Legends of Oz
Podcast #26 — Aired May 1, 2014

This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’re taking a trip to Oz! Ryan Carroll, CEO of Summertime Entertainment, is our guest this week and he’ll talk all about the film Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,which is set to be released on May 9th. Carroll, who is a producer on the film, will discuss his childhood connection to Oz and the reasons why this film is so special to him. He’ll also explain why he believes Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return has a great message for kids and adults, alike! Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Ryan Carroll
CEO, Summertime Entertainment
Producer, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

Ryan Carroll brings more than 30 years of production, finance, and marketing experience to his role of CEO of Summertime Entertainment. Carroll is a producer of the Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return starring Lea Michele, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Patrick Stewart, and Martin Short scheduled for release in May 2014. For this animated feature, Carroll has managed the more than $100 million franchise. He applied his vision to launch the company into the new digital realm, including social media, mobile apps, and virtual worlds. Based on his passion for the series, he acquired rights to the Ozthemed books from Rodger S. Baum (greatgrandson of original Oz author L. Frank Baum). And he has overseen the multimilliondollar licensing and merchandising of the campaign for the Legends of Oz franchise. A graduate of the renowned Goodman School of Drama/ DePaul University in Chicago, Carroll has applied his skills in executive production and funding to more than a dozen films.

Episode Transcript

Gregory Hansell
Hi, this is Greg. Im so glad you can all join us here on Better Worldians Radio. Let me first just tell you a bit about my dad, Ray, who you just heard from. Hes a serial entrepreneur who successfully founded and with MarySue, took public a national marketing firm. Giving back has always been really important to Dad who supports cancer research, disabled children, and disadvantages families among many other causes. And by the way, were the family team that created the popular social game on Facebook called A Better World. It rewards players for doing good deeds while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. To date, over fourteen million good deeds have been done in A Better World by more than two and a half million people. In the month of May, were supporting Cradles to Crowns, a nonprofit that provides children with the essentials they need to thrive. When our players do 500,000 good deeds, we will donate funds to provide one hundred children with backpacks full of clothes and books. On this weeks episode of Better Worldians Radio, we are taking a trip to Oz with Ryan Carroll, the CEO of Summertime Entertainment and producer of Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return which is scheduled for release on May 9th.

Raymond Hansell
Ryan brings more than thirty years of production, finance, and marketing experience to his role of CEO at Summertime Entertainment. Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return stars Lea Michele, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, and many others. For this animated feature, Carroll has managed the over $100 million franchise. He applies the launch of the company into the new digital realm including social media, mobile apps, and virtual words like ours. Based on his passion for the series, he acquired the rights to the Oz themed books from Roger S. Baum, the great grandson of the original Oz Author L. Frank Baum. He has overseen multimillion dollar licensing and merchandising of the campaign for the Legends of Oz franchise. A graduate of the renowned Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago, Carroll has applied his skills in executive management, production, and funding to more than one dozen films so far. Ryan, it is great to have you aboard on Better Worldians Radio today.

Ryan Carroll
Thank you so much, Ray, Greg, MarySue. Hello and thank you for having me.

Raymond Hansell
Its great to have you onboard. I understand just to start out with for our listeners that your connection to Oz goes back to when you were a kid living in Chicago. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Ryan Carroll
Oh, sure. Id love to. You know, its a movie that is very near and dear to everybody. Its the original American fairytale of course and myself, my siblings it was a big deal every year to sit around and watch The Wizard of Oz and that is where the Baum family lived when he wrote Wizard of Oz was Chicago. So my mom bought me the books and I actually read them all. But later on when I was going to school, we were on the north side of Chicago and they have a park dedicated to Oz, Oz Park, and you know, as a kid I always wanted to be an animator. I always dreamed Disney was my big hero and I always had a thought of doing the Oz stories in animation. Of course later I went to theater school in Chicago at Goodman School of Drama which is now called the Theater School or DePaul University and it was always in the back of my mind to bring it to a new level and really go further with the stories than what I had known. So I was very blessed and lucky to have Roger grant us an option of the books and we ultimately purchased them, all ten books. So we hope to really have a long-term franchise that is built here.

Raymond Hansell
You mentioned that Oz Park briefly. Can you tell us a little bit about what impact that had on you as a kid because I dont know how many of our listeners around the country know about that.

Ryan Carroll
Its a beautiful park near the north side, Lincoln Park in the Lincoln Park area and it is Oz Park and it is dedicated to all to the Oz memorabilia. They have all of the statues of the lion, scarecrow, tin man, and Dorothy there. I used to walk through it like I said on my way to school every day and I just it was such a nice place to stop and think and kind of let my imagination run wild so it always resonated with me and its interesting that many years later I found the opportunity to to get the books and to do something further with them. So if anybody goes to Chicago, it is one of the most beautiful places and right around the corner is a great deep dish pizza.

