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Our second Garg writer, Eric Luke turned in his first draft on our pilot outline. This memo was my response.
What you may be able to see here is that the structure of the story was beginning to come together in my mind. (If not Eric's.) The brief prologue. Xavier's [Xantos'] motivations, etc.
To: Eric Luke Date: 5-17-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext: 818)754-7436
Subject: Notes on GARGOYLE Outline
Hi. A few major notes for the rewrite, before we get to the page-by-page stuff. First, we really believe we need to focus most of our attention on the Goliath-Elisa relationship. Really give it an arc and a progression. Elisa is intuitive, but she's only human, and when she first sees a monster, she has to be freaked out by it. Even after they stop perceiving each other as potential threats (and we don't think this can all happen in one scene), there needs to be an uneasiness at first. And then, a growing friendship that is the focus of our tele-film. They need obstacles to overcome, not all of which are plot-driven. Again, this is the most important relationship in our story. We must explore it, not just establish it.
The second major note is more plot-oriented. We believe that Xavier needs a more specific plan and motivation. The desire for human chaos and anarchy might sound good to Demona, but for Xavier it seems counterproductive. What good is all his current wealth if the world economic system crashes? What good his bribed officials if the government collapses? And anyway, how would the escalation of gang wars and crime really activate all this? Xavier is basically an acquisitive guy. He sees something. He wants it. If he can buy it or possess it legally, he probably will, because it's safer and easier. If he can't, he'll find a way to take it. This "it" could be an object of art or a huge cash reserve or power or some kind of weapon...the list is endless. If he can perceive it, he'll want it and go for it. A specific plan, visual and exciting, ala Goldfinger or something, would probably serve us well. Part and parcel of this should be a specific need for Goliath and the rest of the gargoyles. Having Goliath run an errand that any messenger could handle isn't effective enough. Xavier should have some larger purpose in mind for our heroes.
We don't think we can get too far into our story and still have our full flashback. Perhaps we could have just an extremely brief prologue in the present, where Elisa discovers the claw marks or somesuch, before segueing back to the tenth century. Our prologue is too short to reveal anything beyond the fact that something mysterious is going on in the present...something that we'll come back to. We don't even reveal the castle atop the skyscraper. We just spend enough time for Elisa to ask the question: "What could have caused this?" and then we fade back 1000 years. (Of course, this transition is tricky too, but we think it accomplishes our goals more smoothly.) We end our backstory and flash forward to the twentieth century with Xavier buying the castle and ordering it's transportation to Manhattan. Since we've in essence told the story chronologically, we can now have fun with the Gargoyles awakening in the modern world. Reveal the castle in the clouds. See their first reactions. They're first meeting w/Xavier, and how he comes across. From the audience's point of view, Elisa's search (activated in our prologue) is an open (i.e. Columbo-style) mystery. They know that she's gonna discover the gargoyles. The fun is how.
Page 1 - Remember, Elisa is a plain clothes detective. She doesn't need a uniform.
Is the "promotional ladder" really an issue with her? It doesn't seem to pay off.
Do we want a crooked Captain McCoy? That didn't really pay off either. If he is crooked, how should he act on the surface? If we decide to make him honest, what should he be like?
Page 2 - Remember, Goliath is not stone at night. Though he's got tough hide-like skin, he's flesh and blood.
We need to avoid talky scenes, between Elisa and Felix, between Elisa and Goliath, etc.
Also, the mystery should last longer than it does. Perhaps we can build up Elisa's investigation. Perhaps she's been investigating Xavier for weeks. (Maybe she's undercover in his organization.) Or perhaps she's been investigating, Gargoyle related stuff for weeks...(really a clue that Demona's been around for longer than she claims.) There are a lot of options.
Is Goliath really afraid of the police? Does he even understand their significance?
Let's not make Elisa too perfect. Her initial reaction to Goliath should be one of real fear. And we need to discover what changes that for her. Does he save her life or do some other admirable thing?
Page 3 - Keep in mind that in the 10th century, Gargoyles are not considered a myth...just rare. With a lot of phony gargoyle statues placed on castle walls, to scare off attackers.
Remember that Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are teens, not kids.
The flower picking bit didn't go over too well here.
Page 6 - Why have the trio been reluctant to explore the city up to this point?
The generic crimes that Goliath and Elisa fight on night one should probably wind up being clues, part of the puzzle toward Xavier and Demona's master plan.
Page 7 - Again, we have to track Elisa and Goliath's relationship clearly. Particularly Goliath's mindset. He thinks humanity's past saving? Does he include her at this point? Does he feel "some excitement" or is he "dejected"? He's basically territorial; how did Elisa convince him to help protect more than the castle in the first place? When he rediscovers Demona, is he fooling himself about how good the good old days were?
Is this all Xavier needed him for?
Page 8 - We're concerned that the rock band stuff might be a bit hokey, not visually fun enough. Particularly, without real rock music. Also, have the gargoyles found a use for money?
How does Elisa feel about Demona? What is the state of Elisa and Goliath's relationship at this point?
Is "electronic detective work" exciting visually? Would computer bank accounts literally list "The Raven" as depositor?
Why does Xavier send his Wardroids to attack Goliath at this point in the story?
Page 9 - How does Elisa find out about the weapons shipment? Does she suspect McCoy?
Do we want to reveal Demona's betrayal here, or do we want the audience to find out at the same time as Goliath? Our last surprise.
How did Demona survive into the present?
Page 10 - Where does this scene between Goliath and Elisa take place?
What changes Goliath's attitude?
Page 11 - A lot of talking is theoretically going on during an extended fight scene.
What does Goliath admire about humanity? How is he different from other Gargoyles, particularly Demona? Is there anything in humans that he aspires to? Does he shift from being instinctually territorial and protective of a specific location to being protective of humans (and gargoyles) in general?
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy