100 years after L. Frank Baum's saga that began with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Gale Family Farm sits abandoned in what's left of the great Kansas prairies. After her parents' messy divorce, Jessi Hugson and her mother move to Dorothy's old neighborhood for a new beginning. Things were already off to a shaky start, but when Jessi and her cousin Wallace find a jewel-studded bracelet in Dorothy's front yard...things get twisted. Twister'd, even.
Now Jessi and Wallace find themselves in an Oz that's a little worse-for-wear. Dorothy is missing, and when her beloved friends went in search of her...well, they went missing too. Anybody with the means to get Jessi and Wallace home are gone and an Unseen Evil is lurking in the shadows.
Jessi must join forces with a new generation of Ozites and save Oz in this new series. Hit the Bricks will be a musical Radio-Play in the tradition of the Audio Dramas and Fairylogues that came before it with a cast and crew comprised of talented individuals who are bringing their A-Game.
Hit the Bricks also has a commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
L. Frank Baum's series is a colorful world full of people who've lived a variety of experiences. Hit the Bricks will be no different. We strive to include voices that fully shape and deepen the world of Oz. This includes characters who are people of color, queer, disabled, and as unique as every creative character from the world we all know and love. We will do everything within our power to consult and include these voices from reality as well, to make this story authentic and inclusive. Not just for the sake of inclusivity, but to build a better story.
We will also work to make Hit the Bricks accessible. We will include the scripts with every episode for anyone to follow along with, regardless of hearing impairment. We will also be working on ways to branch the narrative out from just audio, giving the audience ways to engage that involve all of the senses.
Each episode of Hit the Bricks will come with musical playlists, illustrations, recipes of Ozite food, and formulas for "potions": aromatherapy diffusions and candles to reflect the mood. All of these elements will be curated by the characters themselves.
Only by embracing and recognizing our uniqueness and individuality can we really be brought together.
Proof of Concept: Episode 0.
Before jumping into production on the full show, we decided to put together a pilot presentation that would serve as a prologue to Hit the Bricks, but also showcase our talent and abilities without a budget.
Episode 0: Lost stars Michelle Agresti, Michael J. Andersen, Andy Rumschlag, Dana Leury Shaw, and Tom R. Pike. It features the music of Andrew Preston and his band the Woodsheep.
Hit the Bricks has also gained positive feedback with its pilot presentation from various voices across our communities and sits on iTunes with a composite score of five stars. With only a pilot presentation, Hit the Bricks has over 2000 downloads, has been nominated for an Audioverse Award, and has been featured on Radio Public's Indie Shows to Watch Out For.
Here's what some of you have to say about Hit the Bricks:
- "From taking flight with the Magic Umbrella, to hearing advice lifted straight from the pages of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, PJ Scott-Blankenship creatively pulls the Oz of L. Frank Baum into today's times." - Jane Albright, President of the International Wizard of Oz Club
- "Setting a story in the world of Oz could have skewed too twee, too saccharine, or too ironic. Instead, this pilot for Hit the Bricks feels like podcasting’s companion to Steven Universe or Over the Garden Wall. It has such a clear sense of place and feeling, allowing itself to exist sweetly and without a shred of irony. In 2018, it felt so needed." -Wil Williams, 2018's Best in Podcasts.
- "Hit The Bricks takes a familiar magic place from our childhood and returns us for more lesson on brains, hearts, and courage; all the while with characters that are as familiar as home! Highly recommended to take the journey and “Hit The Bricks” back to Oz with this warm-hearted modern take." -Walter Kreuger, Founder of Oz Collectors United
- "PJ Blankenship and his Hit the Bricks team have somehow managed to package into audio the sensation that I had from reading the Oz books, while still keeping it fresh and new. The music, in particular, helps with its misty tone and dreamy vocals. This was a stellar pilot, and the highlight of the week." -Elena Fernández-Collins, Audio Dramatic
- "Hit The Bricks displays a rich knowledge of L. Frank Baum's world along with a readiness to create new stories relevant to modern audiences." -Jay Davis, The Royal Blog of Oz
- "When I heard the first episode of Hit the Bricks, I was immediately struck by one thing above all others: this really, truly feels like Oz. The world, the characters, the story, the morals, every nook and cranny of this world shows a tremendous respect for the source material, and a desire to make something fresh and brand new." -TH Ponders, Creator of Accession
- "The pilot episode of @HitTheBricksPod came out! This was a beautiful beginning to what I am sure is going to be a fascinating story! I can't wait for the rest of the series! #AudioDramaSunday" - Ayla Taylor, Creator of Tides
- "For #audiodramasunday this week, we recommend the hauntingly lush and beautiful first episode of @HitTheBricksPod. We’re really excited to see where this goes." - Jeff Van Dreason, Co-creator of Greater Boston.
