Good Evening Mr. Bay,
I want to open this letter with an acknowledgment. If in fact the news that has been reported today is part of an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank, congratulations. You got us. When we heard the news about the reboot for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you convinced the world that you had truly gone mad. You pulled a prank better than Ashton Kutcher ever did. Seriously. This was even better than that time Ashton punk’d Justin Timberlake. Remember that? Justin was stoned, and crying, and couldn’t believe what was going on. He felt helpless, embarrassed, and utterly powerless to stop what was happening. This news is that times 10 million fans. Give yourself a pat on the back, and I will buy 2 tickets to your next release in respect.
Today, my inner child received its first swirly/atomic wedgie/indian sunburn since it was in fact my OUTER child. Well, that’s not true. I never got a swirly, nor an atomic wedgie. I did get some indian sunburns, but that was more of a macho thing where my friends and I would see how long we could stand it before pulling away and crying ‘Uncle’. But I digress…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a beloved part of my childhood. I don’t remember much of those days, but many memories I do retain revolve around saturday mornings parked in front of the TV and watching TMNT cartoons. My favorite was Raphael. He was badass, a loner, and always getting into trouble. Basically, he was everything I wasn’t. My brother and I would have endless arguments over who was the best turtle. His favorite, you see, was Michelangelo (I’m sure not at all influenced by the fact that my brother is named Mike). But I was smart enough to recognize that Mikey was the butt of the joke in TMNT. He was the goofball. The comedic relief. The C3PO (Don was just lame. He wasn’t anyone’s favorite, but he was necessary, as they needed someone to invent all those cool gadgets we begged our parents to buy).
I can tell you to this day the exact moment that I realized Raphael was the best. It was the movie. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LIVE ACTION MOVIE! It was an event in my day. All of my friends saw it. We saw it many many many times. We saw it so many times we wore out the vhs tape and had to get a second copy. I could only tell you fleeting moments and plot details, but this moment stands out like no other.
This moment was the “Damn” heard ‘round the world. This was a character that SWORE. As a young child, this was a BIG deal. This was the moment that Raphael became the coolest character of my childhood. Cooler than Liono from Thundercats. Cooler than He-Man in He-Man. Yes, even cooler than Wolverine in X-Men. Raphael wasn’t afraid to tell it how it was, or do what was right. He would be up against unbeatable odds, but he went down fighting. Sure, this habit of his got him severly injured in the first movie, and captured in the second, but you had to respect it.
It is with this trait, Mr. Bay, that I draw upon this evening. Because Raphael cannot speak up for himself now, I must speak for him. You see, going up against you is the impossible mission. I know there is no way I can win, but I must do what is right. I must go down fighting the good fight rather than hide back in the sewers and do nothing.
You must not make this movie, Mr. Bay. Well, actually I really want you to make this movie, but not the movie that was announced. You see, there are 4 key elements to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
1) they must be young. They can’t be mature, or at least completely mature. Each character fulfills an important role (the leader, the brains (that was no-one’s favorite), the rebel, and the clown. They simultaneously represented all that is a teenager. Youthful ambition, talent, a sense of humor, a rebellious streek, etc.
2) They must be ninjas. Hand to hand combat is a must. Keep the explosions to a minimum. If you find yourself blowing up a building or having a meteor falling to earth, you have gone too far. Katanas, Nun-chucks, Sais, and boe staffs. And Karate. That’s it. Maybe a few smoke grenades, but lets keep it to a minimum.
3) They must be Turtles. This is a given, and more apparent based on the final thing that they need to be. But if they aren’t from earth, they aren’t turtles. Which brings me to…
4) They must be Mutants. THEY ARE NOT FUCKING ALIENS!
I feel the need to repeat myself, as after two pages of ramblings and musings, I have finally arrived at my point.
4) They must be Mutants. THEY ARE NOT FUCKING ALIENS!
Feel free to tool around with the origin story. It doesn’t have to be the same “Ooze” from TGRI environmental dump. There are literally hundreds of ways that you can incorporate mutation into the story. Like what you ask? How about this off the top of my head: They could be a product of accelerated growth genes by a military contractor. Or how about the mutations were a result of animal testing? Or you could go back to the environmental dumping. Hell, ignore the fact that it was an accident. Someone set out to make highly intelligent animals with human genes. Hell, have the turtle tank get struck by lightning and dumped into a toilet that was radiactivly charged because someone stole plutonium from a nuclear power plant but was going to get busted so they flushed it. I literally sat here and thought of 4 better ideas than FUCKING ALIENS.
If you really need proof that I’m right, lets examine the name of the movie you are making.
