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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by dwayne1115, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Can we still ask Jim questions?
  2. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Yes, always! Jim LOVES hearing from the fans!
  3. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Hi Mr. Lewis! Fans always have their favorites, but what unsung Muppet character would you like to see get more screentime? Thanks!
  4. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Okay thanks.
    *deep breath*
    Hi Jim, I'm a relatively new member but a very very long time fan. I have to be honest I'm almost afraid to ask this. I'm an up and coming screen writer. I've written a short Muppet Music Video script that I really want to pitch when it's ready. I read on the website that in order to pitch something one has to go through an agency or lawyer that has had previous dealings with the studio. (at least that is how it came across) Do you have any advice how to get started with something like that? Also, do you happen to have any advice about writing for the Muppets just in general or if it's even possible? (I know a lot of studios like to stick with a team that it knows, I can't imagine Henson would be any different, but I wanted to ask.)
    Thank you so much for your time.
  5. terrimonster Member

    Hi, Jim.

    My question isn't so much Muppet-related as it is writing-related. Is it ever too late to get into TV/film writing? Nine years ago, I had done PA work for a Comedy Central series, I was an intern at a major Hollywood production company, I had connections to the industry and I had a script reviewed by a studio pro. Then various things (I like to call them "life") happened, and the dream kind of faded. Now, I'm a 32-year-old software engineer, and most of my connections are weak at best. Is it too late now? Will it be too late in 5 years? If not, what do you suggest to get "back" into it?
  6. Duke Remington Active Member

    1) Jim, are you in any way involved in the writing for the upcoming Muppet movie?

    2) Were you involved in any of the writing for the Movies.com series "Statler & Waldorf From the Balcony"?
  7. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Sorry gang I have been super busy, but should have these questions sent by tomorow.
  8. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Answers from Jim Lewis 11/15/10

    1. From Frogboy4: Hi Mr. Lewis! Fans always have their favorites, but what unsung Muppet character would you like to see get more screentime? Thanks!



    Mr. Poodlepants. A creation of the fertile (and overgrown) mind of Kirk Thatcher, Mr. Poodlepants made an ever-so-brief appearance on “Muppets Tonight”, but I never felt he got his due. Here’s my favorite part of Mr. Poodlepants: like the Swedish Chef, he’s a live-hands puppet performed by two performers. So one performer is doing the left hand and the head, and the other performer is doing the right hand. Okay, stay with me. On Mr. Poodlepants’ right hand was a puppet named Clownie. When Mr. Poodlepants had Clownie on his right hand, everything was swell. Clownie was Mr. P’s pal. But when Clownie came off the right hand, the right hand became Mr. Hand (performed by the second performer). And Mr. Hand thought Mr. Poodlepants was a nutcase (and not without reason). Inevitably, Mr. Poodlepants would have to send Mr. Hand to “The Pit” (i.e. his armpit). Oh, the fun we could’ve had with this. But, alas, perhaps it was before its time – or perhaps I need a long, long rest.



    2. From Gonzo’s Hobbit: Okay thanks.
    *deep breath*
    Hi Jim, I'm a relatively new member but a very very long time fan. I have to be honest I'm almost afraid to ask this. I'm an up and coming screen writer. I've written a short Muppet Music Video script that I really want to pitch when it's ready. I read on the website that in order to pitch something one has to go through an agency or lawyer that has had previous dealings with the studio. (at least that is how it came across) Do you have any advice how to get started with something like that? Also, do you happen to have any advice about writing for the Muppets just in general or if it's even possible? (I know a lot of studios like to stick with a team that it knows, I can't imagine Henson would be any different, but I wanted to ask.)
    Thank you so much for your time.



    Gee, I wish I had a short answer that could give you a step-by-step guide to getting where you want to go. But the fact is, it’s not a simple process. First, what you want to do is write lots of stuff, different stuff for different (as in, not only Muppets) places. It used to be that you could write a spec script for a sitcom and if it was good enough, you might get an agent who was interested in you. Frankly, I’m not sure if it works that way. I’ve never actually had an agent (nor have they had me). The other way is to shoot your own stuff – not with Muppet characters, but with your own creations. Well done bits, seen on Youtube are great calling cards (and no one has to read them, they can just sit back and watch. Hollywood is lazy; we don’t like to read.) As for the Muppet specifically: the Muppets (classic characters) are the property of the Walt Disney Co, and so decisions about what gets written and who writes it are made by the WD Co. The opportunities are few and yes, they tend to go with those who have experience. The Sesame Street Muppets are the property of Sesame Workshop and they operate and make decisions independently. The Jim Henson Company has many great productions going, and is still in the Fraggle business, but they are not doing Muppets.

