Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blast from the Past #601: December 3, 2002: first drafts of episodes 22 and 23, December 5, 2002: Re: Hi Pete, and December 9, 2002: notes on episode 25, second draft

(Note: Disappointingly, some of the emails that I transferred over from my old computer seem to be fragmentary, typically having the end parts turned into some random gibberish. I am not sure why, and I am going to try -- when I find the time -- to boot up that old computer again and try to recover these emails in their full forms. I don't know if that is possible, but if I manage it, I will replace these incomplete versions with the complete texts from those emails. In the meantime, here are three partial emails from December of 2002 -- actually, they're the last ones I have for that year -- and even though they are incomplete, there is some interesting stuff iin them. -- PL 10-28-12)


Subj: first drafts of episodes 22 and 23
Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2002 9:22:05 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Wow! These are exciting! If we're able to get on screen what's here on the page, these will be two kick-butt episodes. I have no significant structural issues, only a few small things and several minor suggestions.


Episode 22:

1.) Pg. 6: Don see the Shredder clones and in answer to Leo's "What are these things?", he says "Genetically engineered hybrid clones, etc." As it has not been established that Don actually KNOWS that this is what these things are, I suggest changing his lines to "My guess would be genetically engineered hybrid clones, etc."

2.) Pg. 7: Gary also commented on the "super speed" issue. I know the writer is trying to say that the mini-Shredder clone is moving very fast, but "super speed" in comics (and I think in cartoons) means Superman or Flash-level speed -- the kind of speed which would allow you to move fast enough to blast around the world in a minute, for example. That's surely not what we're talking about here, so why don't we just use another phrase rather than "super speed"?
Also, why does mini-Shredder have pop-out claws? Seems odd, when none of the others do. It's not like he ordinarily has to HIDE them, like Wolverine does.

3.) Pg. 8: Don is described as having a "ShellCel cradled on his shoulder" while he fights the Four-Armed Shredder clone. This seems kind of silly (not to mention really difficult), and Gary made the point that Don may have lost his ShellCel earlier. Would it make more sense, if Don has to be in contact with April a lot, that he have some kind of hands-free headset connected to his ShellCell -- maybe even something clipped to his bandana?

4.) Pg. 11: On this page Mike gives a "Tarzan yell". Can we actually have him yell "Kreegah Bundolo"? That would be cool for all of us fans of the original Tarzan stories.

5.) Pg. 21: It occurred to me that in this setting with the five alcoves with the five Foot Mystic statues, there are also, coincidentally, five points in the classic mystic pentagram. Should we have a pentagram inscribed on the floor with each of it's five points corresponding to a statue's alcove? Or is that too "Satanic"?

6.) Pg. 28: Where Leo says "Trashed April's store?", I think it would read better and be more accurate if he said something like "Burned down April's building?"

7.) Pg. 30: I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me before, but -- how exactly is Leo carrying the Sword of Tengu on his back? Does it have its own power-resistant sheath? (I don't recall seeing it.) Would an ordinary sword sheath contain it without burning up or vibrating to pieces? Wouldn't the naked blade of the Sword of Tengu damage Leo's shell? Should we give Leo a Don-constructed techno-damping sheath for the Sword?
Also, when Raph says to Don "What, you didn't pack a compass in yer bag a' tricks?", I thought it would be fun to have Don stop and start digging in his bag, saying "Well, as a matter of fact..." -- and then Leo finds the elevator before Don can find his compass.

8.) Pg. 37: Shredder's line to Stockman "However, you now have a chance to correct that mistake" would read better as "However, you now have a chance to redeem yourself".


Episode 23:

1.) Pg. 3: Stockman's lines 11 and 12 seem kind of clunky.

2.) Pg. 6: After Shredder cracks Stockman's dome, and he says his line 21, I thought it might be cool to then show the crack filling in and disappearing, then Stockman smugly saying something like "Self-healing polymercrylic -- just one of thirty-nine patentable technologies I've developed using your resources!"

3.) Pg. 8: I would reword line 33 (Lead Guardian), which reads "One has to admire the tenacity and courage of the turtles. Truly, the turtles are ninja of the highest order.", to "One has to admire the tenacity and courage of the turtles. Truly, they are ninja of the highest order."
There seems to be an extraneous "and" in line 36 ("And, they've managed to infiltrate the Shredder's building...").
Also, I would suggest changing line 41 from "With respect, the Sword of Tengu could be the salvation of them." to "With respect, the Sword of Tengu could be their salvation."

4.) Pp. 21-22: Splinter gets a bit wordy on these two pages and I would suggest trimming his lines a little bit. For line 72 on page 21, I would say delete "And you... I have been grooming you to lead the others." -- it's obvious and sort of redundant given his next line of "Lead your brothers well."
There's an "alright" in Leo's line 75. Yuck!
On page 22, I would change Splinter's line 76 to just read "Fight well, my sons."

