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Struggling with friends as an artist

Discussion in 'Friends and Family' started by mupcollector1, May 24, 2012.

  1. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone, I rare if ever used this part of the forum, I'm not sure if this belongs in general discussion or here but I feel like I need some people to relate to in my life. Jim Henson is my #1 hero and just so amazed on how he was a creative artist who came up with loads of ideas and worked really hard at what he did and never ever gave people a hard time or pressure. And how he made the work he did fun for everyone who worked on it and gave everyone credit and let them have their ideas into it as well. I admire that as an artist and would just love to do that sort of thing as a filmmaker, cartoonist and puppeteer.

    Unfortunately I'm still struggling to get into the industry and pretty much have a very small social life. And last night I lost a friend sort of. It was pretty ridiculous. I knew him for 5 years and it seemed like he was the only person who understood my comedic comedy and seen my talent. He and his friend were struggling screenwriters and so for many years he wanted all of us to team up on projects and always had high hopes saying that we will all be successful and I felt like it was a dream come true. Finally people who I can work with on a creative level. We always tried to figure out a script of project to do but they never seemed to want to do the project I came up with until Last month they wanted me to collaborate with them on animation. Which I was sort of happy about thinking it's going to be a lot of fun. Little did I know that in their mind, all three of us weren't working collaborating wise but instead I was working underneath them having no right to add ideas or be creative with them. There was a little bit of pressure I was getting from them at it was indeed quite stressful so I figure, we are all adults here, let's cooperation and thinking of a problem solving solution and be mature about this. So one night my friend's friend came over (the partner of my friend) and I talk to him and he joked with me and said that he can be a baby at times, he was spoiled as a kid. And just used to getting everything he wanted. So I joked back and said that if he ever tried to do the animation himself he would fall flat on his face because it's a lot of hard work and I need more production time. Then he tried to avoid me and last night he sent this horribly rude insulting email to me saying how I was lazy and just attacking him on a personal level and selfish and don't listen to anyone but myself which I knew in my heart wasn't true, it was taken the wrong way and I was shocked and very hurt. He won't answer his phone and he kept emailing me basically stating that as an artist I suppose to work underneath people and if the one person on the planet doesn't like my work, they are always right. It was stressful. But I decided to be as polite as possible. And he eventually admitted that him and his friend are crazy 30 year olds who put pressure on people but that's how they are and we went off our separate ways peacefully. Plus I remember he said that he told his friend to lie to me about him being self fish to calm me down, which I was calm to whole time.

    And it was just hard to get any rest that night. I remember I was looking at my pictures of Jim Henson and reading "It's not that easy being green and other things to consider" and remember what a great boss Jim was and thinking.....Jim won't have done what my ex-friends did to me. He won't go and hurt me like that if I worked for him.

    Plus I had a little bit of riff-raff with a neighbor who I thought also had a sense of humor. We were talking about the crazy neighbors in the neighborhood and how the police comes a little late even though the station is walking distance. She told me that we pay taxes for their services. So I make a satirical funny remark saying Yeah services not donuts. And she got really angry at me because her father was a cop and all that stuff. Of course the sensitive person I am, I apolligized and she said she wasn't offended.

    So now I only have one friend in the world who I've been close friends with since I was a kid. But he has high functioning Autism so I kind of help him with social cues if he lets me. We're DVD collectors and love comedy, in fact I got him interested into The Muppet Show a little bit which is pretty cool :). Though the problem with our friendship is that he doesn't like to talk on a personal level about emotions and things like that, he thinks emotions are personal and he wants to keep that all to himself which I think is sort of sad. Another thing to is even though he's got a great sense of humor, he can't laugh about himself. Even friendly wise. He gets really angry and get his feelings hurt even if it's friendly teasing. For example I joked how his new haircut looks like Adam Sandler's hair and he was angry with me about it. What he doesn't know is that sometimes I like to animate a cartoon character based on him sort of making fun of when he says some ridiculous things or if he acts sort of wimpy at times. But my fear is if he ever seen it, he would be hurt and be angry with me and never speak to me again. I make some animation DVDs I'm trying to market and he said he wants to buy them for his collection, so I'm afraid about that. I think the jokes are funny. But what's frustrating is that no one, I mean no one can take a joke anymore. Everyone is always offended.

    It's not like I'm horribly mean or insulting or anything. I just have an irreverent sense of humor. And what I've learned about being a puppeteer and cartoonist is that they probably have some of the most twisted humor ever. And I know there's been a long history of Jim and his crew kidding with each other, joking about each other, all for the fun of it, not being mean or cruel just having adult silliness and friendly teasing. But it just seems like no one in this world can take a joke. And irreverent humor and being a sensitive person is who I am.


    Basically I feel I'm running out of friends and no one can relate to me. That's why I want to go to LA myself and hopefully meet people who are puppeteers, comedy writers and cartoonists who are very spontaneous and love to joke around and have fun and also do hard work without getting stressed at each other. That's my dream.

    Sorry if this message is a bit long, but since I'm sort of in a stressful part of my life right now and since The Muppets mean the world to me, they are always there to cheer me up and how Jim's advice no matter what somewhat helps me get back on my two feet.

    I sort of have tear in my eye thinking of how much The Muppets mean to me so I might as well leave this message with that. lol
  2. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    --------------
    Well...some people are too serious about themselves. The ability to laugh at one's own failures is a rare gift; good for you if you have it. I don't know any animators but pretty much every friend and most co-workers I've been on good terms with have all been able to both give and take a joke and not be offended. Perhaps your friends just have very thin skin. Sorry that happened to you.