- "This #AudioDramaSunday, we just finished Episode 0: Lost of @HitTheBricksPod and already can't wait to discover where this road will take us!! If you're a wanderer like us, be sure to check out the show." - Eli Barraza Creator of the Far Meridian.
Who We Are
Hit the Bricks is comprised of a cast and crew who are the best of the best, both seasoned vets and newcomers with one thing in common: a commitment to excellence in storytelling.
Hit the Bricks is directed and written by PJ Scott-Blankenship (that's me!) and though this is my first audio drama, I've worked as an online storyteller for the past decade. I was the transmedia head writer for COLD, created by Emily Diana Ruth and New Form Digital for Verizon and I was the director of an alternate reality game, Escape From Eden Park. Its Kickstarter was funded at over 300%.
Hit the Bricks' sound guy is Andy Rumschlag, who's worked on cool projects like Warcraft: The Beginning, Perception, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Andy engineered, edited, and appeared in the Pilot as Button-Bright.
The art of Hit the Bricks is being led by Roxanne Wheeler, an incredibly talented artist who's working on the short animated film Stars Struck. Additional art is also being done by Erin M. Speckley, a self-proclaimed perpetual nerd who occasionally draws stuff.
Hit the Bricks original songs are being written by Kathryn Hoss, a talented songstress from northern Ohio whose music ranges from Lord of the Rings inspired parodies to an Italian operetta of the Little Mermaid. You can listen to a demo of Katie's song, Hit the Bricks (The Travel Song) above! (Click here for lyrics)
The score of Hit the Bricks is being done by Jeff Ball, a formidable musician living in Los Angeles. Jeff's known for his work in Tiny Barbarian DX, Moss, and Steven Universe. You can listen to the theme of Hit the Bricks composed by Jeff above.
Hit the Bricks has a large cast of characters, both beloved from Baum's Oz series, and brand-new. In a similar fashion, our cast consists of well-known vets from some of the best series on the air today and talented newbies making their acting debuts.
- Michelle Agresti (Arden, Wolf 359) is Jessi Hugson, a young woman from San Francisco whose life gets turned around when she moves to Dorothy Gale's old neighborhood after her parents' contentious divorce. Kansas was weird enough, but things get even weirder when she's magic'd to Oz.
- PJ Scott-Blankenship (Join the Party) is Wallace Williams, Jessi's cousin from Kansas. Wallace is tethered to Jessi on the trip to Oz and is assisting her on the journey to go home. However, Wallace doesn't seem to be in as big of a hurry to get back.
- Keilidh Hamilton-Maureira (Married Podcast) is Lurline Quelala, a young witch in hiding. Lurline's parents are well-to-do royalty in the north, but things haven't been great for witches in Oz lately.
- Jordan Higgs (Tides, Greater Boston) is Jacoby Smith-Tinker. Jacoby's parents are the inventors Smith and Tinker, and they created Tik-Tok, a clockwork butler and the last person to see Dorothy. Jacoby's looking for something called the Master Key, which has the ability to wind Tik-Tok but also save Mister Tinker.
- Jordan Cobb (Janus Descending, Here Be Dragons) is Dorothy Gale. Dorothy's story is a well-known tale, a small Kansas farm girl who got blown away to the Land of Oz, where no one ages, and had many grand adventures. 100 years later, Dorothy is missing and the trail is growing cold.
- Lee Davis-Thalbourne (Love and Luck) is the Scarecrow. Scarecrow's moved up in the world since his crow-scaring days, and his wisdom is often sought by the Princess, Ozma. Scarecrow lead the search party for Dorothy when she first went missing, but as soon as the search began, the Scarecrow's party vanished.
- José Donado (The Far Meridan) is Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman. The Tin Woodman became the Emperor of the West after the Wicked Witch melted. Recently, the Tin Woodman sought out Mr. Tinker in hopes that he could fix Tik-Tok. Mr. Tinker gave him the Master Key that could re-wind Tik-Tok, but then, the Tin Woodman disappeared.
- David Rheinstrom (Radio Drama Revival) is the Cowardly Lion. The Wizard's mixture of liquid courage was effective for Lion, but to his chagrin, he found that it didn't make him less cowardly, it just made him more likely to do the right thing. Lion and his partner the Hungry Tiger stood guard over the palace while the others were searching for Dorothy. Soon after that, they were taken in the night.
