Song: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Carries On
Source: Jim Henson (productions and behind the scenes)
Summary: Take what you've got and fly with it!
There are two different places this vid comes from. The first is super-boring: I was struggling as a vidder to grow beyond the box I felt I was trapped in and I despaired to fan_eunice on IRC that I just didn't have whatever it took to, say, make a whole room of people cry. She virtually batted me about the ears and told me that she had every faith that I was completely wrong.Sometime after that, I was in a weird depressive funk where I wasn't sad, I was just... emotionally unpresent. To kickstart my feelings, I watched the amazingly moving Muppets vid Love Can Move Mountains by odessie and I felt that twinge of sobbing coming, but it wasn't enough. I then went to Youtube and started alternating between clips from Jim Henson's funeral and sections of the tribute special "The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson".
As I sat there, sobbing inconsolably, I knew that a vid had to happen. I started gathering source and looking for music. I wasn't having much luck until joyo pointed me to a few potential artists that then lead me to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and "Carries On". From there, I had purpose and drive, and I started working in earnest, with Vividcon Challenge in mind as the likely home for the vid (I mean, come on, "the gift that carries on" is a repeated lyric).
There wasn't really any point in the vid-making process where it wasn't going to contain large swathes of behind-the-scene footage. It's weird to say that I grew up with The Jim Henson Hour, since it was short-lived, but some of my strongest childhood memories of watching television with my family (while my parents were still married) are about that series, which Henson hosted. I also imprinted heavily on the "Secrets of the Muppets" special and, after Henson's death, "The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson." To me, the magic of the Muppets was that they were technically just inanimate objects until great artistry gave them life that, despite all knowledge of the actual process, required almost no suspension of disbelief to work. The piece I come back to when I think of this is Happy Feet, where Kermit tap dances. It is utterly involving and believable, but here's the thing: we never, not once, see those feet. When I think about the kind of coordination of puppetry and sound sync required to not only make that work technically, but aesthetically.... that's where I find the magic.
I could probably make a whole separate post of Muppet thoughts and I probably will at some point if I don't get distracted.
As usual, I spread my footage acquisition net far and wide. I was somewhat hampered by the fact that Disney has yet to release the last two seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD. Also, early Sesame Street footage is difficult to get beyond the Old School DVD and iTunes releases, so if you want a specific bit, you really have to hope it shows up in a compilation somewhere and that compilation can be acquired.
I made a draft, watched it, hated it, and felt despair. I sent it to fan_eunice who has the remarkable ability to zero in on what you're trying to do and what's getting in your way. She rightly sussed out that I was getting too up in my own head about the chronology of Henson and broke the vid down into what I can only think of as "feelings zones", each area devoted to a particular feeling. She also reminded me that build is a thing that's important in big emotion vids. There were a lot of other notes -- she wrote me a novel.
The amount that the vid improved based on her notes was such that I really wanted to credit her as a co-vidder, but she wouldn't hear of it. So she gets a mentoring credit, nyah nyah. I think the only things that remain exactly where they were from the original draft are the opening shot, the closing still image, and the first montage of muppets and puppeteers dancing together. Everything else changed for the better. I do regret that I wasn't able to get more of the idea of Henson's legacy carrying forward in the vid, but it was a sacrifice I had to make. It didn't fit in the end of the vid that the vid I was already making lead to.
Due to time issues (and despite getting a deadline extension for Challenge), I ended up shifting the vid to Premieres. I'm glad I did for two reasons. One, the Premieres show this year was like, super-dark, and needed, if not a happier vid, then a lighter kind of pain. Also, Sisabet's Dief Challenge vid is freakin' amazing and I think an additional crying vid would've been awkward in that show.
Thanks to joyo , elipie , kuwdora , lizbetann , jmtorres , and thirdblindmouse for cheerleading (I'm sorry if I forgot anyone). Special thanks to zeneyepirate for hauling her VCR capture equipment out so I could get the bit of Jim Henson skipping stones. And eternal thanks and gratitude to fan_eunice -- you are my Yoda.