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Sorry, I've been so derelict in "Answering Greg" recently.
It's true that voice directing Team Atlantis has filled a bit of my time, but the fact is that what's really keeping me busy is preparations for the GATHERING (June 22-25 at the Universal Sheridan in Los Angeles).
We've been confirming guests for the last few weeks, and though unfortunately we've lost four of what might be described as "our heavy hitters", the fact remains that we have confirmed OVER FORTY special guests for the convention. Since the most we've EVER had was FOUR, I think you'll agree that this is likely to be the biggest and best Gathering to date.
Anyway, I have about twenty minutes now to answer some questions... and right before the Gathering, I'm going to my in-laws for a few days. If they've got their Web-TV set up, I should have some free time to answer a bunch of questions while I'm there. So keep your fingers crossed.
And I'll see you at the Sheridan.
I thought I'd never get through the February 2001 questions.
Time to Ramble...
Fueled by (what I perceived in my own mind to be) the success of "City of Stone", I began to get more daring in my story structure. In Revelations, Cary and I utilized the time-honored tradition of "in medias res", where a story starts in the middle and catches the viewer up along the way. (Thanks, Homer.)
We also used voice over narration for the first time. It's interesting because Matt just seemed like a perfect character to do that kind of Philip Marlowe naration. But at the same time, it was daring, because of course, Matt is not a regular. The audience didn't know him that well. I think it showed the strength of our supporting cast that Matt could carry a show like this. Of course, having the massively talented Tom Wilson playing Matt helped. I knew he could handle it. And he did. Tom is terrific and VERY funny in the booth. I hope someday he gets his own tv show. (I also loved him as Coach Fredericks on Freaks & Geeks.)
The basic springboard for this episode came from four sources.
1. The notion that eventually Matt would have to find out about the Gargoyles. We didn't want to just throw it away or constantly come up with new excuses why he had "just missed them" or whatever.
2. Matt's pursuit of the Illuminati. What began as a Michael Reaves throwaway line in "The Edge" had evolved into its own subplot. Cary's "Silver Falcon" had taken us to the next level of hearsay. It was time to finally bring the Society into the series.
3. Disney's desire to do a cross-over event with their new "TOWER OF TERROR" ride down in Orlando. Unfortunately, they had wanted this much earlier -- in 1994. We had piggy-backed our World Premiere Screening of Gargoyles down in Florida in September of 1994 with the press event for the Tower's Grand Opening. (That's how Keith David, Marina Sirtis, Salli Richardson, Gary Krisel and I wound up riding the Tower of Terror together on the night before it opened to the general public.) But this was the soonest we could fit the notion into our continuity. You'll see in the memo that I just posted previous to this ramble, that when we were at the outline stage, I was still trying to more firmly tie the two properties together. Partway through the script process, someone at Disney changed their mind. They didn't want the tie-in anymore. I shrugged, I think. And the HOLLYWOOD TOWER became the HOTEL CABAL.
4. An episode of the British TV series, THE AVENGERS, called something like "The House That Jack Built". This was a classic that we ripped off shamelessly. (Wait, wait, I mean we paid it homage shamelessly.) It was about this nutty house designed, I believe, to trap spies inside and drive them bonkers and break them. Sound familiar? John Steed and Emma Peel redone as Goliath and Matt. Didn't you notice the resemblance?
(Gee, so far I've credited Raymond Chandler, Homer and THE AVENGERS as influences. What a fun episode.)
We reintroduced Hacker, mostly so that we could bookend him at the end as Matt's new Illuminati contact. This was something that Cary and I planned as far back as Silver Falcon. We always had to keep Hacker's agenda straight. Make sure any info he gave Matt was a wild goose chase, at least as far as Hacker knew.
In this episode, and only in this episode, Maria Chavez is played by the talented Elisa Gabrielli (also known as Obsidiana). Rachel Ticotin, our usual Chavez, was just unavailable. So Elisa filled in. She has a lighter sound. But I think it works. Did anyone notice? Both Elisa and Rachel are great. I used Elisa as the Doll Demon in 3x3 Eyes (now available on VHS and DVD).
My 3 year old son Ben, who at this point is used to me writing down what he and his older sister says during these viewings told me to write down the following: "When it's night, Demona's a gargoyle. When it's day, she's a human. He likes it when Demona's a human." This had absolutely nothing to do with this episode, but hey, who cares?
I really loved what Ed Asner did with the throwaway character of Jack Dane. "Tell him he's a bum." Dane was so much fun, I brought him back for TURF later.
Matt climbs into the clock tower and finds the TV he helped Elisa with on the day they met. That was fun. This whole episode ties back to Matt's Illuminati musings in "The Edge". It was nice to find another connection. Also, Elisa's been lying to him as long as they've known each other. Nice to remind the audience of that as well.
I like the "family of gorillas" line.
"The Dental Plan" line is vintage Cary Bates.
Elisa: "Matt, you haven't said three words all night..."
Matt: "Let me drive." HEY! THREE WORDS! :) This is fun because, I always thought of Elisa as someone who was such a control freak, she never let her partner drive her car. A big part of this episode, though it could easily sneak past you what with everything else going on, is revealing more facets of Elisa's personality. We learn much more about her and she grows here too.
It's fun to establish Xanatos as "a lower eschelon member". Immediately makes the Illuminati impressive, if Xanatos barely registers on their scale. Also sets up eventual conflicts with him.
First act cliffhanger: Here the threat is Matt. Again, how well did you all think you knew Matt? Here we're inside his point of view -- his narration. But we still try to play him edgy enough that we don't know if he'll kill them both. It helps that we opened with the shocker that he betrayed Goliath to Mace. How many people bought that? Thought Matt was the Judas that Mace said he was?
