Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blast from the Past #370: More notes from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series

This is from August 2003, and is my response to an email from Lloyd Goldfine. Actually, in looking back to make sure I wasn't repeating myself, I realized that this exchange actually occurred right before the one I used to begin this series of "behind the scenes" looks at the development of stories for the 4Kids TMNT series, in BftP #296. -- PL


From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine

Hey Pete -

Just got your note about being out of town. We're sending out scripts
and models and stuff, as well as still waiting on notes on the revised
outlines - will you be sending any more notes this week, or should we
just keep moving?

Lemme know.

Lloyd Goldfine


Tonight and tomorrow night, while I'm still in Maine, I will try to respond to whatever I am sent. Below are some comments on a few things.



Ep. 43 final draft/"Junklantis"

1.) Typo in this line:

Uhm … I think it just go creepier.

That "go" should be "got".

2.) In this line:

You’re a little short for Junk Trooper, aren’t you?

... I think there is an "a" missing between "for" and "Junk".


Outline Ep. 47/"April's Artifact"

1.) I don't get this bit:

While Leo uses his stinger swords to block and parry the Queen's deadly claws, Mikey taunts and at giant bug, goading her to fire her stinger.

Donatello: "Mikey, wait! Queens don't lose their stingers after they use them!"

Haven't the other hornets-things been firing multiple stingers at the Turtles for most of the episode? Why would Mike think the Queen would have only one, and why would Don think he thinks that?

2.) I still don't quite understand WHY it is necessary in this episode for the Turtles to not have their regular weapons. Is it so they all look kind of "primitive" like April in her "Sheen" garb?


Outline EP. 45/"Rogue In The House" Part 1

1.) I think this is a leftover, but I'll point it out anyway:

"Donatello theorizes that these automatons are receiving instruction from a remote. And, if something can receive, it can allow him to trace the signal. He hardwires into the heads of one of the destroyed automaton ninja and traces the signal that it starts picking up. "
In this scene only the Splinter robot is present, so there can't BE any other "destroyed automatons" there.

2.) Re: the following:

"Zog comes along. He thinks it’s all part of his mission. And, the turtles don’t tell him otherwise. He looks pretty useful to have around."
I think at this point Zog doesn't look like much of anything to the Turtles but DANGEROUS to whoever he runs into, and it might make more sense if the Turtles figure as long as he's with them -- and perceiving them as friends or allies -- he can't hurt anybody else. And, maybe, he could be useful as muscle... even though at this point, even though Zog SEEMS to be buying the "General Splinter" idea, the Turtles aren't 100% sure they can direct his actions with any predictable results. Zog IS the proverbial loose cannon.


Outline Ep. 46/"Rogue In The House" Part 2

1.) I'm not saying the following can't physically be done...

"But, ultimately, Karai gets the upper hand. She has blocked Leonardo’s double katana with her own and holding her own scissors-like, she pushes them towards Leonardo’s throat. "
... but it seems really unlikely. I'm trying to imagine how Karai can simultaneously be blocking both of Leo's swords with her two swords AND have hers poised "scissors-like" at Leo's throat, and no clear picture is emerging. Maybe another setup or move would be appropriate. Perhaps a "John Woo" style face-off where both Leo AND Karai have one sword at the other's throat, and they are both faced with the decision: What to do? (The whole exchange about "honor" between Leo and Karai would still work with this setup.)

2.) This episode could kick serious ass! I hope the Hun/Zog fight comes off as cool as I think it could. I even thought it might be interesting if one result of this fight is that Hun starts carrying around one broken-off Triceraton horn as a personal weapon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blast from the Past #369: More development notes from the 4Kids 2K3 TV series

Here's another bit of history from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series. This somewhat short email is one I sent to Lloyd Goldfine in January of 2004 -- on my birthday, no less -- about the initial premise for the episode about the monster on Wall Street (can't recall right now what the title for that episode was). -- PL


January 27, 2004
To: Lloyd Goldfine
From: Peter Laird


Comments on Ep. 66 premise:

Curiously, I don't really have many specific detail comments on this one, just some larger overall comments. It's funny to me that when I started reading the story, I began to think of changing it so that the creature had a long history of being in servitude to a long line of the same family -- and then that was what was in the premise!

I think that basically I like this one, but it needs some remolding. This has the promise to be a substantial tale, but only if we really transform it. One thing that I immediately latched onto was the mention in the early part of the premise that this building was on Wall Street, heart of the financial district. And it occurred to me that it might be cool if the monster wasn't necessarily in thrall to the family that keeps it, but that it could be more of a symbiotic relationship... that while the monster provides insights/knowledge/whatever to the members of this family, it feeds off the greed of the family -- greed that it promotes and enhances with its powers. (And isn't Wall Street -- rightly or wrongly -- seen by most people as the center of rapacious greed in this country?) It could be that the members of the family THINK that they have kept the monster captive, but it's really the other way around -- IT has enslaved THEM to feed its psychic hunger for greed over the centuries. (And we could have wicked fun with all of the evil things that this family did in pursuit of money, based on real events from history -- from selling smallpox-infected blankets to the Indians to covertly working with the Nazis during WWII, etc.)

I also think that while the idea of the latest (though not necessarily LAST) member of this family wants to end the perverse relationship with this monster, it would be cooler if he (or she) walls it up both physically and magically (with mystic symbols and the like) in an effort to deny it its sustenance (greed)... and this effort, while initially successful (begun a few years ago?) is thwarted or at least seriously set back by the damage from the Triceraton invasion which broke open its cage. And now it is sending its psychic feelers out, drawing to it those who can be enslaved to greed. (Maybe this is why the kids have been going into the building -- they hear its call.) I think it might work better to if the person the Turtles encounter who explains all this to them is not an old man (or woman) but a younger one.

While the Indian hatchet is a cool prop, I'm not loving the "poke the monster in the eye and it will be defeated" bit. I think instead we should think up a more clever way to defeat this thing. 

I think the whole "Turtles experience nightmares induced by monster" bit could very successfully be tweaked to reveal more of our characters' personalities/dreams without the cliched "vampiric April" and "monster Raph in mirror", etc. What I suggest is that the monster does in fact ensnare them, but instead of nightmares, it reaches into their minds and creates scenarios based on what they desire -- attacking them at their weakest. For example, Leo could dream of being a great warrior hero, lauded by the masses and set upon a throne, a Shogun. Mike could be seen with all of the snack foods and toys and STUFF that he could ever want in a giant mansion or estate (think Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch to the tenth power). Don's fantasy might be of having access to any kinds of technology or gadgets his heart desires. And so on. 

Now, they could struggle and eventually free themselves in a manner like what is in the premise, but I was thinking that it might be even more fun and cooler to bring Splinter into the scenario, and have the twist be that HE can defeat this monster because, as a master of Zen, he desires NOTHING ... and it drives the greed monster crazy.

I also wonder about bringing Angel back in this story, which doesn't really seem to have much to do with her or her brother -- they're just convenient props to get the story rolling. To my mind, it might work better if it were either April or Casey or both of them who bring the Turtles into the fray.

Also, I don't think this creature should be amorphous and bloblike -- it should have a really weird, Cthulhian-type anatomy.

-- Pete

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blast from the Past #367: pencil drawing for cover of Archie Comics' "TMNT Adventures" #41

This is interesting to me for the idea more than for the drawing. Where did I get the idea to have those two characters reflected in Leonardo's sword blades?

At this point in time, I can't recall. But it worked pretty well, even if logically and optically unrealistic. -- PL