Raymond Hansell
Ah, there you go. Theres a plug. You know, its funny because I ran across one of the original Oz books in a historical village in Sanibel Island, Florida and it was just about the time that we were starting to connect with you guys and I thought I cant believe this coincidence. But I wasnt aware of all of the books that he wrote that were sort of consolidated in some of these other film versions of the story so its really amazing to see how prolific a writer he was during the early part of the last century.

Ryan Carroll
It still is so meaningful because another big thing too when he wrote those books there was also great artwork by Densmore and they had different techniques that they used. So, you know, kids in the middle of nowhere would open the book and not only would they have a great story but these eye popping images would come out to them and so it really, it reached. And it is also so Americana in the sense of, you know, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and again, anything you can conceive, you can achieve. I think thats a real true element of the story is you can reach out for anything and make it happen, especially in Oz.

Raymond Hansell
Especially in Oz. I heard you passed your love of Oz onto your daughters. Tell us a little bit about that if you would.

Ryan Carroll
Sure. I have six daughters. So Dorothy was pretty important in our household but you know, one daughter in particular, Megan, she was so funny. She was probably I guess about four or so and we watched the movie and that Halloween she really wanted to be Dorothy. So my wife sewed up a Dorothy of Oz outfit for her. She wore it every single day. She slept in that thing. She wore it until it fell apart. My wife had to sew a new one for her and she wore that until it fell apart again. So it was really important, I think, Dorothy as a role model for girls because so often girls, especially when you start to get around twelve or so, you start to take almost a back seat in our society. I have my one niece. Actually she always used to get mad. Wed be watching a western or something and the women always had to stay back while the men ran out and did all of the work.

Raymond Hansell
Thats right.

Ryan Carroll
And it used to make her mad. You know, having so many daughters, it was important for me to find that character that could show them they could be anything they want and really have a more dynamic life in our society.

Raymond Hansell
You certainly got the hint with six daughters, right?

Ryan Carroll
I sure did.

Raymond Hansell
God bless you. Now how did you get the rights from Roger S. Baum in the first place? I hear there is an interesting story there.

Ryan Carroll
Well you know, were a modest independent company and I found out the books were available just by happenstance and luck, talking about a unique opportunity. And we really didnt have the money to purchase the books so I wrote a personal letter to Roger Baum and I talked about different stories of my daughters. One thing that is important too and you know, in our society, it is important to not have a girl grow up too fast. When left to their own devices, they can stay a lot younger for a lot longer and I think thats important. The role models are important too. Today you have Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus and its not necessarily the greatest message and so nothing against them or anything but Im just saying I wanted to reach out to girls with a little bit different of a message and that really struck home with Roger. So we started corresponding and had a great dialog, became friends, and as I say, he was kind enough to option the stories to me and give me an opportunity to go and find the rest of the funding to make this a reality.

Raymond Hansell
Were so glad you did. We have the opportunity actually here in A Better Worlds offices outside of Philadelphia to screen the film with our staff, Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return, and we couldnt believe it. It was so amazing. I really encourage our listeners because it is such a richly animated and such a rich story and it is so well done with the cast which well be getting into in a minute, but please give our listeners an idea of where the film actually picks up.

Ryan Carroll
Great. One, I am so happy you liked it. We love it but I am a little biased of course. You know, there is no place like home. We get that from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and we know she we all know that she comes home but what we forgot is home is all torn up. It just got hit by a devastating tornado and she she and the other people have to pick up the pieces or not. So it really starts off with the challenges at home of what has just happened to them, how devastating it is, and how are they going to react. The whole theme of the story is to work together and that is very important from the very beginning to the wrap-up and end of the film. So that is where we pick it up and we go to a whole new place and it is we find it is necessary for Dorothy to come back to Oz to help her friends and the lessons and tools she learns through that journey, she is able to come back home and apply them to what their situation is.

Raymond Hansell
That is a tantalizing teaser right there. Thats a great segway for some of the sections that we have coming up to talk a little bit more about the characters, talk a little bit more about the storyline, and the amazing music which well be talking about in a few minutes. Were going to take a break right now but before we do, Greg has a really exciting announcement about the licensing partnership between Summertime Entertainment who produced The Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return and our uplifting game on Facebook, A Better World. Greg?

