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In anticipation of my Ramble on "Hunter's Moon, Part One," here's the second relavent memo I have. One thing to keep in mind is that I don't have everything from those days. And I certainly don't have electronic copies of everything. So the record I'll present in this and following posts is WAY less than complete. This is just stuff off my computer that I sent to Michael Reaves, but doesn't reflect all the hard work that HE put into things.
Anyway, note the date. This memo was produced in March of 95, months after the one from my previous post. At this time we still thought it was going to be a direct-to-video movie.
Notes on "Hunter's Moon" Outline...
Michael, in the interest of getting these notes to you sooner rather than later (and yes, I realize that to a great extent that boat has already sailed) I'm just going to give you a number of broad notes to think about and incorporate into a second draft that may wind up being fairly different from your first draft. I'll toss in a few specifics along the way as they occur to me. Feel free to call me to discuss any aspect of these notes, after you've absorbed all this.
(Incidentally, I noticed that there were a few departures from our final approved premise that seemed to reflect earlier drafts of the premise. I just want to make sure we're working off the same document. Unfortunately, the final premise isn't dated, nor is the draft number listed, so there's no quick way of checking.)
GOLIATH vs. the HUNTERS
The story seems to be too much about the Hunters (and Elisa) and not enough about our lead GOLIATH. I know this is a particular concern of Gary Krisel's. We need to emphasize that this is Goliath's story, first and foremost. It's about his struggle with feelings of vengeance and how he overcomes those feelings.
We can help drive the story towards Goliath by keeping the Hunters more mysterious for more of the story. If we don't know who they are or why they hate gargoyles until much further along, then Goliath becomes more important.
THE LOVE TRIANGLE
This is another way to keep Goliath's emotions at the forefront of the story. We should really make more of this. Elisa is falling for this new guy Jason. Instead of treating it like she's an unattached female who now has a shot at a new romance, she should feel conflicted, because she's deeply in love with Goliath!! She might sublimate those feelings at times. Even deny them to herself. Because after all, she realizes that her relationship with Goliath is doomed to be platonic. She knows that a future or a family or anything normal is an impossible dream with Goliath, but that doesn't mean that her feelings for him aren't just as real. What does it mean to her when someone else starts to press those buttons? Does Jason remind her of Goliath in some ways? The quiet brooding intensity? The poetic heart? The tragic background that he doesn't like to talk about? His feelings about the importance of family? Or keeping his word? His sense of mission? Jason is in fact a human, but twisted version of Goliath. That realization may sneak up on her, or she may notice it immediately, but she should certainly be conflicted about her feelings for him.
And what of Goliath? Certainly, he'd be "happy" for her. But how does he really feel? Jealous? Frustrated? Lonely? Does his frustration over "losing" Elisa help to fuel his anger and thoughts of vengeance against the Hunters? Then when he thinks she's dead he goes berserk.
And if Jason discovers that Elisa has feelings for Goliath, what's his first response? Revulsion?
Even the other gargoyles would recognize it's a touchy subject. They're not blind to Goliath and Elisa's feelings for each other. Hudson in particular must see how Elisa has replaced Demona in Goliath's heart.
And the fourth side of the triangle: Demona? It's a minor point in this story and God knows we've done it to death in the series, but we shouldn't ignore the dynamics of Goliath and Demona's past relationship. Demona would love the revelation that Elisa's dating a Hunter. It would prove everything she ever believed about Elisa.
I honestly don't know how on the head we should be with it, but obviously, we shouldn't slide over this triangle. It's classic stuff.
DEMONA AND THE VIRUS
If Goliath is the heart of this drama, Demona is definitely the engine. And in general, I think we need more Demona driving this story. We don't have to spell out her plan right away, but we need to involve her more. She was largely absent in this draft and the story felt like it rambled a bit without her. Let's make her evil plot the throughline for the whole story. It should build slowly but steadily. Everything else can sattelite around that.