    Confused? Me too. All I can say is, keep writing. Get stuff made or make stuff for people to see. It seems impossible, but until you try you don’t know where you’ll end up.



    3. From terriemonster: Hi, Jim.

    My question isn't so much Muppet-related as it is writing-related. Is it ever too late to get into TV/film writing? Nine years ago, I had done PA work for a Comedy Central series, I was an intern at a major Hollywood production company, I had connections to the industry and I had a script reviewed by a studio pro. Then various things (I like to call them "life") happened, and the dream kind of faded. Now, I'm a 32-year-old software engineer, and most of my connections are weak at best. Is it too late now? Will it be too late in 5 years? If not, what do you suggest to get "back" into it?



    Too late? Heck, I got socks older than you (and, unfortunately, I am wearing a pair right now). No, it’s not too late. I spent years writing for newspapers and magazines (this is before the days of the internet) and didn’t really get going on Muppet stuff until I was about your age. The fact that you have background with TV/Film related stuff is good. Connections, even old ones, help. Even more important is that you’ve written scripts in the past. See my answer above as to how to get back to it – writing scripts and making small productions that you can link to; that’s the way I’d go. If I had any real clout (or newer socks) I’d be able to give you specific contacts to try – but I think your best bet is to backtrack on those old contacts if any are still active. See what they recommend in terms of what to write as a sample of your work. Maybe you can write something based on your experience as a software engineer. Seriously. A fresh, unexpected perspective is the best way to get noticed.

    From Duke Remington: 1) Jim, are you in any way involved in the writing for the upcoming Muppet movie?

    First, you have to be a real fan to remember who Duke Remington is. Love it. Topo Sticky lives! Second, the script was written by Jason Segel and Nick Stoller.


    2) Were you involved in any of the writing for the Movies.com series "Statler & Waldorf From the Balcony"?

    Yes. I was one of three or four writers who helped put those together. I’d say more but I’ve misplaced those memories. Oh my goodness, I AM STATLER AND WALDORF!
  9. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much Jim.
  10. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    I have another one for you Jim if you can answer it (or want to)
    What are the chances we could convince Disney to get the Muppets to do a version of "We are the World?"
  11. Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Oooh! Ji Jim. Just popped by to say that I LOVED Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony! Even though it's often overlooked. It had some great moments and I do sometimes wonder what the sage of twosome would have to say about some of the latest productions...Avatar, for example. Shame that series ended...
  12. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Considering "Miss Piggy's Hollywood" was originally half of an episode of "The Jim Henson Hour", do you recall if there was ever any intention for the special to include any of the characters created for the show, or was it alwasy intended to have a small cast of Muppets?
  13. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Regarding Boom!'s Muppet comics, since you've provided feedback to their writers to double check that everything is indeed Muppety and true to the characters and since you have extensive experience writing for Muppets in both live-action and print, would you consider writing an issue yourself?
  14. BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    Hey, remember JoeTheArmadillo.com? I have to ask: I recently went onto an archived version of the site and saw that just about everything seemed to be "Under Construction" besides the home page. Was this website meant to become something bigger than it actually was or was this just meant to be a "home page" and nothing more?
  15. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Hmm, seems like questions haven't been sent, or at least haven't been answered, in quite awhile. Hope you don't mind me asking another question already...

    When working on a series do you or other people in the crew (particularly the producers and other writers) worry about fan reactions to any big changes that happen to the shows? I don't know off-hand how many shows you've been on staff for besides The Animal Show (which doesn't seem to have had many changes) and Muppets Tonight... But I would guess it's often a "screwed if you do, screwed if you don't" feeling when it comes to doing what the fans would and wouldn't expect out of their favorite shows and franchises.
  16. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    JIM LEWIS ANSWERS – February 24, 2011

    From Gonzo’s Hobbit…
    I have another one for you Jim if you can answer it (or want to)
    What are the chances we could convince Disney to get the Muppets to do a version of "We are the World?"


    As they say, that decision is above my pay grade. But I’m thinking “not likely.” Perhaps for a good cause…and in conjunction with a raft of celebrities, like the original, which was shot in the A&M recording studio on what is now the Henson Lot in Hollywood. Small world.