Anyway, I really like this scene. Elisa yelling at Matt. Matt getting out of the car and yelling at... no one. And Elisa's quiet revelation that Matt isn't crazy... "They don't follow me everywhere." Again, this line was as important for Elisa as for Matt. Sure she can count on the Gargoyles for help. But I never wanted it to seem like Lois and Superman. Like he was always around or would here her with super-senses everytime she screamed. Most of the time, Elisa's on her own.
"This time I'll drive."
Fun to see the gargoyles reactions when Matt is introduced. Goliath's not upset. He appreciates that Elisa has a loyal partner and probably gave her permission to bring Matt in from the cold long before. The truth is they know Matt already.
Elisa: "better late than never".
And then immediately Goliath is suspicious. "Trust is not... to be bartered."
As creators, we were playing both ends here. Omitting pieces of conversation. Trying to get the audience to believe that Matt might in fact be betraying G. But also making it believable that in hindsight, he wasn't. Not cheating, in other words.
At this point, my six year old daughter Erin said: "I don't like Bluestone in this one. He's usually very nice. But in this one he's mean." That's how she saw him. Not righteously angry with Elisa for the lies. Just mean.
It took remarkably more effort than I'd have expected to get things to hook up with our Teaser from the beginning of the act. To help, I reused a couple of Mace's line as prompts to the audience.
It's fun to hear Tom Wilson playing Matt playing at being a bad guy.
I like all the hotel references. "Check out time" etc.
Mace falls down the shaft and grabs the cables with his bare hands. One hundred years old or not, that's gotta hoit.
I like Matt using his coat as a parachute. That wouldn't be necessary except for that darn Gallileo. If it weren't for him, Goliath, being heavier, could have fallen faster than Matt to catch up to him. :)
And of course, I enjoy the irony of Mace being trapped in a Hell of his own making. And i like the notion that the Illuminati just left him there to rot. He had outlived his usefulness. A non-member had found him thanks to his annoying sentimental habit of visiting Pine Lawn. AND he had failed to hold the Gargoyle in the Cabal. Breaking a perfect record. Woops.
Goliath refers to Bluestone as his friend. That's to make sure the audience is clear that Goliath was in on the plan from the beginning. Later, I gathered, some people still didn't get that.
We have a great Turning to Stone sequence here. Every once in a while it's nice to remind the audience that this is unique and special. Seeing it through a new characrer's eyes is a great way to do that.
I love Elisa and Matt's conversation. Elisa reveals that she's subconsciously been keeping the gargs to herself because it made her feel special. Explains a lot about "Her Brother's Keeper", doesn't it? And Matt admits to something similar. I think we all do little things to help ourselves stand out, even if no one notices them but us.
Maria then helps us see that Matt and Elisa are going to be okay.
And finally, our Hacker tag. (This episode had like six tags.) Matt gets his pin. I thought that was kinda cool...
What say all of you....
In Prep for my coming RAMBLE on REVELATIONS, here's the memo I wrote to Story Editor Cary Bates in response to his outline...
Notes on "Revelations" Outline...
I was very concerned that the first act and much of the second act came across as prologue to our adventure. And yet most of it is necessary stuff. So I think we should open the story with GOLIATH trapped in the "house that Jack built" (HTJB) and flashback from there. Probably with MATT narrating the whole story in Voice Over.
I've suggested act breaks, but you don't have to feel married to them, if the timing or page count seems wrong.
Also, I didn't suggest any specific revisits to the HTJB (after the prologue) until our story brings us back there chronologically. If you want to revisit the present in the HTJB a few times to remind the audience of the current situation and to up the action with Goliath facing another death trap, go for it. Totally up to you.
I also moved the Hacker scene up, so that he can bookend the show a little more. In his first scene, he'll still be telling Matt that the Society is a myth. In his last scene, he'll be inviting Matt to join.
HTJB/MOUNTAIN RETREAT/TOWER OF TERROR/SEEDY HOTEL
It's a bit of a stretch to believe that Goliath would go to this "Mountain Retreat" with Matt. What do they hope to accomplish there, besides illegal search and seizure? Matt's "informant" is fishy beyond belief. So is the gizmo that gets them past the security perimeter. The point of which is lost on me, since they are immediately spotted by security forces. How does defeating these forces help? THEY'VE BEEN SPOTTED. What can they hope to accomplish now? These security guards can't radio inside to hide or destroy whatever data there might be? It's all adding up to a big old fishy mess. And yes, I realize that the Illuminati want Goliath inside and that Goliath wants to get "trapped" in order for Matt's plan to work out, but it's too convenient to say everyone is intentionally acting like idiots. The audience won't be in on it. They'll just be getting frustrated. By the time we reveal the truth, they'll just generally feel the whole story was contrived.
So let's start by ditching the mountain retreat. I like the Seedy Hotel better. Someplace that from the outside seems like a totally non-descript Manhattan building. Maybe it's boarded up and condemned. Getting in is not a problem. They land on the roof and sneak inside. But getting out is impossible.
The hotel is really the "House That Jack Built". Yes, steel shutters slam shut, trapping Goliath, but more importantly, we should really lose our bearings inside. Goliath rips open a window that he thinks leads outside, only to find it's a false facade that leads into another room. At another point, he thinks he has gotten back onto the roof. But this turns out to be another interior room, with a domed ceiling painted with stars. Another room has all the furniture on the ceiling and the razor sharp ceiling fan on the floor. Maybe another room rotates. Think about optical illusions, Escher paintings, etc. The death traps are fun, but we've done them before, so it's the mind-bending surreal stuff that will make this place special.