Our cast includes: Lauren Shippen, Christopher Dole, Lucille Valentine, Rashika Rao, Layla Katib, Bridge Geene, Erin Lillis, Rachel Livingston, Q Dyer, among others AND we're still casting! Best of all, you can audition for Hit the Bricks right now, right here!
With every milestone we hit with this campaign, we'll announce a new cast member!
Audio dramas are the new-old frontier, and while our goal is seemingly low for the scope of the project, we've implemented a way to pack content into longer and denser episodes, while keeping casts small at a time. Cast members all get paid on the same commitment-based scale, and they're aware of the terms of it. We also pay our artists and editors. Everyone gets paid, and that's the way we want to keep it.
While we'd always planned on a Kickstarter to help us supplement the show, it became a necessity after my mother passed away last month and left my personal finances a bit more disastrous. My mother didn't have a will or life insurance, so managing the things she's left behind has caused quite a hit to my pocketbook and resources.
Hit the Bricks is also a project that my mother was excited for and proud of before her sudden passing. I feel like now I have a new lease on this project, and I want us to make her proud together.
If you can’t donate or if you want to know more about the series you can check out and share our official website.
Funding and Rewards
If you CAN help us fund the series, we've got quite the list of goodies for you at various levels! Pledging automatically gets you into the backers-only campaign updates, AND an invite to the Hit the Bricks Discord.
Pledge $5 or more to get the Start of the Road
It's always best to start at the beginning! This tier gets you access to some Behind the Scenes Updates here on the Kickstarter blog, Blooper Tracks when we make them, and your name listed in the thank you section on the site.
Pledge $20 or more: Tuned In, Dialed Up
This one's for the fans! Get everything in the previous tier, PLUS the Hit the Bricks soundtrack with original music by Jeff Ball and Kathryn Hoss, early versions of the Spotify playlists curated by the characters, and a folder of digital art by Roxanne Wheeler, Erin M Speckley, and PJ Scott-Blankenship.
Pledge $30 or more: Technicolor Marvel
You must be a fan! You want some swag? You got it! Previous tiers PLUS, the Hit the Bricks coloring book, a sticker AND a button!
Pledge $50 or more: Out of This World
All the other tiers EXCEPT, this version of the soundtrack is the deluxe edition with additional tracks and song demos! You also get a poster by Roxanne Wheeler.
PREMIUM TIERS: These ones are for serious backers and early birds!
SOLD OUT Pledge $20 or more: Where (Early) Bluebirds Fly
LIMITED to 5. A few of the digital items PLUS an early bird deal on the coloring book.
SOLD OUT Pledge $50 or more, Stuffed with Smarts
LIMITED TO TWO- We're making one Scarecrow rag doll and one Patchwork Girl rag doll, both one-of-a-kind by cast member Rory Nicks. First come-first choice, as well as a few digital items.
Pledge $45 or more: Love of the Craft
LIMITED TO 20: We're doing a special behind the scenes audio series, with commentary from the cast and crew plus interviews! You can also submit your questions for the interview segments and have them answered! Plus, some digital stuff!
Pledge $50 or more: Scrappy
LIMITED to 5: By Popular Demand, we're expanding the line of hand-made rag dolls by Rory Nicks. You can pick out any of the following characters: Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Lion, Jessi, Wallace, Lurline, or Jacoby!
Pledge $75 or more: Behind the Curtain
LIMITED to 5: Some of the digital items, access to the Beyond the Bricks Series, and an annotated script by the director.
Pledge $100 or more: King of the Forest
LIMITED to 20: WOW, you've got the heart of a lion! You get a lot of the digital items, PLUS, you get to give us your input on the episodes before they go live AND you get a special Producer Credit!
Physical items only ship to Canada, United States. Please note, if you prove to be a designated threat to the community in any way, you forfeit the right to interact with us.
Risks and challenges
We are a small team, with hefty ambitions. However, the scope isn’t as daunting once everything has been scaled correctly. Each episode of the show is about double the content of the pilot, which we did quickly and with no budget.
However, things go wrong and unforeseen circumstances can lead to big problems. We are approachable and dedicated. There is the possibility that concepts will have to be changed or abandoned in development, parts may need to be recast, things may need to be restructured, some merch may hit problems in being distributed but we've always valued transparency. We'll keep you updated. We’re quick on our feet. We don’t stay down long.
As we said earlier, we want to create this WITH you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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