Saturday, June 30, 2007
But I'll still be renewing my membership next week!
Wow! In June, I posted 18 blog entries, counting this one! Let's try to beat that soon, shall we?
Oh, and I heard from the new host of The Wonders of Oz today. I should be getting his narration later today, so the final editing will begin very soon!
Anyone want to guess who the host is? I just revealed it's a he. But I'm not telling until the episode is released!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Today is payday, but, due to this paycheck being for a somewhat shorter work week, I'm not expecting it to be very large. From it I will have to extract my half of the rent, and pay back a friend who loaned me $20 when the bank passed a bill to my account, and made it go a little negative again. My friend helped me out not only by loaning me the money, but by dropping off the deposist herself. We were able to beat the overdraft fee, so I just owe a friend $20 instead of owing the bank almost $50.
To help me survive until July 6, I have opted to sell some of my DVDs. No, I'm not getting rid of any Oz movies. I have selected three movies that I have bought, all in "Special 2-Disc" editions. I'm not fond of them at ALL. I usually buy my movies instead of renting.
Anyways, on July 6, I will be renewing my membership with the International Wizard of Oz Club.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Am I really that important in the Oz community?
Seriously! Some people e-mail me like I am. I, on the other hand, feel I am rather inferior there...
- I've never had anything about Oz or Baum published anywhere, except online, all of it my own doing.
- I've never had an Oz story completed to where I feel it is suitable for publication.
- I have never attended an Oz festival or convention.
- I have never met any notable Oz fans, writers, etc. (Well, I have met Roger S. Baum, but...)
- I have never been mentioned in any important Oz item.
Would I like to change the truth of these points? Yes, I would! None of them are impossible. Points 1 and 5 could be done by contributing to The Baum Bugle. Points 3 and 4 could both be done at the same time. And if I had enough time to work out the bugs in my writing styles and stories, I could do point 2.
Here are the only things I have done that I can mention.
- Sharing information and items online via the Club's message board, my Oz website, this blog, YouTube, and MySpace.
- I HAVE contributed some very small bits to Eric Gjovaag that have been included in his FAQ. I've also submitted some reviews for his website.
- I was on Aaron Pacentine's Returning to Oz.
- I have e-mailed some more important Oz figures.
- I'm also currently working on two large Oz projects.
Now... give me your comments. Am I that important in the Oz community?
Monday, June 25, 2007
I mentioned that I now own the first screen adaptation of his first book (The Wizard...), which is a 1974 stop-motion animation version. The animation is not quite on the level of, oh, say, Rankin Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or (closer to topic) The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, but it is very good. This also seems to be a classic in Russia, but a total obscurity here.
I've never been able to read a translated version of the book, but the story does differ from the original Baum version. The story goes is that Volkov used The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to learn English, then later re-told it to his children, adding his own Russian spin on the story, as well as new adventures. He later wrote out his "translation" and had it published.
For one thing, many of the names are changed: Dorothy is now Elli, Toto is now Totoshka, the Scarecrow is Strasheela, the Tin Woodman is the Iron Woodcutter, the Wicked Witch of the East is named Gingemma (which was a Russian word for a mean woman, though I am unsure if it came from this story or if the character's name was came from the word), the Wicked Witch of the West is named Bastinda, and the Wizard becomes Goodwin.
The most notable new scene has Elli being captured by an ogre who wants to eat her. Her firends Strasheela, the Iron Woodcutter, and Totoshka must rescue her.
This animated version is a very interesting way to look at Oz, particularly for one familiar with Baum's books. However, this is not Oz: it's the Magic Land, or Goodvinia.
The DVD has two discs. Disc 1 has The Wizard on it, the entire story. But the second disc apparently animates the first sequel, Urfin Jus and his Wooden Soldiers. I haven't finished that one. It's an original sequel, but I have seen the Powder of Life and a live bear rug...
Want to know more about the Magic Land? Click here.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Of note to Oz fans, MGM's classic The Wizard of Oz has been moved from #6 to #10.
Above it are nine movies that I haven't seen (except Singin' In The Rain, which has moved up 5 places).
I wonder... is America taking Oz for granted? That movie didn't come around easily, you know!
One thing Oz fans forget is that when MGM made their movie, the original stage musical was considered the "Ultimate" version. So, they had to live up to and exceed that. Instead of basing their movie on the play, they went back to Baum's book and based it mainly on that. The play had set a high bar for Oz adaptations, MGM had to set the bar even higher, and so far, none have been able to completely surpass it. Disney's Return to Oz and The Wiz are now cult classics.