Also since the powers-that-be have asked, and since it fits our story, please refer to this place at least once as the "TOWER OF TERROR" and do at least one death trap with a rapidly falling elevator. This is "Synergy" with the Disney/MGM theme park's TOWER OF TERROR ride in Florida. I wouldn't suggest it if it didn't fit, but it fits just fine and that kind of goodwill never hurts. The name of the hotel should be the Hollywood Tower, cause that's the name in the ride. Now I know that seems like a weird name for a manhattan hotel, but if you figure it was built in the thirties or forties, during Hollywood's heyday, you can RATIONALIZE that even a New York Hotel would want to associate itself with the glamour of Hollywood. O.K. It's a stretch, but go for it.
MATT AND SECRECY
THE THEME OF OUR STORY IS TRUST. Hit it as much as possible. However, I don't want to replay Matt's emotional arc from Silver Falcon. He learned his lesson in that story. He no longer runs off without telling Elisa where he's going or what he's doing. Matt's honesty at the beginning of the story will contrast nicely with Elisa's deception about the gargoyles and with Matt's later bitter, furtive behavior. He can't feel too betrayed by Elisa's lies if he opened the story lying to her as well.
In your beat #9, Goliath is behaving completely out of character. He may never have been introduced to Matt, but he's seen him from a distance and knows who he is. He must know from Elisa that Matt is a good guy. His long-term goal in Manhattan is to find acceptance with a growing number of humans. Elisa was the first (and is still the foremost), but Renard is a friend of Goliath's now. Jeffrey Robbins the novelist is a friend of Hudson's. Goliath tried to convince Elisa to tell the truth to her brother, etc. And in any case, he's not likely to physically assault someone for doing nothing else but looking at them. I know you want to set up a tense dynamic, but the one in beat 9 is totally artificial. So drop it.
BOTHERSOME QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE DEALT WITH IN THE SCRIPT
1. Why was it necessary for Mace to vanish in the twenties? (Perhaps he was recruited by the Illuminati, but was about to get busted for his criminal operations with Dracon. So he vanished with the money, and the Illuminati set him up with a new life. But why did they want him? Why would they bother?)
2. Why would Mace give up his glamorous gangster life to live in a seedy hotel for the Illuminati? (He obviously wouldn't. So let's not imply that he did.)
3. How did Matt make the connection between Mace and the Illuminati in the first place? (This question must get answered in this episode. In "Silver Falcon", the old photo of Mace and Dominic will depict Mace wearing the Illuminati pyramid/eye emblem. But don't count on the audience noticing or remembering that. And don't forget that Matt thought Mace was involved with the Society long before he saw that photo in Benton's office.)
4. Did Matt just get phenomenally lucky that he happened to go to Flo's grave at the same time as Mace? Was he planning on setting up 24 hour surveillance? Did he have some way of knowing that Mace visits and when?
5. How does Mace being alive prove the existence of the Illuminati? (Hint: it doesn't, by itself. See question #3.)
Mace was a prominent gangster when he disappeared in 1924. If you figure he was about thirty, he'd be 100 now give or take five years. I think we should make a point of this. He looks great, thanks to the Illuminati's rejuvenation techniques. Like a man of 75 or 80. But he proudly tells Matt that today's his 100th birthday, or something like that.
1. Establishing shot of the Seedy Hotel. It's Friday night. Inside, Goliath is already alone. The steel shutters slam shut, trapping him inside, a mysterious voice (Mace) welcomes him to the "Tower of Terror". Maybe activate a death trap or two. Maybe Goliath finds an open window, but it leads back inside. Maybe the ceiling comes down on him or something.
2. Cut to the control room, where we see Goliath on a monitor. Mace is at the controls. (We don't yet know who he is.) And then pull back to see Matt looking over Mace's shoulder. We can't believe Matt is helping to trap and kill Goliath!! Push in on Matt. In his voice over, we find out he can hardly believe it either, it all began last Tuesday....
3. First flashback begins. Last Tuesday. It's the FBI target range and the scene with MARTIN HACKER. (Don't take for granted that the audience knows Hacker. Reintroduce all the necessary, pertinent info about him, Malone and the Illuminati -- pretend they've never been mentioned before this episode.) Hacker can't believe Matt is still chasing Mace Malone and the Illuminati. It's a wild goose chase that got him fired from the Bureau. When will he learn his lesson? But Matt is determined. He's going to prove the existence of the Illuminati, prove that he's not a nutcase. So Hacker gives him the info that he asked for: the location of Malone's step-son, a mobster who's part of the Federal Witness Relocation Program. (Hacker gives him this location because he knows that Malone's step-son has no idea where Malone is.)
4. Tuesday Night. Later at the precinct house, Matt sees Captain Chavez coming out of the Ladies room. He asks her if Elisa is in there. She says no. Matt doesn't get it. Her car is here, but he can't find her.
He finally finds Elisa exiting the broom closet. Has she been sitting in a closet for the last twenty minutes? Of course, not. She was just, uh... returning a mop. One of the sinks in the ladies' room overflowed. That's where she's been (yeah, that's the ticket) cleaning up a flood in the Ladies' Room. Matt is so stunned by her obvious and clumsy lie, that he doesn't immediately confront her with it. Unaware that she's been caught in a lie, Elisa quickly changes the subject. Why was Matt looking for her? He's got a lead on the Illuminati. After the Silver Falcon debacle, he's learned his lesson about keeping his partner in the dark. (He says pointedly.) He just wanted to let her know where he's going to be tomorrow. (As with Hacker, Elisa likes Matt but seems to only tolerate his obsessions. There's the tiniest bit of a patronizing attitude toward them. Perhaps Matt invites her along on his investigation, but she thinks it's a waste of time. She's nice about it, but Matt's V.O. narration lets us know that he knows she thinks he's a kook. Same with Hacker in the scene above.)
