For Lt. Dorothy Gale, surviving a plane crash was easy. Convincing the Army her journey through Oz was real, will be difficult.
The Story: Issue One
City of Emeralds is a unique adult adaptation of L Frank Baum's 1900 classic novel, The Wizard of Oz.
The year is 1968. Nineteen year old Lieutenant Dorothy Gale is an Army nurse serving in a base hospital in Vietnam who miraculously survives a plane crash that was transporting her to Saigon for weekend leave.
The story opens as a still traumatized Lieutenant Gale recounts the events of her incredible ordeal to an Army board of inquiry, two weeks after her rescue from a remote mountain region near the Cambodian border. What unfolds over the next seven issues through Lt. Gale's narrative and first-person flashback, is a bizarre account of jungle survival that borders on schizophrenia.
While City of Emeralds parallels the original Wizard of Oz novel closely, it is far from a children's book. Themes of war atrocity, racism, drug abuse and child abuse are all explored as Dorothy and her companions travel to Oz to seek rescue and redemption.
The Original Concept
Inspired by diverse movies such as Pan's Labyrinth, Apocalypse Now and ironically even The Wizard of Oz, this story began at UCLA in late 2006 as a film idea about an Air Force pilot who is shot down over Vietnam and has a surreal fantasy journey back to friendly territory. The idea was short lived however because I felt the male protagonist made the story far too political. John McCain had just announced his presidental campaign that year and his true life Vietnam war experiences were well known to the public. I had simply wanted the war to act as a backdrop for the main charactcer who goes on an epic journey, not serve as a pro-war or anti-war referendum.
It was not until summer of 2011 that I had the crazy idea of adapting the original Wizard of Oz as an serious graphic novel set in Vietnam with Dorothy as an adult character. I began with an 11 page synopsis last August and am currently writing the fourth installment of the eight issue series.
The Project: Issue One of the graphic novel & animated series
City of Emeralds will be an eight issue graphic novel and eight episode animated motion comic. I am seeking $5,000 in KickStarter funds to finance the artwork for the first issue of graphic novel as well as animated series. This budget originally slated for hiring artists, will now go primarily into funding photography, models, props, costumes and studio space for the photoshoot . The remaining money (minus Kickstarter and Amazon fees) will be used toward soliciting publishers and distributers and to cover any unforseen budget problems in the creation of the first installment. These costs are rough estimates and may change during production.
Should this fundraising campaign become wildly successful by raising far in excess of the funds I am seeking for the first issue, then we will continue production of the graphic novel and animation until completion or until funds are depleted.
Why Eight Issues/Episodes? Why Not One Entire Novel?
Think of Issue One as the pilot to raise interest and awareness. To find a willing publisher I have divided the novel into eight issues at the standard 22 page length. This allows the publisher to insert ads to generate revenue to cover their costs plus it creates chapter breaks and allows me to create suspenseful cliffhangers.
The animated motion comic will also mirror the same eight issue/episode format. It will either be available through a dedicated website or perhaps iTunes if not both.
The Style of the Novel
Most of the artwork depicted here are photo montage paintings created by myself. The style of the novel and motion comic will be a stylistic mix of painted photo imagery and traditional pencil. It will be similar to the Havoc & Wolverine Meltdown graphic novel of twenty years ago.
For most of the characters we will be using digitally painted photography of live actors, a technique we have successfully used before in creation of TV storyboards. This will allow us to rotoscope much of the action for the motion comic. It will be rich in detail and mood.
It is our goal to create something groundbreaking and cinematic.
The Creative Team
I am collaborating with a small online studio in Los Angeles called VisualStoryline that specializes in TV commerial storyboards. My relationship with all the partners at VisualStoryline goes back many years as we were all previously employed at the same Los Angeles studio as storyboard artists and animators just. This is our first graphic novel & motion comic collaboration.
Publishing and Distribution
There are currently no publishers or distributors lined up at this time but we hope to entice one with the artwork and unique storyline. In the event that we can find no willing publisher or distributor, this project will proceed as an independent both as a graphic novel and as a motion comic that will be available through a dedicated website.
A Revised Note on Rewards
Although it is not stated in the rewards, it is my hope to give all $10 plus contributors a free copy of the first print issue or a digital download of the first episode of the motion comic! If all goes well, both.
I don't like to make promises I can't keep as this project is still in it's planning stage, but my collaborators and I are dedicated in making this project successful and do wish to reward our backers handsomely!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $5,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on July 4, 2012.
Jun 4, 2012 - Jul 4, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $1 or more
You receive my sincere and humble thanks. I am seriously grateful to all donators large and small. If I am successful in launching Issue One, I hope to be far more generous with future rewards, but for now I must keep my rewards simple.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $10 or more
A PDF download of the Issue One scipt. As a student of screenwriting, I have learned that graphic novels are deceptively difficult to create because each page is a story in itself with complex detailed descriptions for artists to follow and interpret in many ways.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $20 or more
A PDF download of the Issue One script plus PDF downloads of the Issue One artwork both completed or in progress! See firsthand how a graphic novel evolves from script to completed page.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $50 or more
A PDF download of the scripts for Issues One, Two and Three! This includes PDF downloads of the Issue One artwork both completed or in progress. Read for yourself how the story develops long before the pages are created!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $100 or more
2 backers Limited (23 of 25 left)
Everything above plus an autographed hand bound hardcopy of the Issue One script with B&W cover art! As an added bonus, if the novel is successfully completed, I will print the names of all the $100 plus backers in the final printed compendium or website!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $200 or more
0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
The autographed hand bound hardcopy of the Issue One script which includes glossy color pages of the finished art and the snyopsis of the whole novel with B&W cover art! Your name will be printed in the list of backers in the final printed compendium or website. Also included are all the PDF downloads of the first three scripts and artwork.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $500 or more
1 backer Limited (9 of 10 left)
At this point, I am running out of ways to thank contrubutors. Obviously you will receive everything above but you deserve far more. I can only promise that if this eight issue series is successfully completed and published many months from now, you will receive autographed copies of each issue or the autographed compendium.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012