5.) Pg. 26: Shredder's line 98 could do without "I believe you've met my Elite Ninja!" (obvious) and be just fine as "Finish him!"
Also, while I won't make a big deal out of it, and I acknowledge it's a neat visual, I am curious to know if there is any logic to the Elite emerging out of the pond when the Shredder pushes a button. Weren't they part of the fight when the Turtles first got to the top floor (beginning on page 31 of episode 22)? How did they get into the pond, and why? Did they run from the fight? Doesn't seem likely. Or are they DIFFERENT Elite ninja (they don't SEEM to be, from their description)?

6.) Pg. 30: Another "alright" in line 108 -- AAAIIIEEE!!!

7.) Pg. 31: What exactly is the Guardian saying in line 112 -- "This one is taken care of you."?
Also, in line 114, "We Guardians will take care of this lot" seems odd -- I'd just have him say "We will take care of this lot."

8.) Pg. 33: Would it be better for the Lead Guardian to say, in line 118, "Saki has the sword" instead of "Shredder has the sword."?

9.) Pg. 36: I'd like to change Don's line 128, where he says "... should cook the insides of the entire building" to something like "... should fry everything electronic in the whole building".

10.) Pg. 38: I don't think the power surge should literally melt "all the vehicles" and "all the equipment" -- instead, we should see animated power surges coruscating all over these things, leaving them charred and smoking... the idea being that all of the electronics inside them have been destroyed, melted -- rendering them useless to the Shredder.

11.) Pg. 39: I still feel that there should be something, a crashed pod or whatever, near where Leo left Splinter, that would give the Turtles the idea that that might be what happened to him (something knocked him off the roof). Otherwise, his just mysteriously "disappearing" is too "soft" -- it makes it seem too likely that he has just been spirited away to some other location. In fact, it makes it seem like he must have been healthier and stronger than Leo thought he was, because the first and most obvious inference would be that he got up and walked away.


As you can tell, I'm very happy with the way these turned out and all of my comments are pretty minor, more detail tweaks than anything else.

-- Peter


Subj: Re: Hi Pete
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2002 11:45:41 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 12/5/02 9:15:03 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Soooo... I was unable to track you down today!  Hopefully we can talk
tomorrow.  I have a 12 noon meeting, so I may not get to call you until
1:30 ish, but I'll try you around then.

We sent out scripts for 24 and 25.  If you have notes tonight, we can
discuss those as well tomorrow.

Hope all is well.

Talk to ya soon.

Lloyd >>


Hopefully we'll connect on Friday. In the meantime, here are some comments:


Episode 23 profile, Episode 22 final draft, and Episode 24 second draft -- no comments! Woohoo!


Episode 25 first draft ("The Search for Splinter" part one):

1.) Pp. 3-4: I realize we had a Turtle riding a motorcycle on rooftops in the CGI clip we did last year,  but that was more for a "proof of concept" effect. It's REALLY unrealistic to have Raph jumping from rooftop to rooftop on the Shell Cycle (ESPECIALLY if what he is doing is trying to search for Splinter, and NOT trying to draw attention to himself) -- he should be riding it at street level.
If we need an aerial perspective, why not reintroduce the glider that Don used in that earlier episode, and maybe say something about how he's improved it since then? We could then do a cute gag (ripped off from the first SUPERMAN movie, I'll admit it!) where a bored kid is watching out of a window fifteen stories up as Don floats by -- Don could give the kid a thumbs up -- and the kid could run offscreen, excitedly telling his mother "Mom! I just saw a big turtle fly by my window!", and then we hear the mom yell something like "No TV for a week!" Or, the kid could just yell "Gamera!" as Don goes by.

2.) Pg. 5: Raph says "Man, doesn't anyone in this city take in their garbage?" That sounds odd to me -- why would anyone WANT to take in their garbage? I get from the context that he means the garbage CANS, but...

3.) Pg. 7: I think a word -- perhaps "have"? -- is missing from Leo's line "Raph, it looks like we might something to go on." Should it read "Raph, it looks like we might have something to go on."?

4.) Pg. 9: Lloyd, as you pointed out in one of our phone conversations, the Guardians wouldn't have thought the Shredder was dead because his head got cut off, as they know his true nature (Utrom in robot body). I think the same applies for the Utrom Council, so this exchange referring to the Shredder...

Council Member #2: "Could he still be alive?"

Guardian Dorn (Radio VO): "Possible. He has deceived us before."

... would seem to need reworking.

5.) Pg. 10: Leo says to the Guardian "Easy. We're not here to fight." And The Guardian replies "Anyone who lays a trap for me, can expect one!" This seems grammatically suspect. The "one" in the Guardian's line I think refers to a FIGHT, but the way it's written it actually sounds like he's referring to a TRAP. I think it sounds odd because in Leo's line "fight" is a verb and the Guardian is referring to "fight" as a noun. (Hey, I'm married to an ex-English teacher!) I think a simple solution might be to change Leo's line to "Easy. We're not here FOR A fight."

6.) Pg. 12: For the shots of the Turtles trying to track the Guardian, I would suggest letting Don once again use his glider.