One problem we have with Demona is that there are two facts of her existence that we are stuck with but which can't be explained by gargoyle-business-as-usual. One is her immortality, which is central to the concept of her opponents the Hunters, and the second is the fact that she turns into a human during the day. We don't want to get into the whole City of Stone/Corsican Bros./Macbeth thing to explain her immortality, nor do we want to have to explain Puck/the Children of Oberon/Titania's Mirror to explain her transformations. And fortunately we don't have to. All we need to do is use the one word "Sorcery" to explain it all.
But "Sorcery" doesn't play a part in the story we have here, so even that one word explanation sticks out for me like a sore thumb, unless we use sorcery as part of her plan with the Virus. I'm reminded of the poison that the Archmage used on Prince Malcolm in "Long Way To Morning", which was "made virulent by a magical spell". I think we can use something along those lines here. If Demona's plan could combine modern science with ancient sorcery it could accomplish a number of goals. For one thing, it introduces sorcery as an element in this world, letting us skate past Demona's transformations and immortality smoothly in a line of dialogue. Secondly, it gives her a long-term plan. Something she could have been working on throughout the centuries as she dodges the Hunters.
For example, I think we should add a flashback in 15th century Florence, where Demona steels some magic spell or talisman and is pursued by a 15th century Hunter armed with da Vinci inspired technology (very high-tech for the time). It could give some scope to the whole project.
Then if we want, for the 1980 Paris Notre Dame scene it's not simply a fight between Demona and Jon Canmore, but Demona is there for a purpose, she's gathering the second ingredient she needs.
Thus by 1996, modern technology has finally caught up with black magic. Demona (in her human identity as Dominique Destin) has her own company, Brimstone Inc. (which she owns with Thailog, though we definitely don't need or want to bring him up here). She can be developing the virus herself. With every intention of using it on an unsuspecting humanity in combination with the magic she stole in the earlier flashbacks. Maybe she needs to wait for the Hunter's Moon to cast her viral spell.
By the way, Demona's threat to release the virus at the end is hardly empty just because Goliath knows she plans to do it anyway. What's to stop her from doing it right there and then? (This raises another question. Would the virus affect Gargoyles? If it did, would Demona care? Would it affect her? Is that why she needs to use magic with it so that she can control who it does or does not kill?)
I really think we need to open the whole video with the 994 flashback to Gillecomgain and Demona's initial confrontation in the Scottish barn. We should even exagerate the scene to emphasize the petty way the feud between Hunters and Gargoyles began. Demona doesn't even remember the incident, it was so insignificant. And the Hunters, I believe, should have no idea about the reason the feud began. We tip the audience off at the head. Demona was stealing dried fruit from a barn. A peasant boy tries to catch a thief. Demona lashes out and the boy is scarred for life. The pettiness is a comment on the fruitlessness of revenge and vendetta. Later, when Elisa asks Jason how it all got started, Jason will explain about the Hunter tradition and his father. (We get this Paris flashback out of his conversation with her. Not out of his conversation with his siblings which saves on them having to relate things to each other that all three already know. This also keeps the Hunters more mysterious, for longer.) But the Paris tragedy doesn't begin to answer Elisa's real question. She wants to know how the whole feud got started in the first place. And when Jason realizes that he cannot answer that question, it may be the slow beginning of his realization that life as a Hunter is not the right way to go. The irony will be that even though NONE of our players know how it all got started, the audience does. And it was an incredibly petty conflict to begin such a tragic course.
Another advantage to putting it at the head is that it introduces the idea of Demona. In the current version, Demona never even gets mentioned until she first appears as a human in scene 15.
GOLIATH AND THE HUNTERS
Goliath has no prior knowledge of the Hunters at all. Only Demona does. Remeber, Goliath never saw Macbeth in the Hunter's mask. By the time he arrived at the Macbeth/Demona fight at the end of "City of Stone Part IV", Macbeth had already removed the mask. So we don't need to mention Macbeth in this story at all. In fact we can treat the whole concept of the Hunter as if it is a brand new story element. By using the Gillecomgain barn scene and the Canmore last name, we've given the connection to viewers who've seen City of Stone. They can figure out for themselves how these new hunters fit our episodic mythology. But we don't have to go into that here.