I get so sick of it when I see movies being labelled "The Wizard of Oz for our time." Harry Potter was quickly given that label, and so was some other recent movie, but I forgot what it was. (May have been Pan's Labyrinth.)
Why am I sick of it? Do these new movies convey all the same messages and lessons as Oz? I know Harry Potter has some fans in the Oz community (I am not one of them, I've only referenced it as an example of recent fantasy films), but still, I'm pretty sure that they aren't fans of Harry because it's a lot like Oz. I'm a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but both of these are different fantasies. And most of all, Oz is still relevant today.
Stop taking this classic for granted, America!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
And, on June 15 and my birthday, I did not go see Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I'll be going tomorrow... alone. (Sigh.) And no one bought me what I did want for my birthday: a new pair of shoes, so I bought a pair today.
And thanks to Marc Berezin, I now have a copy of the stop-motion animated The Wizard of the City of Emeralds on DVD. Here's a tip... do NOT buy from DVDCENTERCLUB.com or their e-Bay account! I'd originally ordered this title from them, and there was a little mix-up, and eventually I was out $10 with nothing to show for it. (Let's shut them down!)
Sam Milazzo of Australia and I have also been doing some trading, and eventually, he'll be sending me a copy of Oz: A Rock and Road Musical. (Thank God that I have a DVD Player that could be hacked into a multi-region player... legal to do so, but will void your warranty, BTW.)
And the first episode of "The Wonders of Oz" will have a new host, but I'm still writing and editing it. Who's the new host? You'll have to wait and find out. (And no, it's not James Earl Jones... even he was beyond my budget.)
Friday, June 15, 2007
One of them is me. I've mentioned this on this blog before...
The other is Aaron Pacentine, as I shockingly discovered last night.
How weird is that?
I haven't heard anything from Aaron yet. But, as MySpace says he logged in today, I guess he's still alive and was not killed by the shock. (Yeah, right.)
If you want to say "Happy Birthday" to either of us, you can e-mail Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can e-mail me at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment on the blog, or send a MySpace message to the Dorothy & Ozma Productions profile.
Plus, the ads are beginning to annoy me. If I don't get a check by the end of the month for letting them pollute my blog, I'm taking them off! (Already know how to do it.)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
It appears to be the cover for the first of a new Manga series, The Land Of Oz: The Manga.
Oz fans are finally getting one of their many wishes granted.
I will have to go threaten Vintage Stock to carry it.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Well, if the last couple of episodes didn't impress you, this one should. Will. Unless your heart is made of stone.
Anyways, the show is really in two parts: there is a discussion with Aaron Pacentine, Aaron Schultz, newcomer Sean McGuire (how many Oz fans are out there named Sean?), and the returning Joshua Dudley, and then we transition over to a very special interview with a singer named Rolla.
Very early in the first part, Aaron (Pacentine) asks how Sean, Aaron Schultz, and Joshua feel about the transition in the Oz books from the early Baum books to the new ones, like Joshua's Lost in Oz. A very interesting question, but from the answers given, I'm not sure everyone completely understood it. However, Joshua, at least, was able to answer the question considerably well.
Aaron Schultz also talks about the characters that had, at different stages in pre-production, been considered for inclusion in Disney's Return to Oz. Also mentioned is some of the Oz characters in the famous Coronation scene, one of my personal favorite scenes in the film.
Also, there is a discussion about Oz conventions. Some of the "Returning To Oz crew" will be at some of them, others will not. So, those of you who have the time and resources to attend one may want to keep your eyes open!
Now, we interview Rolla, who tells us about her entrance into the world of music, and also her opinions on MGM's The Wizard Of Oz, and also treats us all to a wonderful a cappella rendition of Over The Rainbow.
Overall, a great episode! Go download it now. (Link to your right.)
I'm not going to go into detail about how the opening goes. I'll wait until it's released for you to see.
What I will say is that I will not be using any shots of my hand writing ANYTHING. Trying to write backwards in a way that looks realistic is very hard, so I'm not going to use it... Unless someone who is left-handed wants to send me a video of their hands writing "Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas praries with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife."
(My e-mail is email@example.com)
Anyways, you won't be hearing me until after the opening titles, so I guess I'll have to get started on that one soon... like... tomorrow... (Well, seeing as it's almost 2AM, later today...)