7.) Pg. 13: Another grammar thing -- when Leo says "April -- suppose the trail went cold?", it read to me as if he's asking her "What would happen if the trail went cold?" which obviously makes no sense. I think we should just add "I" to the line so that the meaning is clearer -- "April -- I suppose the trail went cold?"

8.) Pg. 16: In reference to the TCRI building, Don says "The secret to our origin... lies within the walls of that building." Well, he doesn't actually KNOW that for a fact, right? There could be ANYTHING in that building. The letters of the name could be a coincidence. I think we should add "could" so the line reads "The secret to our origin... COULD lie within the walls of that building." Actually, isn't "within the walls of that building" a bit florid? How about just saying "within that building"?

9.) Pg. 18: Leo says "Master Splinter is in there.  Answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives are in there." Much like my previous comment, while WE know his surmise is right, LEO doesn't actually know these things. They MIGHT be true... they might NOT. They only know that the Guardian is probably in there, and the name of the company in that building has the initials TCRI. I suggest changing Leo's line to "Master Splinter -- and  answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives -- could be in there."

10.) Pg. 19, etc.: Are we sticking with the name "Mr. Smith"? Does anyone besides me like "Mr. Mortu"?

11.) Pg. 20, 22: Why does April suddenly seem to turn into a moron? This seems unnecessary, and this bit of forced humor on page 22...

I’m... Ap...
Don’t use your real name.
(making it up as she goes)
...a... Apollo Vander Pepper.  Dr. Vander Pepper.  A doctorate, not an MD, so don’t come to me with any backaches.

... didn't make me laugh.

12.) Pg. 30: Why does one of the Guards RIP a desk from the floor and toss it aside, just to reach Casey? I thought they were trying to PREVENT damage to their lobby, not cause it.

13.) Pg. 31: The "electrically charged" hologram is back! And doesn't Mike seem REALLY stupid to just blindly leap into (or at) a concealing hologram  without knowing what's behind it? I would suggest something else to get them to fall -- perhaps Mike doesn't perceive where the edge of the hologram is, and puts his suction cup over it, with the obvious result that he loses his grip.


The art for the Foot Genetics Lab, Four-Armed Shredder Clone (revised), Stockman in Exo-Suit, and the five Foot Mystic Ninjas all looks fine to me.



Subj: notes on episode 25, second draft
Date: Monday, December 9, 2002 8:59:17 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Episode 25, second draft: This one is nearly there! I have only a few comments:

1.) Pg. 12: Can we think up a cooler "Turtleistic" name for the "tracking bug" Mike plants on the Guardian? In the past (in the old animated series) these have been called TurteTrackers, I believe... which isn't a bad name. Others might be: ShellTracker, ShellSpy, TurtleBug, ShellBug.

2.) Pp. 12-14: The "tracking of the Guardian" scenes are a lot better than in the first draft. However, I still don't quite see why the Turtles aren't in the BattleShell with April, but instead are out on foot following her instructions. At first I was thinking "Well, it's because they want to be stealthier and not alert the Guardian to the fact that they're following him in the big noisy BattleShell..." -- until I realized that they don't ever actually get within visual range of the Guardian (and one would assume the opposite -- that the Guardian never sees them, either), so stealth is somewhat irrelevant. So... why walk when they can ride?

Also, why do they need April at all? Wouldn't it make more sense for Don to have a portable version of whatever gadget is inside the BattleShell which tracks the tracking bug? And if so, why not leave April out of this entirely? Don could also have the ShellCam in his goodie bag. The more i re-read this bit, April seems really superfluous.
I'd suggest reworking this sequence to take April out of it, and either have the Turtles by themselves on foot, or by themselves in the BattleShell.

3.) Pg. 19: The following line -- said by Leo about the TCRI building -- is still in the script:

Master Splinter is in there.  Answers we’ve been looking for our whole lives might be in there.

The second part of that line has been fixed, but the first is still wrong -- they DON'T know that Splinter is in the TCRI building -- they only know that the Guardian is PROBABLY there.

4.) Pg. 21: April STILL looks like a moron in this scene, "staring with mouth agape" as she "stares blankly" until she's "finally able to speak". I mean, what the Turtles are suggesting in this scene is NOT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!!! April is a smart lady -- I'm sure she "gets it" -- and if we want to suggest here that she doesn't want to do it, or thinks its a bad plan, we should find another way to say so.
Why not have her nod, murmur "Mm-hmm...", or "Riiigght..." as each of the Turtles glibly lays out his part the outrageous plan (basically humoring them), then end it with the following exchange:

It all rests on your shoulders, girl.  No pressure.

ANGLE ON APRIL – can't take it any more
Uh-huh, that's all good. Great plan. There’s just a teeny-tiny part of the plan missing: INVISIBILITY!  Because there’s a guard sitting right there!!

5.) Pg. 32: I hate to sound like a broken record, but the hologram is still "electrically charged". I really don't like this, and propose the following:

ANGLE ON THE INDICATED AREA – which looks like solid wall.  We hear O.S. <THUCK-THUCKS> as the Turtles scale around it – Mikey and Don below it, Leo and Raph on opposite sides.

There’s nothing here.