5. Wednesday. Matt confronts Malone's step-son, JACKSON DANE (or whatever) at the gym (or wherever). (Jackson's 80 if he's a day, but he can have Ferrigno-sized goons. Though you need to be careful that Matt doesn't come across as a dirty or rogue cop. I don't want him to break any laws.) Matt asks Jackson about Mace. Dane hasn't seen Mace since he was a little kid. Matt pulls out a photo that was taken at the memorial service for Jackson's mother (Mace's ex-wife), actress Flo Dane, when she died fifteen years ago. It was a big deal thing. We see a picture of Jackson in the front row. Did Jackson see Mace at the funeral. No. Matt takes out a second picture. A blow up of people in the back row. He points to one. Jackson looks carefully, and whaddaya know? It's Mace. Now Matt wants to know where Flo Dane is buried. Jackson says that his mom didn't want her grave to become a tourist attraction, so she was buried under her real name, FLORA DREEDLE. Did Mace know that name? Yes, he did.
6. Wednesday, just before sundown. Back at the precinct, Elisa asks Chavez if Matt's checked in yet. No. Elisa goes up to see the gargoyles. We follow her into the broom closet. The pull-down ladder is already down. She nervously pulls her gun and goes upstairs. Only to find Matt there. She's under time pressure to get him out of there, since it's nearly sunset. He points to the t.v. set. He remembers helping her bring that into the precinct the day they met. She had said it was for a friend. She pretends that this is her little getaway spot when police life gets too intense. Some getaway spot. An old lounge chair. A hot plate. Video game equipment. Books. Enough food for a family of gorillas. She says she may be bending a few regulations, but she's not breaking any laws. Don't tell Chavez, o.k.? (She has got to get him downstairs.) So how'd it go with Mace's step-son? He's still highly suspicious, but enthusiastic enough about filling her in on Mace that he allows her to guide him back downstairs. Matt has checked with the funeral home. Some old man shows up there every Thursday and leaves a rose for Flora Dreedle. It's a long shot but Matt is going to be there tomorrow to find Mace Malone.
7. Thursday. Matt finds Mace Malone, who goes into a bit of denial, but we'll give him an Illuminati tattoo on the palm of his hand (or something). Mace relents, impressed. The Illuminati has been aware of Matt's quest. They've thrown multiple roadblocks in his way, and still Matt found Mace. The Society has clearly underestimated the boy. Mace offers Matt membership based on a loyalty test. Matt: You want me to prove my loyalty? How do I know I can trust you? Mace: Fair question. What if I prove good faith by revealing a bit of information donated by one of our lower echelon members, David Xanatos. Matt's listening.
8. Very late Thursday night. Elisa and Matt are driving in her car. She's driving. She asks him if everything's all right. The shift's almost over and he hasn't said three words all night. "Let me drive," he says [exactly three words]. No way -- it's my car, she replies, only half-kidding. He INSISTS. She relents, realizing he's pretty upset about something. It's a very awkward moment. She has to stop the car, get out and switch sides with him. He's silent the whole time. He drives. Where are they headed? He ignores the question, but tells her that today he found Mace Malone. That's great, she says, but you're driving awfully fast. He ignores that too, saying he feels like he's on a streak. Now that he's proven the Illuminati exists, he's about to prove the existence of another urban myth that he's been taunted for believing in. Matt, she yells, you're driving us right into the path of some kind of danger!! That's right he says, and the only way we can be saved is if your gargoyles save us.
9. Elisa manages to wrest the wheel from him and turn the car into a very uncontrolled 360° skid. Thank god for seat belts. They barely survive. Elisa is furious at Matt! What the heck does he think he's doing?! He's trying to get his partner to tell him the truth. He gets out of the car and yells to the sky. "I know you're out there! Show yourself!" Nothing happens. No gargoyles appear. Elisa gets out of the car. Matt's expecting another lie. But all she says is, "They don't follow me everywhere I go." They look at each other. C'mon, she says. I'll drive. (NOTE: I don't think we need to bring up informants. Elisa can believe that Matt has put two and two together from all the lies she's had to tell in the first act.)
10. But by the time they get back to the precinct it's dawn, early Friday morning. Too late, she says. He doesn't buy it. He knows that set-up in the clock tower must be for them. She's still reluctant to tell him the whole truth. Look, she says, you have to be patient for a little while longer. (Note: she has not actually apologized yet.) Meet me back here this evening. Ten minutes before sunrise.
11. Friday. Mace and Matt meet again. Has Matt seen the gargoyles yet? Tonight. But the information was correct? Yes, she friends with them. The Society has demonstrated good faith. Does Matt still want to join? Yes. Then you're willing to take the loyalty test? Yes, what do I have to do? Bring us a gargoyle.
12. Friday at twilight. Matt and Elisa head out the clock face's door (at roman numeral VI) Matt sees the statues of the gargoyles and gets pissed again. No stone statues are going to fool him. He knows they're flesh and blood. He's seen them (in previous episodes). She says hold on and stand back. The sun goes down. The gargoyles explode from stone. Milk this for all the awe and majesty, etc., that it's worth. Seeing it from Matt's point of view, we should all feel like we're seeing it again for the first time. The gargoyles approach. They all know Matt, even if he doesn't know them. Even Bronx is friendly. Matt is awestruck. Speechless. Elisa tells Matt that the Gargoyles have adopted the city and protect it as they once protected their castle in Scotland long ago. She asks him to keep the gargoyles' secret. He says he will, but he wants something in return. Goliath doesn't love the idea of being blackmailed into anything. Matt says he's tracked Mace to a seedy condemned hotel. He's sure he can get proof of the Illuminati's existence if he could just get into the hotel, but it's locked and boarded up on the ground floor. He needs Goliath's help to enter via the roof. The other gargoyles offer to help, but Matt isn't trying to lay siege to the place, he just wants to sneak in and sneak out. All he needs is Goliath. Elisa wants to go, but Matt specifically doesn't want her to. Why? Because I want to find out once and for all whether you trust me. So Goliath takes off with Matt. (AND I think we can assume that Matt filled Goliath in on his plan on the flight over to the seedy hotel.)