Gregory Hansell
Im very happy to let everyone know that A Better World is now featuring the Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return collection. You can dress up like characters from Legends of Oz such as Dorothy, Marshal Mallow, and others or you can decorate your home like Emerald City, Candy County, and other magical places from the movie. You can even care for and love an adorable Toto pet who can follow you all around our virtual world game. Find out more and play at Facebook dot com slash a better world. Well be back in a few minutes to talk more with MarySue and Ryan Carroll about Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return. See you soon.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow to Dorothy. Come in, Dorothy.

Dorothy
I cant believe it, Toto. Were really back in Oz.

Scarecrow
An evil jester is threatening Oz and you are the only one who can help us.

Dorothy
Come on.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Youre listening to Better Worldians Radio. Were speaking today with Ryan Carroll, CEO of Summertime Entertainment and producer of the brand new film Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return which opens in local theaters on May 9th 2014. And now let me welcome back Ryan and my cohost MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Ryan.

Ryan Carroll
Hi, MarySue. Thank you so much again for having me on.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, we love hearing this wonderful story. What was it like having the opportunity to revisit the beloved characters like Dorothy, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow?

Ryan Carroll
It was scary.

MarySue Hansell
Was it? Tell me about it.

Ryan Carroll
Well because, you know, they are so loved in our society and it is probably the most watched film in the world and so we really are were taking on a big job and to recreate these characters and bring them a little bit more current today without, you know, without harming or taking away from what we do know of Oz. You know, there were three films I believe before the 39 version even and its probably about the most successful stage play in the country at the turn of the century there when it first came out. So I mean, for so long it has been so loved and so many people have this image of these characters so we wanted to be true to them but advance them. What we got so much help on was the talent that came aboard and you think you have a vision of what you want until the talent comes and gives you something incredibly bigger and better than you ever expected. So they were a tremendous help in that as well as obviously the directors, Will Fin, and our producer Bonne Radford. So we have been very blessed by the people that came aboard to take this further.

MarySue Hansell
You certainly did a great job. Now as Ray mentioned, we did see the screening of it and it was just wonderful. There was also quite a few new characters in the film like China Princess who I love; she was so pretty, Wiser Owl who said all of those special things, and Marshal Mallow. Can you give our listeners a little sneak peek about them?

Ryan Carroll
Oh, sure. Id love to. I love all of these characters so much and their relationships and the arc of their stories. You know, China Princess was this little very pretty fragile, tough little girl and and here she meets Marshal Mallow who is a marshal made of marshmallow and he is sincere and loving and soft and mushy and they end up being the love interest in our film and how they come together and how they relate and how they take each others frailties or benefits and and how they need to be together is really wonderful. And so we have Hugh Dancy who just does an incredibly great job. He is so sincere and wonderful in the role of Marshal Mallow and everybody falls in love with him. Then we have the incredible Megan Hilty who played in Wicked, the original cast of Wicked, and she was just a smash and she is just a great singer. So the two of them do a great job. Then we have Wiser the Owl which we cast Oliver Platt and I always had an image of him as kind of like Jackie Gleason. He is a big

MarySue Hansell
Oh, thats funny.

Ryan Carroll
The artists really captured it in the characterization of the images and then Oliver Platt just took it home for us so were very again lucky with all of these people. But we also have new characters. We have Martin Short as our villain and you cant have a good story without a good villain and Martin Short just knocked it out of the park with his performance and his singing as the Jester which is the brother to the Wicked Witch we come to find out. We also have a new character named Tugg which is voiced by Patrick Stewart who is probably one of the nicest, sweetest men I have ever met in my life. He is really a great fellow and has been a great supporter of the film and does such a wonderful job in his performance.

MarySue Hansell
Thats great. And you know, you have some incredible talent that was we think. Lets start with Lea Michele who portrays Dorothy. You know, I recently saw an interview with her where she said she always loved Dorothy growing up. Can you tell us about casting her and how you did that, how that all came about?

Ryan Carroll
Sure. Well we were very lucky. We we with our casting director, Matthew Jon Beck, being in independent company and not really doing anything of this level in animation before, he felt that it was important that we went on a real dog and pony show to all of the agents in Hollywood because we had to convince them first that were doing, you know, what our vision was, where we were going to take it. One particular agent by the name of Tim Curtis really got behind us and helped us with a number of the characters but most importantly was Lea. This was probably six years ago or more so her star hadnt really risen to the level it is today and he said, look. Youve got to look at this girl. She is great. She was already on Glee of course and wasnt as popular as shed become later but once I heard her sing, I was floored. But also when I got to know her, she is such a sophisticated, well caliber girl. I mean, she just really embodies Dorothy for me. So its not just her singing but again her performance. Every time I watch the movie, Im listening to Dorothy. So I really have to thank Tim Curtis and then Lea just she took ahold of that role and really embodied it.