Hold on!
(leans closer)
Hear that?  Air’s coming out.
(extends had over it)
You can feel it, too.

CLOSER ON DON – also feeling the air.

Amazing.  Maybe it’s some kind of hologram.

Yeah, finally - a way in. All we gotta do is find out where the real wall ends and the hologram begins --

Mikey eagerly starts waving his hands around as he edges forward, feeling for the edge of the hologram and now only held on by the suction cups on his feet.

DONATELLO (concerned)
Mike, not so fast! Be careful --!

Suddenly Mike finds the edge -- as both his hands plunge INTO THE WALL, his forearms DISAPPEARING into the hologram. Startled, he pulls back (incomplete)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Doodle Day, November 11, 2012

I will be participating in "Doodles for Dollars" (aka "Doodle Day") at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA on November 11, 2012. It's a part of the Museum's tenth anniversary "Book Signing Bash", and will feature the man himself, Eric Carle, acclaimed illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi, and me doing quick sketches -- doodles -- to help raise money for the museum. I intend to do as many black and white TMNT head sketches as I can in the time allotted (I think it will go on for about an hour or so). Here's what it says on the Museum's website:

"10th Anniversary Book Signing Bash
November 11, 2012
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free with Museum Admission

The 10th Anniversary celebration continues with book signings from Iconic Images artists, special concert by the South Hadley Children’s Chorus, and “Doodles for Dollars” featuring Eric Carle, Tony DiTerlizzi, and Peter Laird ($10 per doodle.) Check back for more information about the specific schedule."

Should be fun! -- PL

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paint and Pixel Festival #2!

It's only five more days until the second annual "Paint and Pixel Festival" in Northampton, and this year I will be there as an invited guest (thanks, Peggy and Sean!). It's happening this Saturday, October 20,  from 11AM to 6PM, in Northampton, MA on the third floor of the Northampton Center for the Arts at 17 New South Street (across from the Academy of Music).

I probably won't be bringing any TMNT stuff with me, though I will be happy to autograph TMNT things, and may do some Turtle head sketches as well. I will be selling a portfolio of five 11 by 17 black and white prints, titled "Treefaces: Five Prints of Drawings of Trees With Faces". Here's a detail from one of them:

Check out the "Paint and Pixel Festival" website to learn more about this cool event! -- PL

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blast from the Past #600: November 27, 2002: Re: Update and stuff!, November 28, 2002: Re: Gobble Gobble!, and November 29, 2002: Re: Gobble Gobble!

Subj: Re: Update and stuff!
Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 9:37:39 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I will be home for Thanksgiving this week and should be able to continue reviewing and commenting on material. I am downloading the first draft of episode 24 as I type this and hope to read it tonight.

A few comments on recent artwork faxes:

Leo's room: No problem, looks good. Actually, just one thought -- would Leo have more weapons in his room, displayed on the walls?

Shredder "clones": Right now they look too normal, especially in the basic body and head proportions of four-armed Shredder and claw-arm Shredder -- they don't look weird enough! Looking back at the way they look in the comics, we drew them with subtle and not-so-subtle distortions in the proportions of both their bodies and their costumes. Look at the helmets -- we made a point of giving big four-armed Shredder a wide, squat helmet; claw-arm Shredder a long, thin helmet; and mini Shredder a bulbous helmet. Also, note the distortions of the blades on the armor and the three-pronged blade on the helmets. I think the key word here is "warped".



Subj: Re: Gobble Gobble!
Date: Thursday, November 28, 2002 11:47:43 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I just read the outline for episode 23 ("Return To New York" part 3), and if we can do all of it, it should be one kick-ass episode! I like most of it, and only have a few comments.

1.) Pg. 3: Stockman throws the Shredder and Hun around a bit too easily... especially when a few pages later the Shredder and Leo successfully go toe-to-toe with Stockman. I think showing the Shredder and maybe Hun getting in a few blows and maybe dodging a few of Stockman's before getting laid low here would give this scene a bit more verisimilitude.

Also -- weren't there Elite ninjas in this scene at the end of the last episode, or am I misremembering? In this outline they don't seem to appear until page 11.

2.) Pg. 8: I think it's a mistake to make it appear here that Splinter is in imminent danger of dying if he doesn't get medical help. (Specifically, as one example, Splinter doesn't need to say "I am finished.") For one thing, I don't think Leo would leave him in that state and return to the battle. Also, it makes the disappearance of Splinter later have less weight -- if we the viewers believe Splinter's about to die, then it really doesn't matter as much that we later find him missing. We should make the viewer believe that if the Turtles can only win this battle, then they will be able to return to Splinter and take him away so he can be healed... then pull the rug out from under them when Splinter disappears.

3.) Pg. 12: DO we need equal numbers of Guardians as Foot ninja? Or should there be fewer, implying that the Guardians are actually superior fighters?

4.) Pg. 13: The Sword of Tengu suddenly becomes a laser, a tractor beam -- a "light flail"? I think this is a bit much, and it causes an even greater strain on credulity a page later (14) when Leo is using his ordinary steel swords to hold back the Sword of Tengu. Some adjustment is needed here, I think. We have to be careful that we don't establish such powers for the sword that it can do anything.

