Customer Review

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Success of a Puppet Artist, March 2, 2012
This review is from: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (DVD)
"Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" is about the rise and success of Kevin Clash, Muppet Elmo's puppeteer. One of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

Clash was an unlikely puppeteer, but went at it with diligence at an early age. Confident, yet he faced the scorn of his classmates in school who questioned his "playing with dolls." He took risks, asked questions, and was humble throughout.

The craft of puppet making is looked at as Clash had meetings with Sesame Street's expert puppet maker Kermit Love (no relation to the frog), who took him under his wing as both a craftsman and as a professional learning show business. Also examined is how Elmo was taken from a lesser character almost removed from the show by his previous puppeteer, to being the most popular Muppet.

We meet Clash's supportive parents, his early employer who knew he had someone special, and various Sesame Street people who explain what makes Clash's work different. We see him train puppeteers for the French version of the show, help a young girl who is much like him, and Clash himself in extensive interviews.

What does this have have to do with art? Watch how lifelike Elmo is, and how deliberate every movement and vocalization is. He is not a mono-personality entity like Punch or Judy, but a complex, rich, yet specific persona. There are unexpected layers, nuance and strategic quirks. Beyond the sing-song childlike laughter, Elmo is as complete of a person as a puppet can be. Kevin Clash is the reason why.

While comparing him too much to the finer arts would be amiss, the challenge to think about the completing of our work through our audience's reception is clearly there. Clash knows who is audience is, and what he wants to communicate through his character.

My take away, as a writer, was inspiration. This may sound strange, but I felt inspired to dig into my projects the way I want to work out after watching "Rocky."

I fully recommend "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey."

Anthony Trendl
treefortbooks.com
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 3, 2012 12:53:48 PM PDT
Hudson says:
Nice review!!

I have about 30 reviews on my profile here on Amazon (I'm not very good, in my opinion; then again, I only review items that I really like and I usually do it to kill time), and I just wanted to say that your review is excellent. Not only informative, but elaborately and thoroughly executed. Halfway through the review, I said to myself, "This guy must write somewhere to have these writing skills," then at the end of your review, I find out that you are in fact, a writer. Made sense to me... If you feel like it, would you inform me of what type of writing you do and where (other than Amazon) I can read some of your work?

In short, nicely done. In this day and age, where every person in the country can express their opinions through reviews of products and/or blogs, it's rare that find a talented writer behind an opinion. Thanks, and I'd love to read some of your other writings some time. Peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012 1:04:38 PM PDT
Thanks Hudson. I saw the video and was blown away it on several levels. I write a range of things. Speeches recently. See my profile for my email address if you'd like to talk more.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012 1:06:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 3, 2012 1:07:09 PM PDT
And as to good or bad reviews -- I think if a review helps a customer decide whether or not to buy a product is all that matters. Some of the most boring reviews have been helpful to me, though so have the most wonderfully written.
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