MarySue Hansell
So did you say you started this six years ago?

Ryan Carroll
Yeah. We actually purchased the books eight years ago.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, okay.

Ryan Carroll
We worked on the project for six years consistently. Its just the pipeline and the time frame for animation actually takes that long. I mean, Romeo and Juliet took ten years.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, I didnt realize that.

Ryan Carroll
Yeah. It really becomes a labor of love and you get so its different. With live action it is much shorter turnaround time. You have a few months of preproduction, a couple months of shooting, then a few months of postproduction. You always keep the camera rolling because you try to capture everything and then in editing you find some magic moments. But in animation it is completely reversed. You take a year easily if not two years just to create what is called the animatic and that is the pencil simple drawings to make sure your story is working and you create every blade of grass in the project. So everything is thought through and chosen. There is nothing there by accident. It is all by design. So by taking that, you really want to make sure you make the most out of every shot and every element in the shot.

MarySue Hansell
Wow. Yeah. I think our listeners would be surprised to hear all of the work that goes involved in the animation and the development and the voicing. How did you pick some of the other characters out, the talent that you had?

Ryan Carroll
Funny story. You know, coming from Chicago and doing a great deal of theater in Chicago there, I wanted to kind of get that second-city feel a little bit better and the Midwestern mentality behind it too with some humor but some warmth. And the first actor we actually cast was Jim Belushi.

MarySue Hansell
Oh really?

Ryan Carroll
Yeah and from there we started rolling along but we were very lucky to get the rest of them. Funny side story, my sister is a MFCC, Marriage Family Children Counselor. She was a nurse at Northwestern and it was her job to coach Jim Belushi on childcare for his first child. At that time, I was going to Goodmans School of Drama and she mentioned my brother is, you know, going to school for acting. He said oh thats great, good, and so forth. And so years and years and years later as were doing the voiceover work, I reminded him that. He remembered her and it was a funny reaction. So it was meant to be I believe. But Jim got the ball rolling and then we were lucky enough to find Kelsey Grammer and Dan Aykroyd who just brought very uniqueness to their roles and again, with every single talent in the film, they gave us so much more than I ever expected so I have to thank them again and again.

MarySue Hansell
Theyre just fabulous. It seems to me that everyone has a special memory about Oz. Did you find that was true with the cast, all of these different stars that youd cast?

Ryan Carroll
One hundred percent. You know, its amazing not just the actors but the artists and the producers and the songwriters all had a special connection to Oz and they all wanted to work on it because of their love of the story. To step away from the actors for a moment, we had Bonne Radford come in and interview with us to be one of our producers. Bonne Radford, I mean, is great and one of the greatest in the industry. She started her career with Spielberg however many years ago and she was ultimately the head of feature animation at DreamWorks. So as I am interviewing her, I said Bonne, with all due respect, why do you want to work on this little film with this little independent company? And she went on to tell us the sweetest story. When she was a kid, her dad used to take her and her sister to refurbished films at that special theater in LA. Theyd play old films that were touched up and cleaned off and so forth and one day her dad brought her to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It was great. They loved it and she got up and started walking out and her dad said no, no. Sit down. There is a double header today. And then on came Wizard of Oz and it was at that film that day that she decided she wanted to make movies when she grew up and she wanted to make sure we didnt do a bad job of it.

MarySue Hansell
So she wanted to be really involved.

Ryan Carroll
Yeah and she was. I mean, she brought such a higher caliber than we could have. She was tireless on making this the absolutely best film that it could be.

MarySue Hansell
It certainly shows. You know, the Legends of Oz is doing a great social media campaign called Totally Toto Tuesday. We hear thats been really there has been a really incredible adoption rate with that. Can you tell us about that, tell our listeners what it is?

Ryan Carroll
Sure. Id love to. Well were all dog crazy at the office. We used to bring all of our dogs on Fridays until the management told us we couldnt anymore. But so you know, and Toto was such a beloved character. He is our silent clown in the film. He is the only one that doesnt speak but he expresses himself so well. We all love dogs. They have a special ability to empathize with us and feel our feelings and I think everybody as a dog lover knows that and it is still sad to see dogs not have a loving home that they deserve. I forget exactly who came up with the concept but what we did, we put it up on our Facebook page and its incredible. I dont have the exact stats on me but I think its like 80% to 90% of the dogs are adopted every week and we put it up there, a new dog, and sure enough there is somebody that responds to it and ends up taking that dog home. That just makes us happy and hopefully well be able to do that countless times in the future.

MarySue Hansell
Now how can people find out about how to, you know, see some of these adorable dogs?