"Teenage" - nope, no mention of aliens
"Mutant" - nope
"Ninja" - well, if they are illegal immigrants from asia, I suppose they could hypothetical be illegal alien ninjas
"Turtles" - not here either.
So delete this plot point from your screenplay. It doesn’t work, and the only thing you will do is ALIENate the millions of fans that grew up loving this cartoon, loving the first two movies (most of us blocked out TMNT 3 as most bad memories from our childhood), and spent a small fortune in quarters trying to beat Turtles in Time at the Arcade. See, they even fucked around with the space time continuum, and no one batted an eye. There’s an endlist list of things you can do with this franchise. But the second one of those turtles steps off a spaceship, I am going to burn my vhs of The Rock and snap my Armageddon: The Soundtrack cd in half. I will talk all of my friends into buying tickets to see whatever movie opens against TMNT, and then go over and sit in the theater, yelling curse words at the screen that are still somehow less offensive than the fact that YOU MADE THE TURTLES FUCKING ALIENS.
Sure, it seems weird to be so up in arms over a change to the origin when the Cartoon couldn’t be further from the original comics. Yes, the whole series is adapted from a very violent, adult, black and white comic book. They aren’t all wearing red bandanas. Leo wears Blue, Don Purple, Mikey Orange, and Raph Red. So I should just get over this right? NO. Sure, the cartoons and movies are worlds different than the comic. Frankly, no one cares anymore. The TMNT that the world fell in love with was the TMNT on the silver screen, on our nintendo machines, and on our saturday morning cartoons. And do you think that our generation and our kids are just going to forget about our beloved characters just like our parents did? NO. Why? Because we have something they didn’t have.
Between now and opening day, the only articles that people will be writing will be about how you managed to destroy such a significant part of our childhood. Seriously, just look where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg went wrong. Raiders of the Lost Ark = awesome. The Temple of Doom = underrated. The Last Crusade = Harrison Ford and Sean Connory’s finest hour (yes, even better than the Rock, which he was also great in). The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull = Aliens.
I rest my case.
There’s still time, Mr. Bay. You can still change the script. It’s not too late. Do not beat down the inner child of millions and millions of TMNT fans. If the movie is halfway decent, you are sitting on a minimum 3 picture franchise that will rival Transformers in box office receipts. If you do it wrong, you will have hell to pay. And we will remember.
If I spend any more time writing this letter, I will have spent twice the amount of time that you spent coming up with your pitch.
TMNT as aliens?
After a depressing Vikings loss, Francis and I did a little impromptu photo shoot. If you would like pictures taken of you, hit me up. I’m cheaper than your mom.
Ok. I’ve had this account for more than a year and have found little use for it. I’m going to attempt to make more regular updates, including video and stills from projects I’m working on. There will be a music video coming hopefully this week featuring “This is Breathing”, a great up and coming local band with a lot of drive and fire in their hearts to succeed. In the meantime, I am pleased to announce that I’m currently co-writing a new screenplay for a feature film to be filmed next spring, tenatively titled “Bloomer”. Much more on this and other future projects, including the debut music video for My Lady Four (a collective effort with the great minds over at Lon Lon Studios) coming soon.
Pretty stoked to announce that I will be doing a video with Taylor Enzminger for his new cover song. Not sure what the song will be (I’ll be as surprised as you will) but I am very excited to finally use my Canon T2i for a video project. Taylor has been working with my good friend Jay Ness on several drum covers lately, and he has also worked with several other people from around the Twin Cities. Check out his Youtube channel, and keep your eyes out for our collaboration!
“It’s supposed to be a challenge, that’s why they call it a ‘shortcut’. If it was easy it would just be ‘the Way’.”
Life is strange sometimes. You can be traveling on a road for so long that you’ve convinced yourself that your going in the right direction, and then suddenly, life throws you a detour. Should you try to find your way back to what you once considered “the Way”, or should you instead travel down this new road?
Lately, I feel like I haven’t been traveling at all. I’ve stalled along the side of the road, waiting for AAA to come save my ass. A year ago, if you asked me to guess where I would be today, I would have guessed somewhere on tour, like L.A., Dallas, or New York. A single apartment in Plymouth would not have been near the top.
Its time for some changes around here. After a year of saying ‘No’ to some opportunities, its time to say Yes. I have some exciting opportunities coming up in the next few weeks (video wise) and I hope to have even more in the near future.
Please check back here every so often. I’ll be posting pictures that I take, videos I direct, and maybe even some music I’ve been tinkering with. Who knows. If you or someone you know are in need of photos (band promos, live shots, announcements, etc) or videos (music videos, original shorts, etc) please contact me. And maybe more importantly, if you are looking for a guitar player or bass player in the short or long term (and are serious), please contact me.
More to come.
Marc (with a C)