13. Friday night. They land on the roof of the hotel. With Goliath's help, they break into the stairway and go inside. Almost immediately, Matt is forcibly separated from Goliath and spirited away to join Mace in the control room. Mace is very pleased with Matt. He presses a button and steel shutters slam home in a repeat of scene 1. Which brings us up to date, end on a cliff hanger and go to commercial.
14. Play Goliath in the HTJB. Have fun with it. You've got most of the act. Meanwhile, Matt asks Mace how long they plan to keep Goliath here. Why, we can keep him here forever. He'd never find his way out without help. So Matt has to secretly help Goliath. But you can't have that signal device. Where would Matt get it from? He's not Batman. So think of something else. Ultimately, they escape leaving Mace hopelessly lost inside the surreal world of his own making. (That's the Illuminati's punishment for him. He can die of dehydration there, some time in the future and we don't have to portray it or worry about S&P.) All this is done in such a way that the Illuminati would later blame Mace not Matt. If you need help to choreograph this, give me a call.
15. Pre-Dawn Saturday morning, Goliath and Matt return to the clock tower where Elisa and the others are waiting. We find out definitively that Matt tipped Goliath off to his plan on the way to the seedy hotel. He was hoping to join the Illuminati -- so he could bust them from the inside, but in order to escape, they had to trap Mace, his only Illuminati connection, in the HTJB, so it was all for nothing. Matt watches with Elisa as the Gargoyle's turn to stone. (Again, milk this. Through Matt's eyes it should feel like the first time.) Elisa and Matt have their little scene. She finally apologizes. He asks why she kept it a secret from him. And etc.
16. Matt walks outside and there's Hacker, who reveals that he's a member of the Illuminati who had been assigned to Matt to keep him away from the Illuminati. Matt can't believe it: Hacker helped him with info. Only info that Hacker thought led down a dead end. Matt just figured a way to do an end run around the dead ends. No hard feelings. Anyway, he always liked Matt, so he's proud to give him his official Illuminati membership pin. Matt doesn't get it. The society lost the gargoyle. Mace's fault, not Matt's. Hacker promises to keep in touch. He hops in an unmarked car and drives off. After he's gone, Matt says something determined about keeping in touch too. This isn't over.
On July 6th, 1993, Writer Eric Luke turned in an outline for the pilot. It still had the Pack, and introduced the concept of the Gargoyle Eggs. Here were our notes on that outline, as we sent him to script.
To: Eric Luke Date: 7-15-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext.: (818)-754-7436
Subject: Notes on 7/6 Gargoyle Outline
Ta Da!! Let's go to script....with notes...sorry. Actually, we're real happy with the outline, we just want to send you forward with a few things in mind.
One general note comes from Gary, who's pretty much decided that the Gargoyles cannot fly like birds, but rather can glide like flying squirrels. We're going to take a lot of liberties with this. Play a lot with updrafts and downdrafts, i.e. cheat a lot, but the big basic no-no is the idea that they can start at ground level and just muscle themselves into the air with their wings. Gary doesn't want to just make this a rule, he wants to make use of it in the script as a vulnerability for the gargoyles. For example, if Goliath and Elisa are surrounded by the Pack, he can't just pick her up and fly away. He's trapped, unless he can get some height to get some air. Another thought comes earlier when Goliath saves Elisa's life at their first meeting. Maybe he grabs her in mid-air and then arcs up to re-land on the castle ramparts. And maybe he can't quite make it to the top and has to grab hold of the building and use his talons to claw his way back up to the landing, with her holding on to him for dear life. (These are just examples that occur to me...use, embellish, come up with your own as it fits the script.) Anyway, you get the idea.
I think we can heighten the drama of the opening by referring to the original beat outline depicting Robby and his Mom desperately running up the hill to the castle w/the Marauders close behind. It's sunset. Cole and crew don't have long to wait for it to get too dark for the archers to target them.
Re: the Wizard. The scariest thing about Goliath's looks is his tremendous threatening bulk, claws and teeth. His non-human appearance, wings and skin color play into the wizard's fears as well. But it's the potential physical threat that's the most frightening. I'm not sure that this will specifically come out in dialogue, but...
Teen 'goyles should probably be doing minor mischief until Robby's mother refers to them as monsters. This pisses them off (particularly Brooklyn) and they decide that if they're gonna be treated like Monsters they might as well act like monsters, and perhaps they do something that is flat-out malicious. Goliath comes in while they're "acting like monsters", doesn't know why and banishes them from the courtyard. They feel bigtime jipped.
Eggs in the rookery really intrigues us. It raises HUGE questions. Do Gargoyles lay eggs? What do they look like? Gary pictures rough spheres like cannonballs made of stone. Do the eggs survive Cole? I guess they must since Bronx and the trio do. Do they survive the centuries? What's the gestation period of a gargoyle egg? Did Demona gather up the eggs? Were they effected by the wizard's spell? When Xavier moves the castle to Manhattan, is the Rookery, eggs and all, left in tact in Scotland? None of these questions need to be answered in the pilot. It's just a great seed to plant for future episodes, so don't make too big a deal of it here; we want careful viewers to be curious, but most to be unconcerned, since they won't get the answers to these questions in this movie.
Was Broadway raised in the Rookery? Or has it been out of use for decades? If he was, we need to be careful that our trio aren't telling each other things that they all already know.
