Cinema Studies: The Wizard of Oz

Film: The Wizard of Oz

Logline: A young girl gets swept up into a fantastic world and must find her way back home while avoiding a wicked witch. (my logline)

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. (imdb's logline)

This was an interesting assignment. The script was a beast to read. It was not really concise and it was very specific all at the same time. I learned alot about the abbreviations used in screenwriting that pertain to camera movements and angles.

Here's an attempt to board a scene from one of the greatly detailed paragraphs of the script:

Something happened here. I think I either got bored or frustrated. See, these are thumbnails... they're not really full fledged drawings and yet they took me a long time. Storyboarding combines filmmaking, drawing, and writing all into one. It's like a map for a movie. Or maybe like an instruction manual.  I always knew it was hard.

I went back to the film and copied what happened just before this scene.

One thing I noticed, particularly with the script, is that is used a ton of abbreviations that I didn't know about. From earlier scripts, I figured out that MS means Medium Shot and LS means Long Shot, but then there's XLS and MLS, and MCU and CU and CAMERA PULLS BACK.

So I took note of that and tried to find out what each abbreviation was.

After reading the script and watching the film, I studied a little bit of the history in how this film was made and I found out why the script was so hard to read. There were several writers working on the script at once! And several of them didn't know others were working on it!

It's a wonder how they kept it so concise!

I learned a lot of about film techniques from studying the Wizard of Oz. I'm sure there's a lot more I could take away from this. I might review it again after I learn a bit from Hitchcock in the month of February. I was going to kick it off with The Birds, but I fear it might be a bit gruesome, so I might go with North by Northwest instead.

Til next week!