triple Tank is AHEAD of the Luxury Command Cruiser, or (b) the little robot is self-propelled, or (c) Triple Threat is strong enough to throw the little robot with enough force to accelerate it to a speed GREATER than both vehicles, once tossed it will immediately start to fall back and MISS the Cruiser.

16.) Re: the following:

Thanks, bro.  I owe you one.
No, you owe me fifty.  Drop and give ‘em to me now!
Oh, man…
He drops and starts doing push-ups."


17.) Re: the following:

"RE-ESTABLISH – The Hovershell is on a collision course with a huge wall of flames.  
Don cuts the wheel hard.
This is not my idea of burning rubber!"

That's more of a Mike or Raph line, not a Don one.

18.) Re: the following:

"TRIPLE THREAT – hops back into the Triple Tank, watching as the Hovershell tries to escape the fire pit."

Wasn't the Triple Tank way the heck up the track, slamming into the Hovershell (along with the Command Cruiser)? How did it suddenly appear back on the track where Triple Threat got knocked off?

19.) Re: the following:

How da we get outta this charbroiler?"

Not "da. "Do". Jeez...

20.) Re: the following:

Don’t worry.  I know this course like the back of my hand.  Or like the holo map projected from the back of my hand."

Funny... but maybe JUST as funny (and less of a mouthful) if tweaked as follows:

Don’t worry.  I know this course like the holo map projected from the back of my hand."

21.) Re: the following:

I’m more concerned about my bros."

Don would say "brothers", not "bros".

22.) Re: the following:

"THE TURTLES – dig their weapons into the snow to prevent being dragged toward the tractor beam.  Falcon’s not so lucky.  He gets caught in the beam, which <WHOOSHES> him into the Triple Tank as it <ROARS> off.  

Maybe it's just me, but if I were sucked away by a three-headed psycho villain's tractor beam, I'd have a more emotional reaction than "Guys..."
And WHY do all four Turtles have to yell the same thing simultaneously? Silly.

23.) The ending of this episode needs work. First, I don't like the idea that Godman Falcon himself INVENTED Planet Racing, and not just because it runs counter to what we established in the PLANET RACERS graphic novels. That whole scene at the end with the Planet Racers and an adult Godman seems like "gilding the lilly". In my opinion, it's enough that we show a gleam in young Godman's eye when he looks at Raph's bike. (Maybe he could even say something like "These things (points at Hovershell, Triple Tank, etc.) are cool... but motocycles are where it's REALLY at!")
Also -- who the heck wins this race? Is everyone disqualified? Very confusing. It would seem that the Turtles/Hovershell can't win because they FLEW during that last part of the race.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Episode #143 Premise
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2005 8:49:20 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the Ep. 143 premise.

1.) Not much to say about this premise -- it's good, it seems to hold together pretty well.
One thing, though (or maybe two things) -- it seems a bit much that Don, in the short time he has, can "rig up" a "fake transmitter" that will fool Zixx. A few options:

-- While the other Turtles go off with Zixx to look for the matter transmitter and are subsequently knocked out by the neural scrambler, Don has hung back to work out more calculations about the "black matter" meteor, as he has suspicions about it (and Zixx's claims). This could give him enough time (maybe) to build a fake matter transmitter.

-- Instead of actually building a fake duplicate matter transmitter, Don could do a bit of sleight of hand with the crate that contains the matter transmitter (maybe even switch it with another crate), and Zixx only discovers when he delivers the crate to Big Red that the crate has been stuffed full of (insert funny thing here) to simulate the weight of the transmitter. D'oh!

-- Don could remove a key component of the transmitter and replace it with a similar but non-functional part -- again, something Zixx discovers only when he presents the transmitter to Big Red.

The other thing is that I think Don should be suspicious of Zixx's story about the "black matter" meteor from the beginning, starting with the fact that even though this thing is supposedly invisible to normal scans, Zixx -- and only Zixx -- has a holo-tape of it. And Don thinks that the idea that only this "experimental matter transmitter" can save the Earth is a little sketchy. And he also doesn't believe that Zixx -- even though he has clearly shown himself to be a rogue and a criminal -- would blithely NOT tell anyone about the imminent approach of this meteor, when, even if EVERYONE on Earth couldn't be saved, at least a LOT of people would be able to escape on the numerous spaceships and shuttles (and maybe even an Utrom Transmat or two).
And maybe Don has also noticed some inconsistencies in the holo-tape of the black matter meteor that Zixx has shown them.

-- Pete

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