And new viewers won't need any more complicated backstory than what we've presented in our three flashbacks. The barn scene acts as the catalyst for the feud. The Florence scene demonstrates that a Hunter has been hunting Demona throughout the ages. The Paris scene sets up the specific motivation for our three new Hunters. Anything else that regular viewers know about the origins of the hunters and/or Macbeth's use of the mask is just gravy for them, but would be distracting here.
AN OUTRAGEOUS REQUEST
Would you mind terribly if we named Jason's siblings Robyn and Jon and gave the name Charles to their father? This is silly, I know, but by coincidence you chose the names Robin for the sister and Jon for the father. My younger sister is named Robyn and my younger brother is named Jon. If we put a "Y" in Robin's name and we trade the Father and brother's names, then it would be a great kick for my siblings to have sibling Hunters named after them. I realize that seems to identify me with Jason. But think of it this way. You get to horribly paralyze me at the end.
SPEAKING OF JASON, ROBYN AND JON
We need to give Robin/Robyn and Jon/Chas some more screen time to add to the mystery and ultimately to get to know them better. We obviously won't reveal this right away, but when the three Canmore siblings arrive in NYC, each is given a mission. Jason is supposed to infiltrate the precinct where police reports on "gargoyles" have been filed and find out all he can there. (Please keep in mind however, that neither Elisa or Matt are going to admit that they believe the gargoyles exist. They're going to poo-poo it as tabloid stuff. They aren't going to say that gargoyles show up whenever there is trouble.)
I'd suggest that instead of Human Demona infiltrating Gen-U-Tech to get the Virus, we can have Robyn/Robin infiltrate Brimstone Inc. to try and get a bead on Demona and/or what she's up to.
And we need to find something for Jon/Chas to do as well.
Also we probably shouldn't reveal to Elisa early on that Jason has a brother and a sister. That absolutely gives away Jason's identity long before we're ready to be that definitive.
We've compressed too much into this final battle. In the premise this was two separate sequences and I think it works much better that way. Jason and Elisa should fall to their deaths before the climactic battle. Goliath must believe that Elisa is dead. (This again heightens his emotional conflict. Makes him more the main character.) Robin/Robyn and Chas/Jon must also believe that Jason is dead. The audience must believe it too, for a while at least. We have some downtime where everyone mourns and swears further vengeance.
In between, after we've mourned the dead but before the final confrontation we might want to reveal the truth. Show Jason and Elisa at the hospital or something. Give us that last revealing Paris flashback. Plant the seeds of doubt. Get him in a wheelchair. Though he's in no condition to go anywhere, he leaves with Elisa pursuing. But is Jason leaving to kill the gargoyles or to reconcile with them?
We might also choose to divide this Elisa/Jason scene in half. Put part of it as a verbal confrontation that comes after Elisa figures out that Jason is the Hunter but before the action sequence where they physically "fall to their deaths". Elisa's asked Jason's some tough questions but he's not prepared to turn over a new leaf yet. Then he goes and gets paralyzed and he's blown his chance to "walk away" clean.
If we do that, we might be able to skip the Hospital scene entirely and thus Jason and Elisa's arrival at the climactic battle in the next paragraph can be a real surprise. (I know, I know, so many options....)
Anyway, in the climactic battle, largely because of Elisa and Jason's "deaths" things have escalated between Gargoyles and Hunters just in time for Demona's final push. At just the right moment, paralyzed Jason and Elisa show up. And Jason has finally learned his lesson. That's enough to calm down Goliath, the gargoyles and Robyn/Robin... but Demona and Chas/Jon are way too far gone. (This also helps explain how Chas/Jon could get so far gone. He had time to freak out about Jason's death. Jason's paralysis doesn't serve to calm him down.) All this at the final crisis point. Chas/Jon and Demona should maybe even "die" here. (An escapable death, but a good one.) We don't want to underestimate the cost of vendettas. Or we can send them both off still swearing vengeance on the other's respective race.
