Exclusive HTF Interview with Randall Lobb (Turtle Power: Definitive History of the TMNT)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Aug 15, 2014.

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  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    RL_RESIZED.jpg TMNT_Cover_resized.jpg


    Home Theater Forum recently had the pleasure of speaking with Randall Lobb, writer and director of the recently released documentary, Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released by Paramount Pictures on DVD and Digital on August 12, 2014.

    The documentary chronicles the humble start and meteoric rise of the heroes in a half-shell, and features interviews with the creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.


    HTF: Good afternoon, Randall. I had the chance to screen your documentary last night and was really impressed with it, and I'll tell you why. I grew up in the UK, where it was known as the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, and I never really got into the cartoon growing up. I was never really a comic book fan, but comic book translations from the book to the big screen have been all the rage for the last with Marvel’s success, but I was really captured by the grassroots story of where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came from, and I had no idea that it started so humbly and so small. So what was your draw to the Turtles, to this subject for your documentary?

    RL: So, the guy who got us into this was, Isaac Elliott-Fisher, a VP. He's half my age and, and much younger than my partners. Well, he approached us and he suggested this subject because my partner, Mark Hussey, and I were looking to do something in a niche and we're pop culture fans. I call myself an OG nerd [laughs], I'm an original nerd from way back, and we were always looking for a way to generate material, something that we could sell to a fan base that was instantly recognizable, so Isaac came to us and wanted to do this doc and asked us to help him. My first thought was nope. And as I said that, my partner said “yes, of course we do”. So we entered into it thinking we would create and market a small documentary that would appeal to the fans. We imagined that maybe there would be a thousand fans, and maybe a thousand of them would pay 20 to 30 bucks, then we could spend, [a certain amount and make a little money.] And that's not unlike the story of Peter [Laird] and Kevin [Eastman] trying to do the same thing.

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    HTF: And so how did you get involved with, with Paramount? How did that come about?

    RL: We started working on the documentary in 2009 and when Paramount announced that they would be developing a new TMNT film we decided to continue working on the documentary and explore getting it distributed timed to the theatrical release. As the new film approached completion we approached Paramount to see if they would be interested in releasing the documentary and it’s turned out to be a great partnership.

    HTF: The synergy between what you cover and the energy and excitement around the property and what Paramount and Nickelodeon are doing with the TV series makes sense. So when did your process begin - when did you first start calling up people and saying hey, come talk to me about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

    RL: December 2008. We started by shooting some mock ads and reaching out to people at Mirage, and we really didn't stop until May of 2014. We have busy, demanding day jobs, and made other films while we made this one, but we kept rooting through the Turtle universe, finding factoids, people, anything we could get that we felt had value and just kept going. And over many months, when our work schedules allowed, we would line up a number of things, people, and do as much as we could with that window of time.

    HTF: And you had great access to the creators and voice talent from the different iterations, and to Brian Henson. Everyone who appeared in your documentary spoke highly and fondly of their experiences, so I imagine it wasn't hard but, how did you get so many to participate?

    RL: Everybody respects Kevin and Peter, and then we'd get Brian Henson to participate, and others would see and say okay to participating. But there’s also a certain amount of reality to the fact that if you're a really nice person, and you are kind and good to work with, and you give people more than you take, and create a positive experience, I believe that things work out for you. We’d find that people who could spare 30 minutes would enjoy talking to us, and they give us more time. In one case 5½ or 6 hours, you know, so it was working.

    HTF: And you got the chance to speak with the late James Avery, who provided the voice of Splinter in the cartoon. And it seemed like everybody slipped back into their voice rolls with great ease and glee. Was that that a lot of fun to witness?

    RL: Well, that was the first time they had gotten together in over 20 years, I believe. It was amazing. It was pretty incredible. The stuff on the cutting would blow your mind. I had James Avery do a lot of Shakespeare within 3 feet of my face with that basso profondo, and I'm a literature teacher as my day job, so hearing that was just spectacular. And then hearing everyone else, they're all very skilled and longtime voice actors, and they were bangin' off the walls and bangin' off each other. It was really funny. It was a great day.

    HTF: Thanks for taking the time to speak with Home Theater Forum today. The best of luck with your documentary.

    RL: Thank you so much.

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  2. Adam Gregorich

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  3. Mike Frezon

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    A definitive history of TMNT? Who knew? :D

    Well, I do now!

    Thanks, Neil! :thumbsup:
     
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  4. Adam Gregorich

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    We have three copies of the documentary to give away. To enter you just need to list your favorite character from and of the series or movies (doesn't need to be a turtle). Standard rules apply: Must be over 18, and have a US or Canadian shipping address. Winners will be drawn at random. Contest closes at midnight PT on 8/29
     
  5. Traveling Matt

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    Do we post in this thread? Donatello is my favorite.
     
  6. Hollowbrook Drive-In

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    So, where's the form to enter the contest?
     
  7. GeneP18

    GeneP18 Auditioning

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    Shredder is my favorite character.
     
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    I'll go with Leonardo.
     
  9. Aaron Silverman

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    Casey Jones is the man!

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    I remember being introduced to the original comic back when it first came out. If you'd told me then where this would go, I'd have laughed and laughed! :)
     
  10. jhimelrick

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    I like Shredder!!!
     
  11. atfree

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    Splinter
     
  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    April is awesome.
     
  13. Scamp

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    Somehow I missed this topic, but if the contest is still active, I'd like to voice my favorite character as Splinter.
     
  14. Traveling Matt

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    Has the contest closed?
     
  15. Adam Gregorich

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    Wow, my bad! Contrats to Mike for reminding me and to the following winners:

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    TonyD
    Hollowbrook Drive-In (my bad for not pointing to the thread as the form, besides, I KNOW April was the answer he was going to go with :3dglasses: )
    Aaron Silverman

    Please PM me your addresses and we will get these out!
     

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