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Someone has ALPHABETIZED ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the result is amazing
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The Wizard Of Oz
Matt Bucy
Someone has ALPHABETIZED ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the result is amazing

Matt Bucy is probably best known in the world of fan fiction—he’s the co-producer and cinematographer for the impressive and ongoing series of fan-made Star Trek episodes called Star Trek Continues which endeavors to function (unofficially and non-canonically, of course) as a continuation of Star Trek TOS after its third and final season. Five episodes have been made since 2013, all of which have done a fine job of recreating the look and feel of the original 1960s Star Trek episodes. All of them are viewable online, and a sixth episode is scheduled for release this spring.

And somehow, amid his professional work, Bucy found the time to pull of one of the most brain-meltingly OCD remix stunts ever attempted: he’s alphabetized the indelibly classic 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. The result is called Of Oz the Wizard, and it’s a mind-scramble to watch. So we’re clear on what exactly has been done here, Bucy re-edited the entire film so that every word of dialogue appears in alphabetical order—he even rearranged the credits. Repetitions of oft-recurring words are sometimes jarring, sometimes hilarious, sometimes actually musical. My favorite sections are “ARF” (I’m a dog person, sue me), “DEAD,” “HOW,” and, surprise surprise, “ROAD.” (Don’t even get me started on “BECAUSE,” good lord…)  I had to know what kind of person would do something so wonderfully insane, so I reached out to Bucy, who was kind enough to spare us some of his time to answer questions.


Matt Bucy: It was a challenge from a friend, Ray Guillette, to do something never done before. While on a short road trip, he said he didn’t think anything original was possible. I said nonsense! He asked for an example. I hatched the idea then, pretty much complete, and we riffed on the idea for a while. Then I totally forgot about it. But a couple years later he asked me when I was going to make this original thing. I said I’d hop on it right away and thanked him for saving the project!

DM: When was this done and how long did it take?

MB: The idea was hatched in 2001 (I think) and then I actually did it in April 2004. It has been shown sporadically since then, most recently at MIX in NYC a couple years ago.

It didn’t take too long. In a couple of days I wrote a bit of code to help disassemble the movie, then the disassembly took me and another friend three days to complete. It was a manual process but it went very quickly. It was pretty difficult to speak after a day of disassembly! It really messed with my head. The credits took another day. I had to wait for the right moody clouds to show up where I live so I could re-shoot the sky pan that lies under the credits. In total no more than a week of work.

DM: I really love the rhythms that are created by some of the most oft-repeated words. And there are some long passages of wordlessness. Could you talk about what edit criteria other than the alphabet you followed, or were those decisions more intuitive?

MB: The editing criteria were simple and strict. Alphabetical then chronological. The only subjective decisions were about how to spell things like screams and breathing. I consulted a friend, James Sturm, who co-founded the cartoon school here in town about some of these since they appear in cartoons all the time.

DM: You dug around in the guts of a classic piece of popular art, one that people know intimately already. How did the process transform your view of the film?

MB: My appreciation for the film increased enormously, mostly in a technical sense while disassembling. I saw and heard things I’d never seen before and which you would only see going frame by frame. I saw how much craft there is in the film. With headphones on and listening to sections over and over I heard how much the soundtrack is edited to sound smooth, for instance. I had no idea what the final result of my edit would be. I had concern that it’d just be a mess, but on first play that concern evaporated into laughs, screams, jumping up and down and astonishment. I got pretty excited!

Interesting discovery: there are less than a thousand unique words in the film. Most words are used only once. Also, there are mistakes! And people are finding them and letting me know, some angrily! Amusing. I guess that’s what happens when you mess with a classic.

Via Negativland’s Facebook page

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Jodorowsky on blast: El Topo and Holy Mountain get an audio-visual remix
Animator of twisted Lewis Carroll reboot ‘Malice in Wonderland’ has done a bizarre ‘Wizard of Oz’

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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