How I got where I am.

I’m always a little leery of comments from people I don’t know here on the blog or my dwindling social media accounts.  A lot of time they are spam and I’m always skeptical if something is genuine or not.  The other day, this comment came in on one of my Instagram pictures:

Please email me; I’m young, ambitious, and curious. I want to know how you got where you are. (EMAIL REDACTED)

I clicked through to the account and it seems like a real person, but even if it’s not, I gave his question some thought.  What advice would I tell this young, ambitious and curious kid?

I would tell him to find some masters.  Some heroes.  Find what makes him laugh, what entertainment he ‘gets’ and then pursue those people as much as possible.  Now, by pursue, I don’t mean stalk them, I mean read about them, get your hands on everything they’ve produced.  Study them.  See if you can capture what about what they are creating captures you.  Never stop studying these people and search out new ones.  Always be on the lookout for people who inspire you.

Once you’ve done that for some time, start creating.  Create your own stuff.  Don’t wait to try and get someone to produce your stuff, start producing it yourself.  And keep producing it.  Build up a body of work and keep on working.  This is THE best way I know to get noticed and achieve your dreams.

People always ask me how to be come a Jim Henson Company puppeteer.  I always say they way to NOT do it is to show up at the front gate of The Jim Henson Company with a puppet on your arm.  Don’t corner Brian Henson in a restaurant and make him talk to your hand.  The best way to become a Jim Henson Company puppeteer is to learn the art of puppetry by creating your own puppet projects.  Forget Henson, just keep working on your own projects.  Build up those skills.  Build up that body of work.  Henson will notice you if you work hard enough.

A perfect example of this is my friend Conner Asher of Creventive Studios.  He’s doing exactly what I said above.  He’s not waiting for Henson or Sesame Street to give him a job, he’s busy creating his own work.  And he’s pursuing it, seemingly, twenty four hours a day.  I have no doubt that if he continues working as hard as he is right now, he will wind up doing great things.  I also have no doubt, I’ll be working for him.

Be so good they can’t ignore you. – Steve Martin

Finally I would say, you asked me how I got where I am.  In my mind, I’m nowhere.  I’m certainly not where my dreams want me to be and because of that, I keep working. I work as hard as I can on the projects I’m passionate about and I don’t stop because I’m not where I want to be.

I hope this helps.  If you are real, and I apologize for doubting you if you are, I hope this helps.

4 thoughts on “How I got where I am.”

  1. I know you’re real. I’ve followed and studied you a bit. I’ve watched you perform and briefly met you. Though you might not be where you hoped, you were where I needed you to be. I didn’t ask the question. But I’m real, and I appreciate your response.

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