Again, in the final battle against the Captain, Cole and his marauders, refer to the original beat outline for choreography. We need Cole and the Captain to drag the queen away from the battlefield, luring Goliath away too, alone. We need the Wizard left alone, believing the Queen is dead, w/only one remaining spellbook to confront the rest of the 'goyles and turn them to stone, etc.
Perhaps when the Pack first attacks, Goliath and company jump to defend the castle without any request from Xavier. It's that instinctive. Afterwards, (p.6), Xavier asks for their continued protection, and Goliath agrees, largely because at this point, he's already got one foot in the water, so-to-speak.
We still have the three night structure, but we've lost Elisa asking Goliath to give her three nights to show him all that her world has to offer. That always struck me as a nice moment. Was there a reason we took it out? I'm not saying we need it back in, I'm just curious.
Adrienne Bello is our executive here in charge of Standards and Practices. We showed the final version of the outline to her, and she had a concern here regarding our depiction of latchkey kids. Basically, it's a weighty issue, and we really don't have the space to do it justice here. That gave me a thought. Another (easily-solved) problem in the scene is that Goliath doesn't seem to be a participant. No one reacts to him. If we change that, we can see a number of kids (maybe out on the stoop, early evening) reacting differently to him. All should be scared at first, but some are quickly reassured and think Goliath (and Bronx) are way cool. Littler kids might still be frightened, and Goliath sees Elisa comfort and reassure them. Teaching them not to be prejudiced, in essence. Or something. We don't have to make them latchkey kids. Taggers? Just neighborhood kids w/no crime involved? Maybe we create a 20th century counterpart to Robby? Anyway, give it some thought.
This could play into the attack by the Pack. Perhaps our Robby-counterpart witnesses it. And the noise brings more people. They root for the Pack to win out over the "Monster" Goliath. They think the Pack is saving them. Our "Robby-counterpart" could really be confused as to who's good and who's bad. Maybe the crowd helps the Pack? (The right thing to do, as they perceive it, but unfortunately, they've picked the wrong side to help.) Elisa may try to flash her badge, and is knocked aside/out before she can identify herself as a cop. What Fox says to Goliath in the clinches, doesn't have to be heard by the crowd. Maybe the Pack even pretends to try to rescue Elisa from Goliath, making it clear to Goliath and our audience, though not the crowd, that if they get her away from him (and Bronx) she's doomed. [Again, though Bronx is largely a comic relief character, he can be helpful in a fight. Just as Goliath--though basically a dramatic character--has a sense of humor, and can be used in lighter, comic situations.] Goliath has little choice but to retreat with Elisa, with the crowd thinking he's the villain getting away w/a victim (or perhaps accomplice). Then he expresses his frustration that humans could so confuse the heroes and villains, based solely on appearances. If Elisa's conscious at this point, she might try to argue with him.
It's unclear why Goliath thinks the Pack is bent on revenge. What does he think they have to revenge? So far, they've been basically successful in both encounters. At worst, you could say they've fought to a draw.
If Xavier spotted Demona in a book, it was probably an art book, not a history book. Gargoyles didn't make the history books. I know this is just a story Xavier tells Goliath, but we might as well make it as realistic as possible.
Also Demona does not "seem" to be "genuinely pleased" to see the gargoyles; she IS genuinely pleased to see them.
Xavier should claim that the disks will benefit all mankind AND ALL GARGOYLES as well.
Xavier should make his contingency plans w/Owen. That way, we don't have to have him talking to himself, or reveal that he and Demona are in cahoots.
Goliath should probably find Elisa at her place, (maybe he followed her from the police station). As opposed to just happening to spot her on the streets.
Also want to make sure I have all the corporate names straight. XAVIER ENTERPRISES (XE) is Xavier's big conglomerate. SCARAB CORP. is the robotic and cybernetic arm of XE. PACK INC. is the "marketing firm" that handles the Pack, which is owned by a company, which up the ladder is eventually owned by XE. CYBERCORP is Xavier's basically honest competitor and the creators of the anti-grav technology that's on the disks.
The idea of Goliath just sitting on the disks for a night in a warehouse still strikes us as artificial. Maybe Xavier asks Goliath to deliver the disks to someone, at the warehouse or wherever, and then arranges for Elisa to be there.
Angelica/Demona's statement about "If you'd only taken the others away..." isn't enough of a tip-off to make Goliath suspicious. It doesn't sound like she knows something, it sounds like she's using 20-20 hindsight to make him feel bad. At any rate, that would be the natural thing for him to think. Maybe it begins with this, but she takes it a step farther, and that tips Goliath off.
In her explanation of what went wrong, we need to include the notion that the Captain promised her he'd protect the gargoyles, but at the last minute she panicked and left.
We're also unclear how all this has led her to join up with Xavier. Maybe she sees the destruction of humanity in his evil, and she's anxious to help. Or maybe he plans on conquering humanity, and then she plans to take the reins of power from him. Lots of possibilities; we just need to clarify.
Did Xavier send anyone besides Demona (and Elisa) to the "loyalty test". Maybe Owen has been watching from the shadows.
The reason Xavier didn't take Goliath out immediately after the loyalty test can probably be tied to Xavier's intelligence. He knows that the best time to attack the Gargoyle's is during the day, when they're frozen. I think we should make use of this. Have a scene where the Pack (carrying sledgehammers) searches for the Gargoyles in daylight. Elisa hides the gargoyles and/or protects them, and/or lures the Pack away from their location at great personal risk. Now she and Goliath have saved each other. A human he can count on. Etc. At this point, Xavier doesn't want to leave the loose ends untied for too long. He's confident in his new robot creations. (Perhaps there's one that's specifically been modeled after Goliath.) He decides to just get the battle over with. Or maybe it's Goliath and the gargoyles who decides to take the castle back, (with Elisa's help). They attack Xavier. Demona, the steel gargoyles AND the Pack (and Xavier, for that matter) are there to defend the castle. That's kinda ironic and cool.