5.) Pg. 16: I think it would be more dramatic and poignant if when the Turtles go to look for Splinter, there is something (like a crashed pod in exactly the same place Leo left Splinter) that would lead the Turtles to think that Splinter got blown off the edge of the building. Then later, when they can't locate his body anywhere on the ground, hope rises that Splinter may still be alive -- and they then set out to find him.

6.) Pg. 17: When the headless Shredder picks up his head/helmet, I think we should be careful not to show any robot/mechanical stuff where the head has been severed from the shoulders, so as to keep the mystery going. As it stands right now, that's a pretty creepy and mysterious scene!


Here are some comments on Show #24 "Lone Raph and Cub" first draft:

1.) Pg. 17: I would suggest changing Raph's lines "I got somebody who's in trouble too. Kinda like a dad, I guess." to something like "I got a... parent who's in trouble, too."

2.) Pg. 28: At the top of the page, the phrase "... her back inside!" is said twice in two lines by different characters.

I'm still not 100% comfortable with Raph's helplessness while blinded. I would like to emphasize what is briefly touched on -- that in addition to being blinded, Raph has a ringing in his ears, which, while not deafening him, is definitely screwing up the acuity of his hearing.

Also, how old is this kid? For some reason the age of five years is in my head. Did we discuss this? If he is supposed to be five, he sounds a bit older than that as written. His reaction to Raph also seems a bit blase. Even if he's a tough kid, I would think meeting a big talking mutant warrior turtle would have more effect.



Subj: Re: Gobble Gobble!
Date: Friday, November 29, 2002 11:07:02 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I understand the concern about blowing up the Shredder's building -- or any big skyscraper -- in this somewhat hypersensitive post 9/11 period, but as you point out, the building is not being blown up but rather all of its electrical/electronic systems are being shorted/burned out during the battle.  

However, I must say that when I was reading that outline for the first time, I was actually starting to worry -- due to all the fires/explosions/etc., plus the fact that at one point on page 15 there's a line "It's time to destroy the building and go home" -- that somebody had forgotten that the Shredder's building was supposed to be still standing in one of the later episodes (when the Turtles use a fake Shredder to lure a Guardian out into the open)! Only when I got to the very end (literally the last page) did I realize that it was going to be left standing. 

Perhaps we can do something in the script to indicate explicitly that when Don gets the idea to use Stockman's "radium power cell" and the Sword of Tengu together to accomplish something, that something is NOT the leveling/reduction to rubble of the building, but instead the destruction of the Shredder's electronic infrastructure. It might not even hurt to have some clarifying dialogue where Don makes his suggestion, Leo responds with concern about causing the building to collapse, and Don reassures him that it won't.

-- Peter

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blast from the Past #599: November 18, 2002: Re: Howdy, November 24, 2002: Re: TMNT 022 - Outline first draft and premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt.2", and November 25, 2002: Show #20 Final Draft and Show #21 First Draft


Subj: Re: Howdy
Date: Monday, November 18, 2002 9:45:50 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 11/18/02 2:29:34 AM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi all -

Here's a revised premise for 24 and a revised outline for show 25.  I'd
love notes asap so we can keep this puppy moving!  hope you all had a
nice weekend!


Lloyd >>


Here are some comments:

Show 25 Outline "The Search For Splinter"

1.) Pg. 2: The bit with the Guardian bothers me. I assume he or some other Guardian(s) saved Splinter. Why is he so averse to telling the Turtles about this? What's this "code of secrecy" thing? In fact, if he IS so averse to letting the Turtles know what Splinter's whereabouts are, why does he say ANYTHING? He obviously doesn't HAVE to. (Saying to the Turtles "Your Master is alive... but his injuries are grievous" implies pretty clearly that the Guardian knows where Splinter is... very provocative to the stressed-out Turtles.) Why doesn't he just disappear in the cloud from his smoke grenade without responding to the Turtles' questions?

Also, the TCRI building is described as being "several blocks" big. Doesn't this seem a bit TOO large?

2.) Pg. 4-5: I appreciate the fact that the pigeon handpuppet bit is in there, but I really don't like the way it's been changed (for no apparent reason, as far as I can see). Why end act 3 with the Turtles landing in full view of the surveillance camera (and could the bit with Raph yelling to Casey over his communicator to ".. keep those guards from lookin' at those monitors!" BE any clunkier?), when it would be much more dramatic to end Act 3 with the tightrope's knot unraveling and the Turtles (apparently) plunging from it earthward? 
      Then Act 4 could start by showing them clinging to, then climbing up, the rope as it dangles from the rooftop edge of the TCRI building. Don could then do his thing with the pigeon puppet and instant camera (WITHOUT Leo's help and without a digital camera and computer -- pointless changes, in my opinion) as the others huddle behind him at the edge of the building.

3.) Pg. 6: I don't see any logical reason why Don would think that the hologram covering the vent would be "electrically charged" (!). He should just tell Mikey to be careful.


