Okay, I finally got to finish my write-up for the event. For more details, scroll down past the Palm trees and the fountain. 🙂
As Stephan stated, it was a very exciting couple of days for the few of us that were selected for the event. This was very special for me, because it was my first time ever going west of Pennsylvania. Plus I was meeting some long-time internet friends for the first time ever. So there’s a lot of good memories to go along with the event.
The entire process of GETTING to California itself was an adventure. My day had started at 1am of the 29th, on a bus headed to Logan Airport. After a 6 hour flight, I found out (the hard way) that the transportation didn’t have the correct time or place that I had to be picked up at. Fortunately, one of their drivers was in the parking building next door. So he came and got me, and in our conversation, I told him I’d never been out west before. So he gave me a guided tour from LA to Burbank – what a huge city. Overwhelming compared to Boston. But he pointed out all these great buildings, and parts of the highway where movie scenes took place. He was such a pleasant guy, and the bonus LA tour was just icing on the giant cake that this trip was…
The hotel… plush. Beautiful. Decorated with ‘scenery’ photos composed of naked body parts. I kid you not… This was also when we received the special boxes that Stephan posted. Shirt, water, some snack called ‘Pirate Booty’, weird green twizzlers… ‘other’ things… fun stuff.
A bunch of us met up the night before in the hotel, and talked about all SORTS of stuff. It was a clear, cool night, and the view from the patio went for Miles. It was such a great time meeting people for the first time. A few of us got some food and hung out on the rooftop patio. The view of the sunset and the city was really amazing… The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and piled into the escort vehicle. There, more of us got together and did introductions. Then we shipped off to the studio…
Inside of the courtyard was very nice. There was a lot of growth on the walls, and the palm trees in the walkway created a beautiful canopy overhead for shade. I especially liked the fountain in the center. We had breakfast, where we all continued introductions, and then everyone piled inside. Stephan also introduced me to Ken Mitchroney (Archie TMNT artist), who was stopping in before working on a recording of FanBoy and Chum Chum. What a character… 🙂
We were then taken to a large decorated conference room where we introduced ourselves and were introduced to the Nickelodeon Executive Team.
Next we took a guided tour of the entire studio. The design of the building is really neat – there’s a ton of skylights so everyone can work in natural light. You have your usual nick-style blobs everywhere, and in a lot of places we saw little groups of people working on different shows. The thing I liked most was the hallway of Original artwork by the in-house artists – still life, portraits, cartoonish stuff… It was an artistic valhalla. If you worked on certain shows, the area you worked in was decorated to match. Ambience really makes the difference..
We then returned to the conference room where we screened an animatic of a pilot episode (essentially storyboards with voiceovers). They also showed other pictures and such of the characters and the overall look of the show. Very exciting times…
Okay, now that we can talk about those details…
My inner artist has been DYING for this…
Turtles: The boys actually have just about the same color differences from the 2K3 show. The height differences amongst the boys is pretty subtle. Don is slightly taller, but he’s not asking ‘how’s the weather down there’ to his brothers. Leo and Raph are about the same size… Mike’s a lil shorter – he’s also got some faint freckles on his cheeks, which made me think of Dennis the Menace. 🙂
Personality-wise, they were all good. I just hope they don’t turn Mike into a pop-culture referencing dope like Fast Forward and Back to the Sewers….
The bandages are a little of a turn-off. I would think for simplicity’s sake, they could do without the wrappings.
Splinter: Oh man… I could go on for DAYS. The initial picture I saw was pretty striking. Dark features, much more rat-like than I’ve seen before. It turns out he’s going to be of the Man-turned-Rat origins a la Archie – plus there was a small hint of him having a daughter. My immediate thought at the event was, “Hey, what if Karai is his daughter?” The voice actor they used for him was SPOT-ON. He could read a phonebook and make it interesting.. :tlove:
April: Okay, teenage ‘rebel’… she looked about 13, which is roughly similar to the boys. Black pants, yellow shirt, hair pulled back. The puppy-crush Don has on her is…. treading dangerously into ‘fannon’. I’d thought that if they’d made her maybe a high schooler who was a writer for the school paper, it would be a little more true to the character. She learns something she shouldn’t, gets in hot water, the boys go after her, you know the drill… It’ll have to depend on how they write her story…
The Kraang: I was surprised to see Krang as an actual species – he’s very nasty looking, which is cool. Evil brain thing with multiple squid-like tentacles. The use of the suits to withstand the environment was clever… My theory is that this race of Kraang might be evil, but there could also be a rebel group. Or it could be the other way around. The Kraang are good, with a couple bad apples.
Baxter Stockman: Visually, he definitely rang of the Original Mirage Stockman. We WILL also see the mousers coming out of the metalwork. 😀
Shredder: Honestly, I don’t remember an image, BUT… from the action figure I saw of him, he’s going to make Movie one Shredder look like Old Toon Shredder.
I enjoyed the animatic – sketchy, half-animated storyboards to give us some idea of how the characters will work. The background on the surface Definitely reminded me of the gritty Mirage alleys. As for the characters, there was some definite influence from Teen Titans – some body language, facial expressions, those lil anime splortches that appear near the forehead. Those lil things I didn’t like, but overall I loved the ep we saw. Splinter is very much a father figure in this, and we also get a little more martial art visuals and such in this compared to the other series.
Turtle Van –> Rail Car: I haven’t seen anything mentioned about this yet. Apparently, there’s an old railcar that Don will be working on over a LOOONG period of time to turn into some ultimate transportation down underground – but it will also have wheels that come out so that they can go to the surface. I wasn’t too keen on it, personally… Talk about an eyesore.
Playmates made a presentation about their new toyline and showed a large cross section of the first wave of figures, vehicles, and playsets. I’m not big into the collecting aspect of the fandom, but it was still neat to see what they have planned. The playset they’d created alone was Massive – maybe 4 foot tall?
-After the toy presentation we returned to our seats and observed a live reading of part of a script; meaning the voice actors were in the room with us, reading from scripts. This included the voice talents of Rob Paulsen and Jason Biggs. This was hands-down the best thing of the event. During the Lunch/Social Hour, I was introduced to Jason Biggs and Rob Paulsen – they were both so wonderful to speak with, absolute pleasures to meet.
-Lunch/Social Hour – Pizza, what else would you expect? 😉
-We were broken up into small groups to discuss our feelings and opinions about everything we had seen today (this was the focus group portion of the event) We then ended the day with a Q&A session with the writing and production team.
The day ended with everyone sharing their personal information and having long goodbyes. We all got posters, as well as a pizza slice ‘pouch’ that held the USB Drive (which I’ll be using for my TMNT Stuff from now on.. ) We had a nice group picture, and then everyone was sent off to their respective airports.
I’m very excited about this whole thing. Yeah, there’s stuff that might have to be tweaked, but things are looking pretty good… I do hope we’ll get some of the pictures that the photographer was taking of the event. Especially the group pic… 🙂