What I learned
Okay, it looks cute and all, but what can we really learn for the guy who plays Elmo? Well friends, the real question is: What can’t we all learn from the guy who plays Elmo (also known as Kevin Clash). “Being Elmo” itself is one big lesson in following your passion. If you love something as much as Kevin Class loved puppets, then you find out who is the master of the craft, learn everything you can from them and diligently work towards carving out your own path.
The film also reminded me of the importance of dynamic documentary subjects. This film could have been pitched so many ways. Director Constance Marks could have said “I want to make a film about Jim Henson and his legacy of The Muppets.” or “I want to tell the story of one of his puppeteer.” That’s great, but how do you decide which one. I can’t help but imagine the final pitch being: “What about the one who wanted it the most?”
There’s a saying that when you make a decision, the universe conspires with you. I think that is why the story of this particular puppeteer, Kevin Clash, is so damn inspiring. He wanted to do something and he did it with passion and the resources and support of those around him. I think it’s safe to call him a success story. Afterall hundreds of parents didn’t battle each other for a Tickle Me Big Bird, now did they?
2011 was a fantastic year for docs and I’ve been waiting patiently for many of them to hit Netflix and Redbox these past months. “Being Elmo” had been on my must-see list for so long that the feeling of finally watching it, even on my laptop, was great. After watching trailers/interviews, reading reviews and listening from the sidelines as big city folks relished in delight, it was finally my turn. It’s the unfortunate downside of a compelling film’s limited release. While I’m ecstatic the film is being exhibited for new audiences, I desperately want to be sitting right alongside them in the theater. But I can’t because those films often aren’t playing near my town. So bless you Netflix Instant Streaming for allowing me to at long last watch this heartwarming documentary. The story is memorable because the message is universal: When it comes to your dreams, be passionate, be persistent and most of all, have fun.