Show 24 Outline "Lone Raph and Cub"

This one is a little better, but I have to say I'm at this point still underwhelmed by it. 

1.) Pg. 1: Is there any particular reason that the kid (Tochi) has to be Japanese (at least I'm assuming that with the name Tochi he is Japanese)? I don't think we have to be that literal in trying to make the Raph/Toshi situation analogous to "Lone Wolf and Cub".

2.) Pg. 2: Perhaps it's because I just did a bit with the Turtles in the most recent issue of the comic book where they are able to fight even while blinded because of their ninja training -- but the thing with Raph losing his sight and suddenly being totally helpless struck me as wrong. Unfortunately, the story (at least as written so far) pretty much falls apart if Raph doesn't need the kid to help him get around... so... what if we set up in the beginning of this episode that Raph isn't really good at fighting in the dark? 
     We could do this by having Leo organizing a "training in the dark" session in the lair to keep them occupied while they wait for night to fall so they can go out and look for Splinter. Then Raph can get frustrated and blow up, and Leo can get pissed at him and say something about Raph really needing this type of training, as he's the worst of them at it. 

2.) Pg. 3: This next bit confused me:

     "Weasel orders the thugs to attack en masse!

     In the confusion, Raph realizes his vision is beginning to clear.  He lets Toshi rescue his mom, (Raph remaining carefully in the shadows: a big green Turtle might not be the best thing for her state of mind!)  He lets Toshi lead her out while he runs interference.  Raph takes a satisfying moment to bash Weasel on the way out.  Toshi and his mom run out and disappear into the alleys, Raph climbing to the rooftops above to watch over them."

I don't get how Raph is able to fight the thugs who are attacking "en masse" (I am ASSUMING he fights them -- it isn't clearly stated here) while at the same time staying in the shadows so the kid's mom doesn't see him. Hey -- maybe the kid's Mom is blind! Then Raph's appearance wouldn't be such as issue.


Show 20 "The Monster Hunter"

I hate to say it, but this one is still a mess -- perhaps even more so than it was last time. I think there's a good concept here, but it just doesn't come together. In this draft, the character if Steve does nothing for the story -- if you took him out you'd never miss him. And the whole Raph/Leo/swordmaking bit in sorely underrealized. 

1.) Pg. 4: What is up with this fixation on having April try to whack Casey in the head with the mop? Am I the only one who sees this as psycho bitch behavior on her part in this context? What's next -- if April accidentally knocks over a tray of motorcycle parts into the dirt as Casey is tuning up his bike, can he throw a wrench at her? If we really need her to react in visual exasperation, have her throw the mop TO him (as she does to Don). We can then EASILY lose the little bit with Don, the mop and Raph ("You doing the cleaning now, Donny"?) which is sort of pointless and goes nowhere anyway.

2.) Pg. 5: Raph's line "Man, he’d better get together soon or we’re going to be stuck here forever." might read better if we added "it" so that it reads "Man, he’d better get it together soon or we’re going to be stuck here forever."

3.) Pg. 14: The word "ruthless" implies intent -- therefore I think it's wrong for Dr. Finn to apply it to the Sortis, which are just robot  vehicles. I would suggest changing her line "They’re beautiful and ruthless, rather like myself" to "They’re beautiful and dangerous, rather like myself."

I find these ATV-based Sortis much less interesting than the flying ones in the previous iteration... and the idea that they would find, ensnare and then DRAG (!) their prey back to the Doctor's truck really pretty silly.

4.) Pg. 21: I found this bit:

Mikey, rupture the gas tank!

ON – MICHELANGELO brings his fist down hard on the gas tank of the ATV/Sorti and the fluid starts to SPILL "

     ... REALLY ridiculous. Also, two lines later Leonardo (?!) grabs a stick. I think that's a typo and it's supposed to be Don.

5.) Pg. 28: Mike says "I used to come swimming in this pond all the time …" Isn't this a bit of hyperbole? Makes it sound like this is the Turtles' summer home.

Also, shortly thereafter "you're" is misspelled "your" in Mike's line "Your one to talk, Mr. Universe."

6.) Pg. 34: An example of silly inconsistency on this page -- Mike's kick won't even budge Steve, but a whack of his 'chuks sends Steve flying.


Also, I got the color art for the three stages of Nano -- which are fine, but I wonder if it would be a good idea to have some kind of glowing light/eye thing which would be the same on all three versions to serve as a visual connecting thread. Just a thought.



Subj: Re: TMNT 022 - Outline first draft and premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt.2"
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2002 8:25:31 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are some comments:


TMNT 022 - Outline first draft:

1.) Pg. 2: Why are there four "Misshapen Shredder Clones" as opposed to the three there were in the comics? Not that we HAVE to have three, but there seems no real point to adding one.

