If anyone would be so kind as to look at my script "How the Wizard Came to Oz", I would greatly appreciate it. This story is based on my first published book that came out in 1991. Though I am a writer and have a few books under my belt, this is the first screenplay I have ever attempted. Any help in pointing out what I might have done right or wrong would be welcome.
Thank you for reading.
Isn't Sam Raimi currently directing "Oz, the Great and Powerful" - about how the wizard came to Oz?
About 5 or 6 years ago I made the mistake of sending a copy of my book to Disney, asking them if they might be interested in making it into a movie. They sent it back saying they don't look at unsolicited material encase they would be interested in pursuing a similar idea. Draw your own conclusions.
That said; I have no delusion that my script will be picked for the Development Slate, or that anyone will ever film it. But I want people to know there was a first telling of this story - it first appeared as a short story back in 1976 when I was still a teenage writer - and want to know what people think about my version.
My story doesn't only tell the origin of the Wizard of Oz - starting when he is a young boy on the run with his crooked father - but also the origins of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Yellow Brick Road, and the Emerald City.
Just give the story a chance. Let me know if I was right about it when I first sent the book to Disney.
Thanks for your responce.
That's different enough from what Disney is doing that it might work. Disney has folks who search books and other media for possible stories. They may have come across your book and got the idea from that.
Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Keeling.
Also worth looking at - apparently there are some weird rights issues around the Oz books.
My story has had a copyright since 1991 - it will be 21 years old this December. Besides, who better to do the real origin of the Wizard of Oz but Warner Brothers.
But really, I'm just hopeful people will read my script and enjoy it.
Thank's for reading.
If I have time I'll take a look...
I can't ask for anything more.
I took a quick scan of your script.
You've written an intriguing story - from what I can see so far. I'm going to try and find time eventually to read the whole thing.
I can help you with one issue I noticed right away. And its a simple fix.
Screenplays are always written in present tense. I know you've adapted this from your own novel, so have probably maintained the tenses of that work.
But you'll have to go through and change the action to present.
EXT. THE BALLOON - DAY
Afternoon, and crowds of men, women, and children made (make) their way to the big top.
Also, your descriptions are lovely, but too 'novelesque'. A good edit could reduce and tighten to a more streamlined screenplay form.
But these are just matters of different form convention.
I can't comment on character etc without a proper read.
I am curious, since I've never actually read the Baum books, how much of Oscar Diggs back story you drew from the novels and how much you invented?
I think its a very clever imagining. I'd be really interested to compare your script with Oz the Great and Powerful. Given that you published in 91 and sent to Disney, its not entirely impossible that they didn't get the spark of their project from your idea.
Of course I am not informed enough on either script to make that claim, but as you said above, draw your own conclusions... which I will when I've read both:)
And if yours was the original spark, it sucks that it wouldn't be possible to get made after the Raimi behemoth.
Thank you for your kind words, B.
It should be noted that L. Frank Baum said very little about origins of the Wizard of Oz. He gives him his very long name. He states that the Wizard came from Omaha and that he changed his last name from Diggs to Zoroaster because his father was a crooked politician. Oscar is a ventriloquist who works at a circus, and is eventually carried away to Oz when his balloon ropes break. Once in Oz the people declare him a wizard after seeing him coming out of the sky and build him the Emerald City. Knowing there are powerful witches living all around the Land of Oz, Oscar hides away in the Emerald City, and doesn't emerge until Dorothy and friends find out his secret.
That is what I had to start with when I write my book - everything else - especially all his interactions with Glinda and the two Wicked Witches I invented.
My movie will probably never be made, but putting the script here on Amazon is the next best thing. At least people can see what might have been. Hopefully more kind people will read and enjoy it.
Once again, thanks for you kind words and assistance.
