Film / The Wizard of Speed and Time

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Look for the wizard in the robe of green, for I will help you find your dream!

The Wizard of Speed and Time was originally a 1979 Stop Motion short film by freelance filmmaker Mike Jittlov. The titular wizard was a speedy green-cloaked fellow (played by Jittlov himself) who ran around the world spreading magic as he went by, until slipping on a Banana Peel sends him flying straight into a pile of film cans, which he proceeds to animate along with plenty of other film equipment to a merry jig.

WOSAT, as it's commonly acronymed, was shown on an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney which showcased special effects to coincide with the release of The Black Hole. It has since been shown around many sci-fi conventions to great acclaim, prompting Mike to remake the short as a feature film... about making the short. After 5 years in the making, the feature film WOSAT was released in 1989 to limited theater showings, but has since gained a cult following through Laserdisc and VHS releases.

By permission of Mike Jittlov himself, the movie has been made available to anyone who wishes to watch it on YouTube (and can be downloaded and spread around, so long as you don't intend to profit from it). It can be found here.

It's about a freelancer's exaggerated but all-too-real journey through the corrupt and convoluted Hollywood system, and his drive to defy the system and make his own destiny in filmmaking; that's something that many of us folks can relate to, no?

Tropes

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    Both films 
  • Banana Peel: The only thing that can stop the Wizard in his tracks, not that he slows down!
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The Wizard bursts with them, using them to light lamps and create paper stars for his fans.
  • Le Parkour: During one sequence, he slides along a wall through stop motion photography, each frame capturing him jumping onto the wall, only moving in position ever so slightly until the movement was captured down the wall.
  • Stock Scream: The Wizard lets out a Goofy Holler when he hits the banana peel.
  • Stop Motion: Featured extensively, mostly Pixilation along with animated objects.
  • Super Speed: The main power of the Wizard.
  • Walk on Water: Jittlov runs on water, kicking up a giant fantail of spray, in both versions of the "Wizard's Run".