I don't know if we should send Jason and Robyn/Robin off at the end. Feels too tidy to me. Maybe events have put distance between Jason and Elisa. Maybe events have brought Goliath and Elisa closer. Or maybe there's still a chance for Jason and Elisa now that the secrets are out. Which leaves Goliath alone. Whichever way we choose to go, I think we should keep Jason around. His need to adjust to his chair and/or try to help/find the AWOL/"Dead" Chas/Jon are not mutually exclusive with him still being a factor in Elisa and the gargoyles' lives.
Also, do we want the gargoyles to plan on moving back to a rebuilt clock tower? Or do we want that era to have past?
A FEW MORE SPECIFICS...
I think you better include her. She'll have been a regular for months by the time this thing comes out.
We keep leaving him out. I think we've discovered in the World Tour that he can be useful both in battle and in storytelling. I'm NOT saying we need to drag every gargoyle around in every scene (in fact we should probably find excuses to split them off into teams so that we are dealing with fewer at a time), but we shouldn't artificially disinclude Bronx either.
ELISA ON THE DAYSHIFT
There were some logistical problems caused by Elisa having to be on nightshift with Jason, and in the same night having to interact with the gargoyles. Same with Jason having to play Hunter on the same night he was working with Elisa. If Chavez insists on a temporary reassignment for Elisa, it might actually help us if that reassignment was to the day shift. I'm not mandating this, but it might make it easier.
The mugging is o.k. Since it's purpose is to show status quo. I am a bit concerned about the location and the complete lack of threat that these teams of Muggers provide. Perhaps we should set it somewhere with more gargoyle-access, someplace that doesn't force this woman to first escape on her own. And maybe we should give the muggers (or street gang) the Xanatos/Dracon Particle Beam Weapons to up the stakes a little.
But the other crimes began to feel too random and meandering. I think we should find a way to tie them into our story more directly. Maybe involve them in Demona's plans.
THE CLOCK TOWER
Blowing it up was Gary Krisel's idea, and I'd like to do it. But we've got a logic problem. Jason knows that it's the precinct house. And he knows that most gargoyles turn to stone during the day. If they can track them this easily, and know that they haven't left the tower, why not wait til they turn to stone rather than blow up the police station. If Robyn/Robin is in charge at that moment it might help. Or if they've discovered by this time that Demona doesn't turn to stone at night, they might feel they have no choice. (It's that incredible tracking ability that makes believing the decision tough. Maybe that's what we should get rid of.)
MATT'S FBI BUDDY
Rather not involve him, since for our regular audience he's compromised as a member of the Illuminati.
Do we want him to get a "good shot" of Demona on video? Maybe, if we really want to blow things wide open. GARGOYLES -- FACT NOT LEGEND! Film at eleven! I don't know if we have room to deal with the ramifications in this story, but it does fit Gary Krisel's mandate to "shake things up." It appeals to me.
SEALAND AMUSEMENT PARK
Just a little nervous about making the climactic battle take place here, given the end location of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
AND FINALLY, DEADLINES...
We're really under the gun here. The time I set aside to work on the outline was long past by the time it got turned in. Which means, obviously, that these notes are coming to you VERY LATE. (Sorry about that, I just got bogged down.) So we need another draft fast. I'm hoping that after the second draft, I'll be able to give you just a few cosmetic changes for a polish. And then we'll take that polished draft to Gary Krisel for his notes. And he always has notes. If we're lucky, he'll send us to script with those notes and we won't get too far behind. If we're not lucky, we may be going through a couple outline drafts with him. (And I'll emphasize that I believe it will have a lot more to do with luck than with any skill or talent or lack thereof on our part. Which is not to say he won't have good notes. His notes are generally right on the mark. It's just sometimes he trusts us to execute them. Sometimes he doesn't. And it'll just be luck (good or bad) as to whether we get him on a trustful day or not.)
In any case the first draft script is due before the end of this month on March 22nd. The final draft isn't due until mid-May, but we don't want to eat up April because we'll have to go through the same process on the script as we are on the outline. Only there'll be even more scrutiny because the script is the blue-print, not the plan for the blue-print.
So basically, I'm just urging you to make up for the time that both of us lost on the project. Obviously, you can only do your best, but I felt obligated to point out how far behind we already are.