Charlie DVD Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is out on DVD today (at least, in North America). There are three versions available: a widescreen version, a full screen version, and a two-disc set with bonus features.

Obviously, don’t get the full screen version.

It’s frustrating that they even sell one, much less call it “full screen.” In order to make the film fit on a conventional television set, they lop off a little on the right and left, or pan-and-scan. That means you’ll lose any Oompa-Loompas at the edge of the frame.

You wouldn’t kill an Oompa-Loompa, would you? So get the widescreen version.

Or better yet, get the two-disc set. The bonus disc has a lot of featurettes about the making of the film, including how they did the squirrels and Oompa-Loompas. On Amazon, it only costs $19.98, compared to $15.98 for the single-disc version.

john dvdI show up in several of the bonus features. My advice for any screenwriter lucky enough to have their movie come out on DVD: be really nice to the crew that films the bonus features. Think about what they’ll need when they’re editing. Specifically:

  1. Tell the story. They need someone to help fill in pieces of the plot so that it makes sense.
  2. Speak clearly.
  3. If you screw up, or start rambling incoherently, just stop. Take a breath, and start over. They’ll use your clean take.
  4. They won’t use the interviewer’s voice, so when they ask you a question, you have to answer as if unprompted. For example:
  • INTERVIEWER
  • Was is intimidating working with a book you loved so much?
  • YOU
  • It was intimidating working on this book I loved so much as as kid. I felt this responsibility to make sure that not just Roald Dahl’s words, but his spirit…etc.

As I’ve mentioned before, the screenwriter doesn’t get a particularly big cut of the DVD profits. But it’s something. For Charlie, I’ll also get royalties for “Wonka’s Welcome Song,” for which I co-wrote lyrics.

If you feel like shooting an extra few pennies my way, you can order through Amazon here.