Saturday, November 17, 2012

Behind the Scenes with Jim Henson



There is a ton of awesome stuff on Jim Henson Company official YouTube Channel. I specially enjoyed this collection of memorable behind the scene clips

Every time I see the muppets, it comes to my mind that vast majority of the the animation produced now a days is created by computer. Without a doubt, the work of the people working in that industry has become more and more boring and tedious everyday. The final results maybe are as good or even better than before as far as the visuals are concerned and from a technical point of view, thanks all the advances in digital filmmaking. But, it's always refreshing to look back and see how those guys worked in the past, and despite the technical limitations, they seem to be having so much fun while creating works that will remain in the popular collective imagination forever.

Those works were created with so much love and passion that it's hard to find something comparable created for young audiences this days. Jim Henson's works definitively played in another league, where children and adults could seat in front of a TV and enjoy a show together. I consider each of this shows a a small piece of art conceived to be broadcasted.  George Lucas' Star wars started this way too, with puppets and handcrafted physical stuff,  but over the years, it has evolved, pushed by  new digital technologies that offer the creator almost limitless possibilities, into a digital working environment in which physical interaction with things is almost not neccesary anymore.

At the same time, there is still hope. There is people around making things the traditional way. Not necessarily moved by nostalgia of the old days, but because is a more natural, more entertaining and funny way to create things. A way that allows laughing and having fun while working together. A much more exciting way of working than seating in a cubicle in front of a screen, trying to make the digital as fun as the real thing. I'm confident that we will never forget the way of doing things this way, and it's a matter of time the audiences to realize that the quality of creations is intimately linked with the way they have been conceived and created. It's not about the quality of the image, the visually stunning camera moves or fancy visual effects that make a show stand out,  it's the joy infused by their creators while making it that has a reflection in the final product.

We are humans after all, and deep in our soul, every one of us realizes if something was created with joy or despair, and we can never forget that this state of mind will have a reflection on whatever we do. If we start working and creating in a more boring, more automated way, the quality of what we do will suffer, maybe not in an apparent way at first, but this McDonaldlized product will have a no lasting impact on nobody with a soul. That its why Jim Henson and the company and works he created are one of the best legacy of 20th century TV and cinema entertainment industry and for sure they will continue remembering us forever that work and life can be lived with joy.