And that's it. Give me a call if you have any questions. I'd also like to get an approximate target date when you think we'd have the first draft screenplay. Despite all the notes, we're getting really psyched. Good luck.
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy
Disney's Japanese Studio was collectively the true unsung heroes of the first season of Gargoyles. This is a memo from Mr. Tokunaga, who was the head of that studio. It mentions the Little Mermaid episode that they were currently animating, but is mostly about recommending certain individuals on their staff to be creative forces for the Gargoyles series.
CC: B. FERRO
DATE: July 10,1993
TO: Ms. Lenora Hume
FROM: Motoyoshi Tokunaga cc. Shin Matsumoto/Sheri Shimada
Yesterday, I have asked several animators to try on rough designs for this projects characters. We will need one week to finish this work. Therefore. we will be able to tax you these drawings on 7/17. Also, we have sent you the followings together with Take-l's workprint for the Mermaid show #015.
*Gadget - storyboarded by Saburo Hashimoto.
*Reporter Blues - storyboarded by Kazuo Terada.
*Soccer Boy - storyboarded by Kazuo Terada.
As a reminder, in Japan we set the maximum number of cels that the show can spend before we start the production. And directors should draw storyboards within this limitation. Since these storyboards were drawn under these circumstances, I fear they might not give you the insight into the artists' creative aspects.
*Ulysis 31: This was produced 12 years ago and directed by Terada.
I hope you could use this as a reference of how he divided the scenes and
the camera angles. But, please do not refer to the animation.
*Batman; which was animation directed by Kazuyoshi Takeuohi.
We have sent this to you because we would like to know if you are thinking of any certain level of animation quality and timing. Please let us know if this is the kind of animation you expect from us for Gargoyles series.
I think these two memos are fairly self-explanatory. So the only comment I'll make is that although few of these people still work for Disney, none of them had to give back their toys. (And I still have the Nerf stuff.)
 From: Greg Weisman 7/8/93 4:10PM (751 bytes: 10 ln)
To: Bruce Cranston
cc: Greg Weisman
Subject: TOYS FROM KENNAR
------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------
As you know, I received a large box of toys from Kennar, which I am officially giving to the Development department. Some of these will be on display in their original packaging in my office, per Gary Krisel's suggestion. Some will be used in creative meetings to help generate ideas and reduce tension. The rest will be distributed among the development staff for research and display, on the understanding that they belong to the company and not to the individuals involved.
 From: Greg Weisman 7/9/93 2:25PM (2200 bytes: 47 ln)
To: Mary Nguyen, Bonnie Buckner, Hali Helfgott, Lisa Melbye, Adrienne Bello, Paul Lacy, Fred Schaefer, Kathy Fair, BAMBI MOE, Ellen Gurney, Ann Catrina, Brad Vielock
cc: Bruce Cranston, Melinda Farrell, Jay Fukuto, Greg Weisman
------------------------------- Message Contents ------------------------------
cc: Dave Schwartz, Sharon Morrill
As many of you know, Kennar sent me a large box of toys. Too large for me to keep them as a gift w/out a conflict of interest arising. So I am officially giving these toys to the company. Gary instructed me to keep some of them unopened on display in my office, (he's sent some to Lucasfilms already, and we may need them for similar purposes at some point), and to break open the Nerf stuff for creative meetings (you know, to relieve tension, etc.). But there are still a number of toys left, more than I have room for, so I'm going to pass them out to all of you for research and display in your offices, on the official understanding that they belong to Disney and should stay with the company.
I put everyone's name in a hat and Hali pulled the names, and this's the order of toy picking:
I think you can see by Hali's placement on the list that her picks were not biased. It was totally random. Don't blame her.
And if you're low on the list, you can at least take consolation in knowing that the bigshots (Bruce, Mindy, Jay and Sharon) don't get any toys at all. Sorry. There weren't enough to go around.
Bambi's first on the list, and she'll be back Monday, so that's when distribution will begin.
Remember, no friction. This is a small good thing. That's all.
The first season of Gargoyles was largely pre-produced in Japan. And our Japanese Studio was very involved in getting the show up on its feet. This is a memo from Lenora Hume, who was at the time the head of International Production for our division. The memo is addressed to Mr. Tokunaga who was the head of Walt Disney Television Animation Japan.
WALT DISNEY Television Memorandum
To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga Date: July 2,1993
From: Lenora Hume Extension: (818) 754-7150
Subject: FAX: 011-8142-251-8229
PAGE: -1- of -1-
As a follow up to our conversation, we would like to proceed to do some preliminary development work on Gargoyles as outlined below.
1) We would like you to send us some design and storyboards samples of the artists you intend to use on this project. If you have any tapes of shows that these individuals have been involved in that would be very helpful as well.
2) On Tuesday, we will fax your descriptions of the characters we would like you to work on.
3) Based on the information we send you on Tuesday, we would like budget on a schedule prepared for this preliminary design work.
At this stage we would like to see rough drawings of a variety of styles and ideas based on the information we have supplied. There is no need to edit your preliminary work. We would like to see a number if different approaches. If you have a preference as to which approach you prefer please by all means let us know your choices.
4) Once this preliminary design work has been submitted we will review the materials in Los Angeles and give you our comments, along with instructions as to what the next phase will be.
If you have any questions or comments about this first phase of development, please feel free to contact us.
cc: B. Cranston
JUL 06 1993
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
Evidentally, I went out of town in late June / early July of 1993. My very capable and talented Development Associate Paul Lacy was holding down the fort.