I'm hoping to get a good bit done later on. I have Wednesday and Friday off, and will hopefully have Sunday off... which I really want off from work... It will be my 21st birthday. I'll be old enough to do anything except get Senior Citizen discounts.
I can work on it Friday morning and afternoon, but if the family isn't coming down for Father's Day, I'm heading off to see Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.
And speaking of the FF and Oz... in one issue of Marvel's What If? (a comic book that dealt with different versions of the Marvel Universe, like "What If Someone Else Was Bitten By The Radioactive Spider?" or "What If Aunt May Was Killed Instead Of Uncle Ben?"), they deal with the question "What If The Fantastic Four Had Different Super Powers?" In it, instead of becoming the Human Torch, Johnny Storm becomes made of metal. Some girls compare him to the Tin Woodman, and Johnny also says at one point that he needs to oil himself.
And in issue #100, a back-up story was... no, wait... Why don't I just save it for an entry about how friendly to Oz the folks at Marvel have been? Yep, I'd gladly be in FOOM (Friends Of Ol' Marvel) if it was still around... Is it?
And also, we have "Returning to Oz" episode 24 released. Review tomorrow!
And by the way, I do not see "The Wonders Of Oz" competing against "Returning To Oz." Although both are fan-made series about Oz, "Wonders" is going to be "L. Frank Baum & Oz 101," while "Returning to Oz" is more of a discussion-style series that will go indepth to certain topics. "Wonders" will encourage the viewer to find out more on their own, and, though not quite as strongly, "Returning to Oz" does that too by referencing Oz documentaries, the International Wizard of Oz Club and The Baum Bugle, and other reference materials. (That's how I was sold on getting a copy of The World Of Oz.)
Well, someone needs some shut-eye now... now to pry my fingers from the keyboard...
Friday, June 08, 2007
In the beginning of the first episode, you will hear a quote from L. Frank Baum. Sadly, if Baum ever made a recording of his voice, it no longer exsists or has not been found. (And anyways, in all my research, no one has mentioned one.) This means that no one knows what he sounded like, except that he sang in a baritone voice. (Just like A. D. Stonecipher from Chapter 6!) I had originally meant to record myself reading it, but the first few attempts were unintelligible! Then, they didn't sound so good or I messed up. (Maybe I should've saved my attempts, as one time when I messed up, I started singing the quote all of a sudden, but I did not bother keeping it.) It got even harder when I tried to remove a few bits to make it go faster.
What was my solution? I won't be heard reading the quote, but it will still be there. I used a nice text-to-speech converter, and recorded the results and did some editing.
Another thing I'm still working on is filming my own hand writing "Dorothy lived" backwards! (I'm right-handed, Baum was left-handed.)
The opening credits will look different again, and will hopefully be easier to read. I went back and redesigned almost all of the frames, though the basic format is still retained. The lettering on every frame but the "Wonders Of Oz" screen is now florescent instead of looking like it's made of gold, and many of the "emeralds" look different. Someone also suggested that I change Baum's picture, which I have done. In the revised screen with all those Oz characters, none will overlap the resized emerald. And also, I will not have my YouTube ID on the screen with my name and photo.
I'd love to chat more, but I need to get back to work.
I hope I can get the first episode done in one or two weeks. (Fingers crossed.)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Like episode 22, this is not one of the best, but it is better than last time. (We all have our off-times!) Aaron Schultz has returned for this episode, but not the other hosts. It's practically summer, and the transition between spring and summer is always a busy time of year, likely affecting why so few people have been involved in these episodes.
Dexter Fabi, who was in a few previous episodes, is back as well.
Now, to business. Aaron Schultz talks about what has happened to some of the props from Return to Oz. If you are interested in collecting props from the movie (I once saw a pitcher from the Nome King's Ornament Rooms on E-Bay, couldn't buy it), listen to this episode!
Next, Dexter and Aaron Schultz and Aaron Pacentine discuss more on Return to Oz, including special effects and the trailer.
Worth the download (you'll have to download the last two parts: they're in WMA format and ZShare cannot play them) and the listen.
New on my blog, I added more links to the links section, including a link to "Returning To Oz."
I also did some work today in "The Wonders Of Oz." There will be yet another alteration in the opening titles that I hope will make them easier to read.
I am not a compulsive shopper, and never really have been. Sometimes I'll browse around at a store, usually a bookstore, but not often. Usually I know what I want to get and run in, grab it, pay for it, and run out.