Ryan Carroll
Great question. Thank you. Definitely go to our Facebook page, Legends of Oz, and every Tuesday is a new dog that we put up there. You can also go to our website, Legends of Oz Movie dot com. So either place will be information about how you can get involved or see what dogs are up there.

MarySue Hansell
You know also I did see them on the Facebook page. They are so cute. Anyway, there are some really wonderful songs in the film as well, this beautiful score done by Toby Chu and we understand that the soundtrack is now available for purchase? Is that true?

Ryan Carroll
Yes. I think they have advance orders going on. It is coming out by Columbia Sony Records and it comes out onto the marketplace May 6th I believe.

MarySue Hansell
Okay. Can you tell us a little bit about that music?

Ryan Carroll
I would love to. I could go on for hours just about the music. First I have to thank Vicki Hiatt, our music supervisor who came on and just had this really interesting eclectic flavor of what she wanted to do with the songs. It was always important to us to make this a musical, especially to Bonne, so we wanted to go above and beyond and I think people are going to be blown away by the music. I dont think anybody is really expecting it to be the caliber that it is and we have had so many benefits. We had Bryan Adams come aboard. He was going to do one song. He ended up doing four songs in our film and he was such a joy to work with but we have Toby Chu who is brilliant and he the orchestral work on this is magnificent. We had a full orchestra in LA as well as a full choir of I believe forty or fifty people and so the sounds of it are just so excellent. Toby just it was a labor of love for him. I mean, we could never have paid him what he deserved for all of the effort he put in. He just kept going deeper and deeper, further and further. We have a number of other great, you know, creators in the songs as well. We had Tift Merritt who did our ballads in the film and they are so touching. Its funny. Well sit and watch the film and the development guys will start tearing up during one of the songs. It cracks me up every time. It really pulls on the heart strings. And music of course does that. It touches our feelings and our emotions and allows us to see things in a grander way. So Toby was fantastic and Bryan Adams, Tift. You know, we had other music by Jim Duly and Jim Vallance in the film so I think people are really going to be very appreciative of that whole element of it. I think its almost like going to a Broadway play once you sit down to watch the film.

Raymond Hansell
That was a comment that we all made after we after we viewed the film here in our offices. We were just taken aback. I mean, the quality of the animation was one thing which we can appreciate because it took us better than a year to basically launch our social game on Facebook and were constantly refining it, polishing it, and enlarging. So that is our commitment to doing that. But we could relate certainly to the quality of the animation but the soundtrack we werent expecting it to knock us over the way it did. It really engages you. The songs are particularly timed well, sung well, they are scored well, and they just enhance the story just as you pointed out. A good Broadway production would really enhance the story. Ive got to tell you that as much as we remember the songs of the original film, I think people are going to remember quite a few of these songs because they thematically really sort of resonate beyond the film itself into what they can do for people here in the real world on a regular basis. So my hats off. The songs and the soundtrack are fantastic and the animation all comes together. So I know it has been a six year journey but I think it is going to be well worth the wait.

Ryan Carroll
Thank you very much, Ray.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very, very welcome. Were going to take another short break right now but when we come back, well talk more with Ryan Carroll about his experience producing the Legends of Oz: Return, and well talk a little bit more about some of the themes that are related to Dorothy and the Legends of Oz and some of the songs and how they tie into the theme to really make this production sing the way it does. In the meantime, were going to play just a bit of the music from the film as we head into the break. So listen in and enjoy and well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back now with Ryan Carroll, CEO of Summertime Entertainment and Producer of the new exciting Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Ryan. This is Greg.

Ryan Carroll
Hi, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
How are you doing? Now as we were just talking about during the break, our Better World game on Facebook was selected by Summertime Entertainment as a licensee for Legends of Oz and I know that that was primarily because of our games focused on doing good, acts of kindness, and supporting causes. You hinted at this earlier in the show but were these values an important goal in the creation of the film?

Ryan Carroll
Well great question, Greg and again, you guys do great work and that is why Brad, the head of our development world decided to work with you guys. Im really thrilled about that. The whole sense of this story is important. You know, its courage and heart and brains and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Especially thats in the first film that we all know so well but this our film goes a little bit further in the sense that youve got to work with people. Its important that youre not just yourself. No person is an island.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Ryan Carroll
And you need to extend yourself to people. In all of the games that well be developing as were going forward, we would like to have more of an edutainment level in there but also and that is not just for learning something that is scholastic but also you know, how do you treat people in life? What do you do? What are the really important actions you should take? And so Dorothy really embodies all of that as do her friends. You know, the most important thing that she is able to do aside from being brave when she is called upon is forgiveness too in the story. There is a very interesting point where she has to try to help a real villain in the story and her choice of actions speak loudly for who she is and what her character is. So its really important. When we first started doing the project, we wanted to build back a little bit more to a sweeter, kinder Americana that we have in the back of our hearts and minds that, you know, I think is really called upon today. I think people need that a lot more. I know I do. I know its important to my kids so yes. We wanted to layer it throughout the story without it being some, you know, hitting people over the head but to see how in real terms she handles situations and lets her actions speak louder than her words.

