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Emmy winning television writer/producer Russ Woody and The Wheel of Nuldoid

Posted By Karen Young On November 30, 2009 @ 12:04 am In Arts & Culture,Literary Corner,spotlight | No Comments

IMG_1340.JPG copyBY BJ NATHAN HEGEDUS

Good stories, really good stories often need time to ruminate, to simmer on the back burner until ready.  Russ Woody’s TheWheel of Nuldoid is such a tale. First conceived of over twenty years ago and set aside, it was the invasion of Iraq in 2003, with it’s whipped up frenzy and little dissent, that caused the author to pick up his manuscript, dust it off and get to work.

Russ Woody

Emmy winning writer/producer Russ Woody

Russ Woody’s career as a writer/producer for television has been a fruitful one.  First starting out as production assistant, he went on to write for St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues, soon followed by producer and writing credits for Murphy Brown, Mad About You, and the Drew Cary Show to name just a few. Along the way he picked up both an Emmy and Golden Globe award. But it is The Wheel of Nuldoid, his first novel that he is most proud of.

For the Wheel of Nuldoid is at its core, a cautionary tale of how complacency and apathy can allow unchecked power to blossom in frightening ways. “ I was stunned by the fact that no one was initially speaking out about the decision to go to Iraq and the manner in which private enterprises were being handed millions of dollars in government contracts. Fascism is defined as business running government and this seemed to be happening with little to no objections being voiced,” Russ explains.

When the writer’s strike effectively closed down production in town last year, Russ used the opportunity to put the finishing touches on his book. Late afternoons found him sharing a table at the Aroma café with his son Joe, Joe doing homework and Russ working on his manuscript.

The Wheel of Nuldoid is the story of Leo, a lonely eleven-year-old boy and his teacher, Warren who befriends him. When Leo sets off on a quest with two creatures who have arrived in San Francisco in search of the “treasure,” he soon finds himself heading towards the earth’s core, to Nuldoid, where “crystals” power the earth’s rotation and must be replaced every one hundred years to keep the speed steady.

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We travel first with Leo and then Warren and neighbor Lily, who, after watching Leo disappear through a sliding rock entrance quickly follow in hot pursuit.  So begins a journey through amazing regions with names like Lake of Rubber Balls and Dell of Emotional Trees.  We meet Oidenoids and Harvesters, who may or may not be whom they seem.  A point that should be well taken in this tale that speaks on so many levels. For like all good stories, depending on your age and life experience, there is something for everyone as one travels deep into the cavernous earth.

When asked about the differences between script writing and prose, Russ thinks for a moment and says, “Script writing is visual, character motivation has to be shown through action.  Prose allows you to be in a character’s “head”, to be privy to his thoughts and feelings.  In the beginning I had to be careful to stay in the “right” character’s head at the “right” time.

The Wheel of Nuldoid, continues to garnish great reviews and is available in local bookstores, including Portrait of A Bookstore, as well as online.  Russ Woody is back at work, currently writing and producing for ABC’s new show “The Middle.” Is there a Nuldoid sequel in the works? Possibly. We can only hope it takes a little shorter time to write than the first.

For more information on the Russ Woody and The Wheel of Nuldoid, go to www.nuldoid.com

BJ Nathan Hegedus has been a Valley Village resident for over twenty years, often writing about life near the intersection of the 134 and the 101. She is currently at work on a collection of stories about growing up in N.Y.C.

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