Also, the bit where April can't help the Turtles find their way upwards because they're "... on a floor with no plans or schematics", and they then climb up through the holes punched by the pod in the previous episodes doesn't work for me at all, not least because (a) the pod bit in the last episode is lame slapstick and I think we should lose it, (b) April's ability or inability to help the Turtles via her remote computer link in VERY inconsistent and seems to come and go according to no logical rhyme or reason, and (c) WHY would the Shredder and the Foot have building plans which didn't include this particular floor (apparently from what transpires here there is nothing particularly special about this floor) AND why wouldn't they just have stairs? How do the Shredder and the Foot get from this floor to the next?

Now, if the idea here is to add some mystery to the building's interior, I think a much better and more sensible way to do this bit would be for April to see the floor where the MYSTICS are located displayed oddly on her computer screen -- perhaps there's no floor number, and maybe only stairs up and down indicated (no details of rooms, corridors, etc.).

2.) Pg. 3: With several Foot ninja, Hun arrives on the 34th floor and is "stunned" to see the Turtles alive. If I'm remembering correctly, he has to have come UP from the lower levels, essentially following the Turtles and at least seeing the results of their passing. I doubt he'd be "stunned". Who else does he think is attacking?

3.) Pg. 4: I'm confused by this line -- "The gap is too wide to jump.  They have to climb across using their ninja climbing talons." What, exactly, are they supposedsupposed to climb ON? I don't get it.

In any event, having April reset this trap seems redundant. Once tripped, would this floor trap remain open until manually reset? I think it would more logically reset itself.

Also, this trap supposedly opens up onto a "virtually bottomless shaft" -- haven't we seen this shortly before? How about flame jets or freezing liquid nitrogen or flesh-eating insects or acid or grinding cutting wheels or a slicing laser grid or something other than just a big hole?

4.) Pp. 7-9: The inclusion of the Foot Mystics is a good idea, but the design of the chamber in which they battle Splinter is uninspired and not nearly creepy enough. Also, what's this with FIVE elements, one of them being METAL (?!)? Is this some Asian mythology I'm not familiar with? If I remember correctly, there are FOUR classical "elements" -- earth, air, fire and water.
Also, is there a particular reason why Splinter doesn't use the special glove to handle the Sword of Tengu and thus ends up with burned hands? Seems kind of stupid of him.

And a question -- is the Sword of Tengu a mystical artifact, a technological artifact, or both? From our exposure to it in previous episodes, I had been thinking it was a technological artifact, but its effectiveness against these Foot Mystics makes me wonder. If it IS a combination of science and sorcery, perhaps we should have Splinter making some kinds of ninja mystic moves or gestures which would indicate that he is using the sword as something more than just a mere blaster.

Also, as pithy and seemingly appropriate as Splinter's "battle speak" is ("Water quenches fire!", etc.), are we skirting too close to the words of the old kid's game of rock/paper/scissors, and by so doing, making Splinter's battle seem too silly?

5.) Pg. 10: I agree with Gary that having Hun call the Shredder "Boss" is way too much like the old show.

6.) Pg. 11: I also agree with Gary that there seems like there are too many of the Shredder's Elite -- these guys should be few and far between.

7.) Pg. 12: And once more I agree with Gary that Hun's "Nice suit" line is lame.


Premise for episode 026 "Search for Splinter - Pt. 2"

1.) Pg. 1: There are MAJOR consistency problems with the battle between the guards and Casey. If, as written, the guards are "displaying amazing feats of strength and agility, including breaking his baseball bat in half, and sending it flying from his hands" -- and these are supposedly Utroms in their metal humanoid exoskeletons, which you would reasonably think are quite a bit stronger than the average human -- how is it Casey is able to defeat them all, and not only that, but by KNOCKING THEM UNCONSCIOUS??!! How do you knock an Utrom in a protective metal exoskeleton unconscious?

2.) Pg 2: When Don and Mikey are in the elevator car with the two TCRI security guards, it might be fun to have the two guards engaging in idle chit chat (I'd suggest a line like in the scene in issue #3 of the original comics where one of the TCRI guys says "I must get out of this suit -- it's killing me.").

The multidirectional zigzagging of the elevator seems a bit much.

3.) Pg 3: Mike and Don observe as "A slimy, gumdrop-shaped alien (the Utrom) leaps from the stomach cavity." Do we really want the Utroms to be "leaping"? It might behoove us to think a bit about how the Utroms actually get in and out of their exoskeletons. I always had in the back of my mind that they sit inside the exoskeleton on a platform which can be commanded to extend outward, at which point the Utrom could crawl off it or actually use the exoskeleton's arms and hands to pick itself up and place it somewhere.

I think this important "reveal" could be done much better. Here's a suggestion: One of the guards with some apparent facial damage from the battle with Casey PEELS OFF his face to reveal to a freaked-out Don and Mikey his robotic-looking exoskeleton's face. Mikey could whisper to Don something like "Whoa -- can this get any weirder?!" -- at which point the guard continues to "undress" and we see the Utrom in its belly cavity!

I don't think we should have Splinter "slowly look over at the Turtles with a drugged, helpless expression." I'd prefer we do it as in the comics, where he appears dead (motionless inside a clear tube filled with liquid) -- prompting an emotional outburst from Raph -- but Don surmises from what he can tell of the machines surrounding him that Splinter is actually in some kind of suspended animation.