Gregory Hansell
Im really happy to hear you say that. You know, we share a similar hope and vision I think and I also heard that the film received the Dove seal of approval as a family friendly movie which is really great. So I wanted to spend just a few more minutes and kind of unpack some of the do good themes in the film. Weve talked about Dorothy a bit already and you mentioned the forgiveness aspect of her but it is also amazing, just the big obstacles she is faced with after the tornado at the beginning of the film. She is proactive. She is positive. She gets it done. I think the way that she handles problems is really inspiring and empowering to kids. Is that something you wanted to convey?

Ryan Carroll
One hundred percent, Greg. Its a great observation. Things happen in the world and its not how they happen, its how we react to them whether it is an individual or circumstance or catastrophe. It is so important that we look at it and what we can do about it as opposed to just, you know, move away or let somebody else deal with it. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and the people around us. Were a community. Were a village, I mean, a really big village in the world now but still were a village. Were brothers and sisters and its important that your neighbors are looked upon as your friends and family. So there is a really important thread throughout the story for us.

Gregory Hansell
I have a three-year-old-daughter Tabitha at home that has been in love with Dorothy since I started telling her the bedtime story about a year or two ago and you mentioned your own daughters as well and you mentioned how Dorothy has this aspect of forgiveness and other things. What do you think is all there in Dorothy as a role model?

Ryan Carroll
Well again it is good qualities in people that you want them to have and not that she is looking to be this hero. It is that it is thrust upon her and her choices are from the heart. But she also uses her brains about it and she, you know, fear is in all of us. If you dont have fear, youre just not thinking very clearly. But you have to overcome that fear and take an action and that is true bravery and that is what she does and she also she is not concerned about herself. She is concerned for others and that is really what our mission is I believe in life is to how can we give to others? That openness conveys so much love and that is what life is about is how do we expand that and share it and that one kind act will be rippled throughout society. You know, it is given back. We all say this film; I think it was called Pay It Forward. People do that a lot in social media today where somebody buys coffee for the person behind them or the guy that is down on his luck outside. That means so much because there is no thief so cruel as a man that will steal your hope. So it is all about hope and when somebody can give that to you, that love and that hope, that is the greatest gift that you can receive.

Gregory Hansell
I think thats right. I think thats really right. You know, I love that this role model is a little girl, you know. Talking about that with your daughters as well earlier, you know, I think that has a great message not just for little girls but also for boys too. Can you talk about that a bit?

Ryan Carroll
Again that is a great point because you know, again in our society it kind of forces people clearly into roles that they are supposed to play or assumptions and I think those need to be shattered a little bit. I dont think were thinking broadly enough and I think it is important for boys to learn that girls are just as equal and just as brave and just as smart as they are and I think that is going to impact society as they grow older and they have that sense of worth, that sense of confidence. Boys wont take it for granted that girls are shoved to the corner. I think it is important to have that message in stories. Thats how I learned things as a kid so I hope kids today will get that message.

Gregory Hansell
I think it comes through loud and clear. Im so happy that it is such a huge aspect of the mission and vision of the film. You know, it seemed to me that all of the characters kind of represented their own important themes as I watched the film. Marshal Mallow for example is a really standup guy. What were you looking for with him?

Ryan Carroll
Well he is such a standup guy. I think part of the problem with people today is they dont stop to think and break who they think they are supposed to be. His big challenge in life is going against thinking for himself, taking the initiative. He is finally forced to do that when the person he cares for is in jeopardy and that is a big step. Sometimes people put blinders on. Oh, thats not my problem or I havent been assigned to deal with that so Im not going to look at it. So its important for him to take the courage to have the initiative. He has a warm heart but he has to take action so that is what was important for our Marshal Mallow characters.

Gregory Hansell
And Tugg, Patrick Stewarts character, is sort of a giving tree in the film with the different things he is able to do for the whole team heading back into Oz. What were you looking to emphasize with him?