At the shop, I noticed nothing priced over $1.25, but I did see some keychains. Since my last one, a pen that read "A.D.D. Happens," had slowly bit the dust in the course of three months (it fell apart), I decided to see if any would spark my interest.
There were some of dogs, but no chihuahuas, and as that is the type of dog I currently have in my home, I was not interested. There were some of Zodiac symbols, including Gemini, which is my sign, but as I am a Christian and only glance at old horoscopes for a laugh, it wouldn't be right. There were football keychains, both of balls (and soccer balls for the UK version of football) and for teams, but I am not a sports fan. There were also keychains that were a round, flat plastic circle with a hollow curved tube inside were a few tiny steel beads rolled around.
What did I choose? A yellow chicken with a red comb. When you push a button on the back of it's head, it's beak opens and a red light shines.
Cool, a Billina keychain that shoots a laser from her mouth!
Unfortunately, the battery died shortly after I got home.
Oh! Aaron Pacentine has uploaded episode 23 of "Returning To Oz." I'm listening to it now, so there will be a review up soon. (Aaron Schultz is back in it!)
Monday, June 04, 2007
A few weeks ago, Edward Einhorn posted his play "The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Robot" on YouTube. (Part 1, Part 2)
I asked if he might sometime upload "Unauthorized Magic in Oz," his puppet play based on his short story "Unauthorized Magic" in Oz-Story #5. (Hungry Tiger Press is sold out! If you want a copy, drop me a line if you need help looking: firstname.lastname@example.org). He said he planned on putting it up, but wasn't sure of how to get uploadable video from the DVD copy he had of the first performance. I gave him a tip, having ripped video from DVD myself many times. (This can all be seen on the IWOC message board.)
The story is a follow-up to Paradox in Oz and leads up to the events in The Living House of Oz.
Well, anyways, I decided to show this fine story here in my blog. Enjoy!
Oh, and the Introduction to "The Wonders of Oz" has been very warmly recieved. While the reception was not going to even affect my decision to make more videos, it has made me think overtime on how to do the first episode. I've got a pretty good idea. There may be a shot of my hands as L. Frank Baum's in the next video, except I'll have to flip the video: I'm right-handed, Baum was left-handed.
In this episode, music teacher Andrew Kepp (sic) is featured. As a music teacher, he analyzes the first track of the soundtrack album for Return to Oz. His comments will be of great interest to anyone who is interested in music, film scores, film editing, or wants to know some of the somewhat more obscure facts behind Disney's movie.
Afterward, we switch over to a previously recorded interview with Andrew, where he gets to speak about his interest in Return to Oz and Oz in general, including comments on the MGM movie and the 2005 restoration.
That closes the episode, but there is also an additional bonus feature. (There was also one for episode 21, but it was not uploaded until after I'd finished the review.) This is an interview an Oz fan named David Reddish, who gets his time in to share his comments on Oz. He also talks about a tour he had at the Disney Burbank lot, and what he got to see, including some artifacts (okay, maybe not the proper term, but still) from Return to Oz.
All in all, this episode does not cover Oz as generally as has been done in some past episodes, episode regulars Aaron Schultz and Jason Cottle and Travis Black do not appear, but this does not make it "bad." It will still appeal to Oz fans, especially those who are interested in Return to Oz.
Very soon, Aaron has announced, episode 23 will be released, and there will be a review on that one, just as soon as I can listen to it.
To check it all out, the address, once again, is http://www.videosforfamily.com/returntoozshow.htm.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
You see, I currently owe my bank quite a bit of money. A bill from our phone company was charged to my account, after my sister tried to pay it herself. I didn't realize this had happened until a while later. In addition to paying them back, there's the $28 overdraft fee, so the sum I owe is rather large... It's over $300, but not over $350.
HOWEVER! I think I can have it paid off by the end of June! I can already pay $150, and, with saving $50 from each of my weekly paychecks, my plan should work! I won't know for sure until I'm done though. Sometimes unexpected expenses arise. But, hopefully not. Maybe I'll be able to pay off a little more sometimes. (This is why I wish I lived in Oz.)
After that, probably my first online purchase will be with Hungry Tiger Press. I'll probably order John Dough & the Cherub and The Flying Girl & Her Chum together.
Oh, and for the "first" episode of "The Wonders Of Oz" series, I've already got some plans worked out. But let me tell you something: don't expect the same format every time. I've already got a very interesting idea for the opening of the video about "Wicked."