5.) Pg. 4: Instead of this as the ending: "Mr. Smith looks distressed at what’s happened.  And as we see Splinter’s nearly vacant stare registering this from inside the fluid-filled tank, we... END SEASON ONE" which seems very flat, I think we should end on an image of the Turtles seemingly disintegrating (though we know -- and will see in the next season opener -- that they are just being beamed into space).

Also, I think we should stick with the original comic's action of the activation of the Utrom's transmat being an accident (as written here it seems either purposeful -- i.e. the Utroms are activating the transmat to send the turtles somewhere -- or kind of silly, as in just standing on the transmat platform will activate it -- which doesn't make sense to me), as well as having this action of the fight in and around the transmat machinery damage the transmat in some way (which would figure into the action when the Turtles return next season). Also, I really want the basic design of the transmat machinery to be as close as possible to the design in the comics.


Technical note: While it probably wouldn't be a problem if I were at Mirage and using the fast internet connection, downloading the last three pieces of color art (Second Time Around exterior and interior, and April's apartment) at home with my 56K connection it is a pain, not least because the files are WAY bigger than they need to be -- especially annoying as a lot of that size relates to HUGE areas of irrelevant white space around the actual images. By the way, all of those images look fine.



Subj: Show #20 Final Draft and Show #21 First Draft
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002 9:51:44 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Henceforth my comments!


Show #20 / "The Monster Hunter" 

This one is much improved from previous drafts, and I only have a few detail points. I will say though that I think there's a much better story lurking in the "Monster Hunter" concept, and I'm kind of disappointed that this episode feels just adequate.

1.) Pg. 4: I think Splinter means to say "explicit" rather than "implicit" instructions.

2.) Pg. 7: I thought it might be cooler if, after Casey and Mike turn to see Dr. Finn's vehicle coming, Casey looks back -- and Mike is gone (ninja style!).

3.) Pg. 8: I'd dig it if when Dr. Finn is introducing herself to her cable channel audience in this scene, she also says something like "we're here in Western Massachusetts..." or "we're here in Northampton, Massachusetts..."

4.) Pp. 19-20: A couple of things about the liquid nitrogen trap scene: First, on page 19 when Don says "It's liquid nitrogen! Instant deep freeze...", I thought it might enhance Don's science geek quotient a bit if he throws in something about exactly HOW cold it is -- which I just learned via a quick search of the Internet -- so his bit might go like this: "It's liquid nitrogen! 77 degrees Kelvin -- and that means instant deep freeze..." Also, I learned something interesting in one of the hits I got in my search, as follows:

"Liquid nitrogen is a dangerous material. The following is an excerpt from the Air Products Nitrogen Material Safety Data Sheet: A back of the envelope calculation indicates that the entire contents of a 10 Liter dewar being spilled in an unventilated 274 square foot room with an 8 foot ceiling would reduce oxygen levels below the 19.5% level where Air Products recommends the use of a respirator. Since most classrooms are larger than this, suffocation does not represent a major danger. When transporting the liquid in a car, however, it is probably a good idea to open a window."

I never knew that! But Don probably would -- and he should say it or he and Mike should show that effect on their breathing, as a way of ramping up the danger. Maybe even a line from Mike like "Great! So if we don't freeze solid first, we suffocate?!" Actually, it just occurred to me that this bit of real science kind of emphasizes how whacked-out Dr. Finn is -- she should know this about the liquid nitrogen, and if so that speaks volumes about the level of her concern for the "monsters" she traps.

Also, I still don't really buy the logic of freezing the lock on the inside of the chamber with the blast of liquid nitrogen, and while I'm not going to obsess about it, I would prefer it if we used the gag I suggested before of Don taking Mike's soft drink or water and using the freezing/expansion of the liquid to break apart the lock.

5.) Pg. 22: Mike says a couple of things on this page that don't make any sense to me. In these lines:

"Hey!  That’s it!  Little Miss Monster Hunter is still out there, right?"

What does his "That's it!" refer to?

And in this line:

"Look… what I’m sayin’ is… she wants green men?  We’ll give her some! Serious butt-kicking ninja green men!"

Why is Mike saying this? Why does he suddenly want to expose himself and his brothers to the Monster Hunter?

6.) Pg. 29: I think it would be cool -- and in character -- if when the boys encounter the real "Green Man", Don -- after his initial startlement -- gets excited and rattles off a bit of scientific speculation, like "Amazing! It could be related to the extinct Eremotherium, the giant ground sloth... look at the coloration -- an evolutionary survival adaptation? I wonder if it changes color with the seasons..." Of course, Mike and Casey roll their eyes, snore, etc..


Show #21 / "Return To New York -- Part One"

Not much to say about this one! It is also much improved.

1.) Pg. 32: As we talked about on the phone tonight, the bit with the hover-glider crashing through all of the floors in the building will be taken out.

2.) Pg. 37: Also as we discussed on the phone, we will be using the three Shredder "clones" and not the genetic mutants described here.