    From Beauregard…
    Oooh! Ji Jim. Just popped by to say that I LOVED Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony! Even though it's often overlooked. It had some great moments and I do sometimes wonder what the sage of twosome would have to say about some of the latest productions...Avatar, for example. Shame that series ended…

    Oh, that’s so nice to hear. It was a fun small thing to do, and a great chance to see Statler & Waldorf on their own gig. I’ve always felt those two guys were under-appreciated, but that’s probably because I’m becoming such an old curmudgeon myself.

    From minor muppetz…
    Considering "Miss Piggy's Hollywood" was originally half of an episode of "The Jim Henson Hour", do you recall if there was ever any intention for the special to include any of the characters created for the show, or was it alwasy intended to have a small cast of Muppets?

    It was always meant to have a small cast of Muppets. The Jim Henson Hour was shot in Toronto. And “Miss Piggy’s Hollywood” was shot in L.A., so the idea was to keep it small and shootable. It was Jim, Frank and Dave – what could be better!

    From dwmckim…
    Regarding Boom!'s Muppet comics, since you've provided feedback to their writers to double check that everything is indeed Muppety and true to the characters and since you have extensive experience writing for Muppets in both live-action and print, would you consider writing an issue yourself?


    I have great respect for writing comics (or graphic novelizations or whatever you want to call them). Heck, I’m at Earth 2 Comics in Sherman Oaks every Wednesday when the new books arrive. Honest. As such, I know that getting it just right – the mix of verbiage and visual – takes a special talent. Those who do it best are like jugglers with several sharp objects always in midair. I could try. But I’d rather see it done right.




    From BobthePizzaBoy…
    Hey, remember JoeTheArmadillo.com? I have to ask: I recently went onto an archived version of the site and saw that just about everything seemed to be "Under Construction" besides the home page. Was this website meant to become something bigger than it actually was or was this just meant to be a "home page" and nothing more?

    Oh yes, I loved and still love Joe the Armadillo. And I must admit it was always meant to be a never-gets-made site. The whole genesis of Joe, from the real armadillo who runs across the road in “Swamp Years’ to Joey Mazzarino’s manic performance in the dvd extras was pure kismet. We thought it would be fun to imagine Joe as this whole multi-tier entertainment mogul, when he was just a goofy armadillo. Yeah, if he’d caught on big, I’d be CEO of Joe Armadillo Land! Ah, but all we got was a never-built website.


    From minor muppetz…
    When working on a series do you or other people in the crew (particularly the producers and other writers) worry about fan reactions to any big changes that happen to the shows? I don't know off-hand how many shows you've been on staff for besides The Animal Show (which doesn't seem to have had many changes) and Muppets Tonight... But I would guess it's often a "screwed if you do, screwed if you don't" feeling when it comes to doing what the fans would and wouldn't expect out of their favorite shows and franchises.

    I was the crew for The Animal Show. Well, Jocelyn Stevenson and me. We wrote those all in a matter of weeks and shot ‘em quicker than quick. There was no time to consider anything, even sleeping. We followed what we found funny—and what the footage would support and the performers would perform. If you liked any of it, we’re thrilled. It was a helluva fun show to do.
    As for “Muppets Tonight” – Oh, that’s such a bigger kettle of fish. (Why a kettle of fish, I’ve never quite figured out that figure of speech. And why a figure of speech, why not a sketch of speech…..Sorry, got off track there). With a network show like that, there are considerations of everything from the color of the drapes to the cut of the jib. You try to please the largest audience possible – and in the spirit of Jim Henson – you try to make yourselves laugh. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not as much.
  17. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    I can't remember if I said this before but thanks so much Jim for answering our questions.
  18. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Before anyone posts anymore questions to Jim, here on Muppet Central I would like to take this time to share that we are moving!

    That is right we are going to be moving the Ask Jim Lewis stuff over to the Muppet Mindset. Now for about another month or so we will still send your questions here, but please send us them in an e-mail when we get the address set up.

    We have been in contact with Jim, and he loves the idea we are going to post in a few days on the mind set some of our (Ryan and I) best answers, and how and where to send your questions to Jim.

    If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Thanks and keep on asking questions.
  19. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    [LIKE!]
    FletchySRF3088 likes this.
  20. The Mush New Member

    Hello Jim, I gotta few questions I'd like you to answer:

    1) Just wondering, what is the earliest surviving piece that Jim did, and can we see it, like on Youtube or something?
    2) Are there any Muppet productions in the public domain?
    3) Are any of the old guard Muppeteers, like Frank and Jerry, working on the new Muppet movie?
    4) Is there any way we can figure out what influenced Jim?
    Havea nice day, Jim.

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