Ryan Carroll
Well hes a great old spiritual soul and you know, his love for all of these people on their journey, he didnt at all think or care about himself. Hes fine with all of that. He just wanted to give and give and that was such a it was such a gift that he laid at everyones feet. You know, he was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of what they were trying for their dream. He wanted to fulfil their dream and that is a big deal because people, sometimes you get concerned with your own dreams so much you forget that other people have their own journeys and how can you help them meet their dream? That was a real important role for our character Tugg.

Gregory Hansell
Thats great. How about Wiser the Owl? He is kind of a fun, new dude now that I think everyone is going to love. What were you looking for with him?

Ryan Carroll
Sometimes in our society today, you know, we get so I loved all of the digital elements and what it can give to life but also sometimes you can just be overtaken with all of that and be fearful to get outside and run down the block or to jump off of a tree or jump into the water, whatever. Youve got to, again, youve got to be bold with yourself. For Wiser, he is frightened. He is frightened of the world. He is incredibly smart and he is sweet and loving and funny and has all of these great things but he is afraid and again, when push comes to shove, he has to he has to really come to the aid of his friends and in the story he is able to do that. People need to stretch themselves and break away from what from their fear. They have to open up the door and really kind of look at the world boldly and that was his task in the story.

Gregory Hansell
Now China Princess is interesting. You know, you spoke a little bit earlier in this segment about the transformative power of love and I was wondering whether that is how you see her role in the film from a values perspective taking place.

Ryan Carroll
Yeah, well China Princess is wonderful. She is beautiful and smart and all of the things but she is an incredible narcissist and she loves herself completely.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, yes.

Ryan Carroll
And she also, you know, the image of beauty is all she holds in highest regard and title and position in life and so she has her own challenge to break away from that and understand some truer values of, you know, the image that you have is not the most important. The position you have or your looks or what have you and so she has a wonderful arc of discovering herself. They all have a metamorphosis I think. Coming back to Tugg for a moment, he has a huge transition and metamorphosis but they all do at one point or another and we as individuals have our journeys and well hopefully have those transformations many times in our lives as we grow and we expand our soul of who we are.

Gregory Hansell
I thought the Jester was kind of a wild and interesting character that I really loved in the film and in some ways he is kind of a foil for the values aspect. What is it that you think he represents that youre trying to not advance for kids watching the film?

Ryan Carroll
Well again, the Jester again without a good villain you dont have a good story and he is a great villain. He is all about himself. I mean, that is the big thing. Youre just being caught up in your own ego and your own power. It takes you away from everybody else and you are blinded by it and that is really who the character is. He is so obsessed with himself and power that there is no joy and its really kind of what an interesting sadness it is in the story for what happens. He throws himself away because of his own demand for himself. So but I think kids get it. One, boys will think hes cool at first but also his actions, there is a reaction to and there is something that eventually you have to more or less pay the piper so I think thats our Jester.

Gregory Hansell
Sure, sure. Well of course imagination is always key when anyone is talking about Oz. I heard you mention earlier today anything you can conceive, you can achieve, especially in Oz. How do you hope this film inspires children and adults alike to embrace their imagination?

Ryan Carroll
Well 100% I mean, imagination is the greatest gift. I believe it was always Einstein who always talked about it. Imagination is the most powerful thing but for me, you know, we remain in Gods image by our power of imagination. The fact that we can think of something and create it is is the most magical power in the world and in Oz that happens constantly. Its quantum physics. You turn around and anything could be possible and that makes it exciting. There is no limitations. Knock the ceiling off, bust down the walls. Lets you know, there is an amazing world out there. You have no idea how fantastic it can be. You only have to use your imagination to pierce that and allow it to grow. Its a never ending it goes on forever. Itll never end if you allow your imagination to go wild and I think thats in Oz altogether and what makes it so special for all of us.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah. I think thats true. I was definitely touched by that as a kid and sharing that with my daughter like I said recently and seeing that kind of light up her eyes in that kind of way that anything is possible and I have been loving being involved in this project from a development perspective because weve gotten to be imaginative with your imagination and with these characters and thats really exciting and a great opportunity so thank you for that.

Ryan Carroll
Thank you, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
Sure. Another theme that really jumped out at me youve already emphasized this a bit but just to concentrate on it a bit more is this idea of teamwork and community. There was an awesome song in the film, Work with Me, which was my favorite actually. It was so much fun and the little animals and everybody dancing together and working together. What do you really want to bring home there? Youve talked about a village. Youve talked about community. How important was that to this film?

Ryan Carroll
Its essential to the film. Its my favorite song too, Greg. A lot of people love some of the ballads and I love those too but to me, Work with Me is great because that again, for Dorothy, she was able to pull herself up by her bootstraps and go for it and everything. But whats important is to do something bigger and better, you need to work with other people and its a joy and its how you can get through something much bigger than yourself. I think we want to get that joyful spirit in it and that energy and tell that story. The artists all did such a great job with it, the song writers as well as the musicians we had. I tell you, I hope that kids walk out of the movie theater singing that song and they have at times so I think we tagged it with that and its the whole essence of the story.