One thing I can assure anyone thinking about reading "How the Wizard Came to Oz", it won't be what you are expecting. This isn't exactly the Land of Oz you remember from the 1939 movie. This is a place where danger lurks around every corner. A place of savage beasts, powerful magic, and a giant wizard-eating monster. You will find many unexpected twists and turns along this Yellow Brick Road. "How the Wizard Came to Oz" is a place where you will see known characters in a new light. So hurry and read it today!
(LOL) My movie trailer - without the actors, scenery or movie.
I'll try and get to it in the next few days - certianly 'high concept' = I won't be surprised if AS srick it on the 'Notable List'...
all the best, jim.
Thank you, Jamster for saying such nice things about my humble script.
It's amazing how many wonderful and very helpful people there are on Amazon. Hopefully more of you will take a look at my script and let me know what you think. Your input is very important to me, and I welcome any suggestions as to how I can make my movie better.
Donald, I just gave it a quick read and here are my initial thoughts.
The 'past' tense is extremely distracting although easily fixable and there is way too much description which slows the pace/read down immensely.
I think the opening twenty pages can be reduced to around 12-13 pages to get into the 'real' story quicker.
Lose all the continuer’s and most of the () actions/thoughts/asides = totally unnecessary and redundant in a sp.
As for the story itself, I can see that you're really trying to tap into the style of the classic 1939 version, and to be honest I'm not sure if it works as is and if a modern update will serve you better?
BUT it's your baby and if that's the way you want to go I totally respect that.
As far as what's written on the page - you obviously know what you’re doing and I like your 'licks' but as previously mentioned sp's are written totally different from novels and this could do with a total go over which will reduce your page count to around 105-107 pages.
Donald I shall read again and focus more on the actual story elements mid-week - all the best, Jim.
Thank you, Jamster. All of that was very helpful. Many people have said my writing is very descriptive, and that has always worked for my books - but I wasn't sure how well it would work in a script.
I am learning a lot here on Amazon, it's become a very rewarding experience.
I would like to mention here that the little I know about screenwriting I learned from my cousin Jim. He was a musical director, but he also did some acting and wrote some scripts for TV. In college he was roommates with John Goodman who played the husband on the "Roseanna" TV show. I know Jim wrote a few scripts for TV, but the only show I remember right now was the old "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" series.
Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago from cancer. I really wish he were here now, as he would probably have some real insight into how I could make my script better.
As I stated earlier, I doubt "How the Wizard Came to Oz" will do very well here - but I would like to dedicate my script to the memory of my cousin Jim. He was really very talented and died much to young.
I worked with Al Burton, the creator of ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman‘… great show!!!! Wow, your cousin must have been a very talented guy, I guess it runs in the family.
I believe your work is going to be a great asset to Amazon Studios my friend.
P.S. I am very sorry for your loss; I think Jim would be proud to have such a magnificent dedication to his memory.
It's a small world.
Thank you for your very kind words, Mr. Luckett. I truly appreciate them.
'It's a small world.'
Which oh so many on these boards don't realise...
Donald, your screenplay will have to compete with Gregory Macguire's re-imagining of Oz, which I have to say is very interesting. He wrote the novel "Wicked" that the Broadway musical is based on. You have a very high hurdle to clear.
Hugo Award Winning Author Philip Jose' Farmer wrote the following in 1992 about my book on which the screenplay is based:
"How the Wizard Came to Oz" should be a fun trip for all OZ fans and for fantasy fans who still retain their childhood sense of wonder.
However, the only way you'll ever know if it's as good as "Wicked" (which is an excellent book) is to read my script, then let me know what you think. I value hearing your opinion.
Thanks for posting.
I would really appreciate it if people would read through my script and let me know what they think. I know many of you are to busy to write a review, so just post your opinions here. It would be a great help to me, as this is my first movie script.
Thanks for reading.
Congratulations to Matthew A Gossett (Origin of a Species) and Federica Badia (Javi and the Treehouse Club) for making it to the Development Slate. Well done both of you.