It's June 28th, 2018. Finally, the interview is about to happen.
Erik and I had arrived early, and set up the equipment by the lobby kiosk -- populated by the colorful cast of FRAGGLE ROCK. Enough time’s left for Erik to pose for a quick photo with Oscar the Grouch (tongue sharp with wit, but spongy to touch), and I with Aloysius Snuffleupagus (a fond childhood friend, to whom I can finally give a hug).
Ms. Cheryl Henson arrives, and after friendly exchanges, she looks at our setup. “This interview’s about THE DARK CRYSTAL,” she smiles. “Shouldn’t we show something to do with the film?”
Erik and I exchange blank stares. “Whatever you guys want is absolutely fine with us,” I say nervously. “We don’t want to inconvenience you.”
When Erik Sharkey and I first met with Cheryl Henson, our meeting didn’t quite go as planned. There was an embarrassing snafu: while I stated I wanted to interview Ms. Henson about Richard Amsel’s work, the Henson team didn’t realize I had intended to film the interview on camera.
My heart sank, and I had no one but myself to blame. I didn’t realize certain permissions had to be obtained in advance of my setting up my camera, lights, and tripod. I sheepishly put down my bags of equipment and apologized, repeatedly, to everyone for the misunderstanding. I think I blushed more brightly than I did when I first asked a cute girl to my high school prom. I felt bad for Ms. Henson. I felt bad for Erik. I felt bad for just about everyone and everything.
“Hey man, are you sure you’re gonna be up for this?”
It is early October, 2017. Erik Sharkey poses the question to me over the phone the weekend before our first meeting with Cheryl Henson. Ms. Henson is, of course, the daughter of the late, great Jim Henson, and the President of the Jim Henson Foundation.
The meeting was months in the works – coordinating Ms. Henson’s busy schedule in New York with my flying out from California was a bit daunting – and I was eagerly looking forward to it. Erik was, too; he was quick to volunteer his time and help in support of the Amsel project and, to my eternal gratitude, in support of me.
God knows I needed it. If a film crew of two sounds like a modest endeavor, just imagine how difficult it is to be a film crew of one. Most of the forty-something int...
December 4th marks what would have been Richard Amsel’s 70th birthday, and I’d be terribly remiss if I didn’t post an update to mark that occasion.
Some people have asked me about the status of the documentary, as I’ve been pretty quiet these past few months. The reason was a very personal one: my father died at the end of September, and in the weeks since I’ve had to juggle work along with some funeral and estate arrangements.
My dad’s health had been in decline for some time, and I had taken intermittent leave from work to visit him on the other side of the country every 2-3 months. I was also able to dedicate some of that time to doing more interviews on the east coast – all of which I have yet to write about here. Please bear with me, more updates will be coming!