Walt Disney TV Animation Japan had been asking for a more creative role in the division. Gargoyles would represent a new opportunity for them. (Something that I believe Roy Sato could comment on more directly.) Paul wrote up some character descriptions for Goliath and the Trio to get them started. This document, as far as I can tell, is the first one in which Brooklyn and Lex were assigned the basic personalities that they'd wind up with. Previous to this, the two characters had always been assigned each others traits. So I think we can credit Paul (or his confusion, at least) with giving us the Brooklyn and Lex we now know and love.
Also by this time, we had moved away from a female Broadway. One of my bosses, Bruce Cranston, still raised the suggestion that we go back. But I believe my other boss, Gary Krisel (and Kenner) wanted as many males in the group as possible.
July 2, 1993
Gary wants to give Tokunaga, the head of the Disney Studio in Japan, a shot at showing us what they can do design-wise with the GARGOYLES, so he wants us to send them descriptions of GOLIATH, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. The descriptions need to be brief and put in general terms to allow them room to be creative.
I've enclosed my pass at these descriptions for your changes. Although I remember the "types" we were thinking of for Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway, I don't remember who was assigned which attribute. Bruce asked about making one of the kids a female, should we open that up to the Japanese as an option?
Gary and Bruce looked at these today and I incorporated their changes. We need to get these to Lenora Hume early Tuesday so she can fax them to Japan.
Hope you had a great trip. See you on Tuesday.
And here's Paul's memo to the Japanese Studio.
GARGOYLE DESCRIPTIONS (Lacy 7/2/93)
Below are general descriptions of the look and feel of GOLIATH and the three teen-aged Gargoyles, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY.
The Gargoyle-master. Physically imposing, muscular. At least a head taller than an average human. Weighing approximately 500 pounds, Goliath is solidly built. Although he possesses many human-like features, Goliath's gargoyle features set him apart from man. When angered he resembles a raging beast. When relaxed there is a gentle nobility to his appearance ... in a strange, rugged way, he's handsome. Goliath's wings enable him to glide and, as such, must be big enough to support his weight. They are not simply attached to his back. Rather, they are an integral part of his skeletal and muscular structure, as organic to him as arms and legs are to humans. When sitting, Goliath's wings drape around him like a cape. When spread wide, they act as a backdrop that frames his body.
BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON AND BROADWAY
As adolescent gargoyles, they're awkward and not as physically developed as Goliath. To a human, however, they're still imposing and beastly. Although the three are part of the same species, each one is physically different enough to establish their individuality.
BROOKLYN: If there's a leader of the group, it's Brooklyn. He's the most physically fit of the group and is the one who most aspires to be a gargoyle warrior like Goliath. In the modern world Brooklyn wants to be "cool" and stylish, following all the current trends.
LEXINGTON: The smallest of the group. He's not as muscular as his pals, though he still is powerful. Lexington natural resting position is more a squat than the other two. Lexington is fascinated by gadgets: in medieval times it's catapults and siege engines. In modern times it's airplanes, traffic lights, video games, etc.
BROADWAY: The chubby one, Broadway's also bigger than the other two. Despite his fat, he has well defined muscles like the other gargoyles. Broadway is happy go-lucky, always looking for a good time.
Some of different wing types for these three characters include sprung from the back (like Goliath) for gliding, attached to the back but too small to be of any use, draped from the arm (like a bat), or non-existent.
So the meeting between us and Kenner happened, most likely on June 30th, 1993. They brought this document to the table. It's very enlightening, I think, as to how a major toy company thinks. You'll notice that their "main concerns" didn't cause us to alter the show at all. Save for adding in a motorcycle and helicopter here and there. There were some things that they were concerned about that we were just able to reassure them about. That the Trio would not just be silly. That Xanatos would eventually get down and dirty with his own armor, etc.
My handwritten notes at the bottom were things we discussed at the meeting, also to help aleviate their concerns. "Franken-goyle" eventually became Coldstone. "X's Metal/Steel/Titanium Gargoyles" became the Steel Clan Robots. We were trying to show Kenner that we'd have some "male villain gargoyles" in addition to Demona.
MAIN STORY ELEMENTS
* Ageless goodness and loyalty vs. modern opportunism.
* Powerful myths.vs. powerful high tech "realities".
* Goliath vs. Demona.
* Goliath vs. Xavier.
* Goliath and his five ancient gargoyles.
* Elisa and her gargoyle team; especially Goliath.
* Xavier and Demona.
* Xavier and his subordinates.
* Huge, powerful, and ugly.
* Immortal by night; inert and powerless by day.
* Ancient, decent, loyal, and wise.
* Possesses leadership qualities.
* Visual power, strength of living gargoyles.
* Day vs. night power phases of protagonists.
* Humorous possibilities of gargoyle assimilation into contemporary New York.
* Traditional good vs. evil conflict.
* Severe visual contradiction of scary/ugliness as good (Goliath); deceptively normal is bad (Xavier, his gladiators, etc.)
* Limited number of heroic characters.
* Key human ally is female (Elisa).
* Key/only evil gargoyle is female (Demona).
* Industrialist as the evil adversary is very familiar and very difficult to translate into an exciting toy. A visually more powerful and more unique enemy would be preferable or increase his powers through armorment [sic].
* Lack of significant special hardware and vehicles for both good and evil.
* Described back story (especially enduring- love/hate relationship between Goliath and Demona) may be too complex for 5-year old boys.
* Four of the six gargoyles (Trio and Dog) appear less aggressive and silly than heroic.
* Breaking the Gargoyles kills them.
[My handwritten notes on the document follow:]
* Franken-goyle & Demona
* Pack / Xavier / Scarab Corp / Vehicles etc.
* X's Metal / Steel / Titanium Gargoyles