Gregory Hansell
Well tell me, you know, what have I missed from a values perspective? I mean, I can really see that a lot of thought went into it with the development of these characters and with what youre trying to do for kids and society at large. What else would you want to add here?

Ryan Carroll
Well you know, that is the main thing again, Work with Me, being able to learn all of these skills and be reminded of your strength and take all of this back and put it together. But the main thing is there is no limitations. Take away the limitations. Lets open the flood gates and see what you can create and how you can impact the world and I think that with kids, I hope that theyll get that, that they can be empowered to take action and that is a glorious thing.

Gregory Hansell
Have your kids seen the film? What did they think?

Ryan Carroll
Theyve seen it hundreds of times. Theyre the biggest critics in the world but they it helped us along the way because they love movies. I handed that down to them of course. We watch movies all of the time. We love animated movies and their sensibilities helped me because I cant look through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old-girl per say or a five year old. So their opinion, how they were affected really showed me a great deal. I cant assume that they are going to get something. I have to see how it affects them. And so throughout all of it, you know, were constantly making little changes and touches all the way through until just not too recently and they helped. They loved the movie. Theyre very proud of it and they feel that they have contributed to it. As a matter of fact, my one daughter is the voice of Dorothy as she is jumping up these stones and all of the extra voiceover work she did so every time I watch it, I think of her. But yeah. They helped to polish it. They gave me a lot of energy and belief in what I was trying to do.

Gregory Hansell
Thats great. I cant wait to share the film with Tabitha. You know, one question I ask to all of our guests at the end of all of our shows is about how their work helps to make a difference. Weve talked about so many themes, so many values just now, teamwork, community, friendship, love, imagination, and more. Let me ask you. How do you see Legends of Oz: Dorothys Return helping to make it a better world?

Ryan Carroll
Well what a great big question and I love it. The reason I got into filmmaking is because films affected me as a kid. They helped me. You know, Its a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies and that affected me as I made choices in my life. You know, they can be subtle and they make a great story and adventure out of it but there is still something, there are lessons to be learned. How are you going to point people in the right direction if you dont give them some story to illustrate it? So the most important thing again is that you have people take advantage, break out of their molds, be involved, get into action. I think these will I think kids will want to do that. So yeah. I think those are really important issues in our world today. They always were and they will always be and I think that the more that you can illustrate it in an entertaining way that people can take home with them and it sits in the back of their mind and they sleep on it and it embodies it is very powerful. The storytellers throughout time impact their societies and I think there is a responsibility to that and thats why I was very thrilled and excited and I feel privileged to be the shepherd of this project. You know, the talent that came to help this are far more talented than I am but I was just the guy that was lucky enough to find and bring them. I was the glue that helped bring them to the project. And so I really hope that the people, the parents, the kids, they watch this, get those senses, and also I think theyre just darned good role models and Id rather have kids have that than other things.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah. I have to say that its an amazing venture and were very happy and proud to be part of this as well. When you mentioned the Its a Wonderful Life, people often say to me why is that among your most famous films since everyone is crying in the end? Of course I tell them I dont cry but then at the end of the film, Ive got hankies all over the place. Its really interesting how we resonate with this. Our last few guests in the month of April were Mr. Rogers and Me, a documentary that basically talked about a quote from Mr. Rogers from his mother that said when a crisis happens, look to the helpers. Thats what youre going to see a lot in this movie. And another one recently that we just aired was with Orly Wahba of a program but charitable organization called Life Vest Inside in which basically it is a paying it forward type of film and a paying it forward type of movement, so very much consistent with all of our guests. I really want to thank you for participating in this in this broadcast with us today, Ryan.

Ryan Carroll
It was absolutely my pleasure. Great to meet you guys and I think what youre doing is wonderful and Im sure youll have great success and Im sure well have an opportunity to speak again.

Raymond Hansell
Okay. In the meantime, as for our listeners, you can also be part of this amazing film and take a look at it as soon as you can. It is out next week. We have an excellent lineup of guests coming up including Trevor Blake who wrote the book Three Simple Steps which Im sure youll really want to hear next week and we have openings for other guests. If you can think of anybody that would make a great guest, please send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com. Please check out Legends of Oz collection on the Better World by going to Facebook dot com slash a better world. Once again, thanks everyone for joining us today and joining the Better Worldian community and at the conclusion I always add please, until next time, be a better worldian.