     1979 short 
     1989 feature 
  • As Himself: At the start of the credits Mike is credited as being played by "The Wizard." The Wizard is credited as being played by himself.
    • In "The Crowd Scene" at the end, the audience is comprised of Sci-Fi convention attendees who all provided their own costumes.
  • Bait and Switch: Used for numerous buildings as the exterior shot would show a tiny shack/van but be Bigger on the Inside every time.
  • Car Chase: Labeled in the film's climax as "The Chase Scene".
  • Cool Bike: Jittlov's bicycle looks like the cousin of Pee-Wee Herman's bike, and has such interesting features as propelling itself uphill and giving potential thieves an electrical shock.
    • Unfortunately, he has to sell it to fund his film, and its new owner seems to shock himself away.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Harvey Bookman, who placed a bet with Lucky Straeker that Jittlov could not make his movie. He went so far as to hire thugs to act as policemen to personally capture Jittlov for his freelancing, but it failed in the end, costing him his job.
  • Exact Words: Harvey tells his secretary to block any calls from Jittlov "and his friend Lucas." George Lucas soon calls and said secretary tells him Harvey has been Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • Executive Meddling: In-Universe, Harvey tries everything in his power to stop Jittlov from making his movie, even though it was people higher-up than him that suggested that he be used in the first place.
  • Handshake Refusal: Jittlov, in the film and in real life, refuses to shake hands with people.
    • This leads to an excellent rebuttal while at the Dr. Magic Show office, when the secretary goes to throw him out.
    Dora Belair: Look, you work with me, I expect a pro. You don't even shake hands; you oughta see a shrink!
    Mike Jittlov: Miss Belair, if you feel compelled to grab part of my body and shake it before you can even be friendly, you've got far worse problems than you think I have.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: Subverted as the "policemen" driving it are actually petty criminals hired by Bookman to track down and capture Jittlov to prevent him making his movie.
    • It's averted for the actual policemen.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: As a stark contrast to Bookman's Only in It for the Money attitude, Straeker has faith in Jittlov's project and grants him creative freedom.
    Bookman:You expect me to use this guy's garage home movie and put it on nationwide television?!
    Jittlov (weakly): It's going to look professional!
    Straeker: Well, Disney started in a garage.
    (he and Cindy exchange glances of agreement)
  • Imagine Spot: Many of them are lifted from Jittlov's short films for Disney, including a Mickey Mouse satellite (used for the opening of the original Disney Channel) and car.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Cindy meets up with Mike in the elevator of Hollywood Studios, she reminds him who she is by telling him that she "gave him the clapnote ." What she means is that she applauded him earlier that day, but the other occupants flinch back in horror.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Cindy believes this at the end of the movie when the broadcast gets interrupted by the President and Jittlov goes into a depression.
  • Leave the Camera Running: When Jittlov confronts Bookman about the under-valued check he got earlier and gets thrown in Bookman's pool for his trouble, what follows is a whopping 2 minute uninterrupted shot of the crowd looking on in horror and banter between Bookman, Straeker and a few of the party-goers who they were talking to earlier.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Jittlov spends almost the entire movie in a green jacket and blue jeans. Lampshaded by Bookman when he and Straeker come to check his progress:
    Bookman: Doesn't he ever wear anything else?
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: See Painting the Medium. As the CEO of the studio says, "I know these people, they are special effects!"
  • Medium Awareness: The movie fully knows it's in a movie, with captions that indicate different scenes and, during Harvey's rant about the numerous camera angles early on, the camera shifts for every single one.
  • Meta Fiction: The film is about making a short film, the corporate executives who want the filmmakers' money, and the process of making stop-motion effects.
  • Painting the Medium: Jittlov seems to have strange powers related to special effects, including the ability to go through walls, move in fast-motion, and even read minds, finding out that a rather irate secretary that badmouthed him once had a rather interesting night in the office.
    Jittlov: "It's a special effect!"
  • Rock Bottom: What Jittlov and Lucas experience during the filming of the film can sequence in his garage. From pesky bats and bugs to strong winds and even a monsoon. Seemingly all from Mike's exuberance.
    Lucas: Don't say that!
    [Rumbling]
    Jittlov: Or calm weather! Perfectly calm...
    [Rumbling stops]
    Jittlov: What are you doing?
    Lucas: Praying for reality...
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Gloriously subverted. Mike deals with the Hollywood unions' bizarre rules, Bookman's Executive Meddling and attempts at ripping him off, and the police chasing him at Bookman's command. Despite this, he finally manages to get the film broadcast, only for the broadcast to be interrupted by a presidential address that rambles on incessantly. In a fit of rage and depression, Jittlov grabs all the remaining copies of the film and burns them, adding the script to the fire for good measure. Then, to cheer him up, Cindy takes him on a trip around town. When the presidential address ends, the short film Mike worked hard on is finally broadcast and develops a following.
  • The Stinger: One that's appropriately about people not staying after the credits end.
  • Tag Line: "His life is a special effect."
  • Take That: The entire movie is a celebration of the spirit of creativity and a jab against unions and bureaucrats who want to impede it for the sake of just making money.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: The movie is full of these from beginning to end, but no more so than at the Wizard Run sequence, which contains what amounts to Mike Jittlov's personal manifesto about the power of the creative spirit, elucidated one frame and sentence at a time.
  • Weird Trade Union: The unions/guilds of Hollywood, from the confusingly convoluted Camera union to the goofy Animation union, complete with an "a-hyuk!". Either way, there's no way that Jittlov could even try to join these unions unless he wants to go crazy.
    • In addition, each union representative is played by the same guy standing in the same place, with the differences in their appearance caused entirely by different costumes and camera angles.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Without his car or his bike, all that Jittlov has to travel to the studio with his film is a modified motion control rig used previously in the film (looks like a briefcase).
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