Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Musical Odyssey, Part One by Greg Dziawer

Overture! Curtains! Lights! This is it, the night of nights!

"I've worked really hard at what I love - I even raised the money for my first film." 

-Ed Wood, Hollywood Rat Race

It's an old tradition in the arts.
Perseverance. As any artist knows, and Ed Wood surely understood, perseverance is a key ingredient to success. Although he left behind a number of unrealized projects—which is the critical stress point separating those who hit walls and give up from those who retrench—he still dreamed of future projects right to the end. 

There's an inevitable, pragmatic side to it. You've got to fund your art. In days of yore, wealthy patrons supported writers and artists. You could, of course, be expected to have to paint your patron's bratty teenage son. Or, if you flash-forward to the mid-20th century, you might have to cast friends and associates of the patron in your film, no matter their degree of talent. 

Thanks to the internet (seriously), an artist today can solicit patronage via crowdfunding websites. There's equity here, as your project is in fair competition and stands on its merit. You don't need connections, the whole world in reach. And your patrons won't meddle. 

Joe Blevins (superbly and exhaustively) covered Ed Wood The Musical previously at Ed Wood Wednesdays. That was in 2014, when it was an active crowdfunding campaign. And earlier this month, on Ed's 92nd birthday, a new campaign for the musical launched at Indiegogo

Since he first dreamt up the musical in 2004, ultimately composing twenty-one amazing songs and co-authoring the book, composer Rick Tell has remained a tireless champion in pursuit of bringing it to the stage. I recently asked him (via email): why?
Well first, I am the kind of person who hates to give up on a good idea or cause. Second, I really think the Ed Wood story is a story that should resonate with many different people and has a universal message of following your dream and of being true to yourself. Also I love the fantastic characters in his life and feel my score and book truly evoke the fun and tragedy of the Ed Wood story. Ed Wood who ironically escaped oblivion by winning the Golden Turkey Award for being the worst director of all time deserves to be honored and his life celebrated. 

Composer Rick Tell.
Rick went on to eloquently tell me about the roots of his artistic affinity to Ed:
Ed was a dreamer but he was also a doer who wasn't afraid to fail. I applaud his courage and I, along with many other creative people, understand the pain of rejection, the elation of success, and the feast or famine existence we endure for the love of our art. 

And I wondered, finally, how Rick has managed to fight through the frustration of working so long to bring the production to the stage. I should have known better, as Rick's reply reminded me:
Frustration? Show biz ain't for the timid. Seriously, the work is its own reward if you truly love what you do. 

My question was assumptive, and wrong. Which is why I'm not an artist. I can, though, be a patron, and so can you, by making your donation NOW!

The campaign is slated to end in mid-November. I'm going to tell you a little more about the musical, as it moves into its final week. (Or better still, celebrating it having reached goal.) The brilliant device of Criswell as Virgil-like guide through Ed's life. Ed Wood The Musical's previous iteration as Dreamer. I could go on and on, and I will next week right here at Ed Wood Wednesdays.