    Careful about going to LA...it's like Vegas, except full of broken artists instead of broken gamblers. Don't expect to move there and suddenly break into the big time...or even the small time. You might want to try establishing other connections locally where you are first. Or meet other collaborators online.

    Good luck to you, whatever you attempt! :)
    ------------
  3. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, thank you for the advice. I want to be careful with some of the biz a little bit, lots of people like to put artists down and work as the boss of an artist's own creation.
  4. Hubert Well-Known Member

    People who just want to friendly tease each other are rare anymore, aren't they? They're out there though. People who share your sense of humor and who even may want to help you and collaborate you on an equal level are out there. They're out there. One of the main messages that I think that Jim wanted to convey through his work was to follow your dreams, regardless of what it takes. I believe that if a dream is really a dream, there's nothing stopping it. It keeps on rolling along and it does happen. And if you have that dream that you believe in, to be able to work as an artist and have friends to help you out, it will come true. Jim says so. And who can disagree with a guy who changed the world?
  5. jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    As an artist, I do admit to finding it difficult to be close friends with creative people. Clashing egos will always be a problem. It it necessary and it requires skilled navigation. Wish I had a quick fix, but every situation is unique unto itself. Just wanted to let you know that I have been there and I hope things work out for you.
  6. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah thanks guys. :) Yeah I totally agree with Jim Henson in terms of following your dreams and believing yourself. I remember I recently read a quote from Jim Henson in terms of working with Jerry Juhl.

    "I find I work best if I can work with someone—talking things over as ideas come up. I do this best with people I’m very comfortable with—there has to be an absolutely pressure-free situation for this to work well. Jerry Juhl and I have always been able to work this way. It’s important to be able to say virtually anything—which may be totally silly or stupid or obscene—in a no-risk situation."
    Wonderful quote.

    Jim always amazes me and what a great role model he was. Someone who knuckles down and does hard work with a huge team of people and doing complicated things and at the same time, never ever yelling, screaming or insulting people in a rude jerk fashion. Jim was never like that. It's sad that the film industry doesn't look up to Jim Henson like that. I was watching footage of Lloyd Kaufman (Troma, Make your own (darn) movie) and how he would yell and scream on the set of an indie film when people weren't doing what he wanted.

    And even my ex-friends didn't want me to be creative or have creative freedom or any fun at all, they didn't want me to add background gags which I find fun and it's cartoon tradition and things. I watch more adult puppetry and animation and satirical / slapstick movies then they ever do. I helped them market their stuff, all they did was do voices and write the scripts, I did the rest for them and they told me that I'm lazy and don't contribute enough.
    And as human beings get into arguments and fight and all that. I think what Jim would do and I decided that I was going to Be as mature, as honest and as sensitive as I could be. Then thinking that what my ex-friends did, Jim would never do. He let everybody pitch ideas and if a mistake was made, he would be patient and help. And of course the more nice you are, it goes a long ways. I've had a long history of verbal abuse that happened to me in my life. To the point of PTSD. But it seems like each time I hear about Jim's accomplishments and even just the sound of Kermit's voice or a Muppet image. It always makes me smile and get up and try again. :)

    Which reminds me of a funny story. I'm not sure if anyone ever heard this story but it was on Sesame Street. There was a female Muppeteer who was not tall enough for the camera so she wore the special shoes they have for not so tall Muppeteers and there was some sort of rainbow set and they had to do take after take after take because she would make some sort of mistake, and suddenly she bumped into the set and it broke in half. Everyone stopped and look at Jim. Jim sat there feeling his beard and he turns to the person next to him and said "We can make another one right?" lol


    Oh my the way, a little off subject but I just love these new Muppet faces, Including Muppet Jim, Newsman, Lew Zealand, Walter, and Bo. :)
  7. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Friends suck.

    Okay, not really, but I've posted this like a bazillion times before... it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized there's a difference between friends and acquaintances, and sadly, I have to say that just about everyone I knew as a kid growing up in school was an acquaintance... I may have earned a couple of TRUE friends here and there, but I realized all the countless others weren't... I even remember in the waning days of my middle school years wanting to exchange contact info with other "friends" to keep in touch, only to be met with things like, "No, that's okay," or "That's not really necessary," or "Um, you don't have to do that," and even a full-on, "I think keeping in touch is kinda stupid".

    Even sadder is I have WAY more friends online than I do IRL, and it's really pathetic that if I want to "hang out" with buddies, I have to do it through computer screens, and say things with typed words rather than spoken words. What IS nice however is that I have grown rather close to some of these online friends, some closer than others, such as some I know by first and last name, and even a couple I have real-world contact with like mailing addresses and phone numbers. Some of these friends I get to chat with rather often (like here on MC for example), but others I don't get to very often. Two interesting cases are those whom I feel are my closest and dearest friends (one of whom used to be active here as well): one of them has a very busy life with university, work, family, life, etc, and as such, doesn't even get on the internet much anymore, but always tries to find time to check in with me and see how things have been going (and likewise, I'll do the same); the other drops off the face of the earth for SEVERAL months at a time, I'll leave messages and check in with her, and not get any responses, then maybe like a couple of times over the summer, we'll chat, but it's like all those months of silence don't matter of her, and it's not like she has a life, so I have no idea why she does that (then again, her social skills seem like a roller coaster, I think it stems from her peculiar childhood).

    But I digress... I think there's an old saying that says, "Never do business with friends", I think a lot of it has to do with nepotism or something, I don't know... but when it comes to creativity, everybody wants to have a say in something, but at the same time, the one who created the project doesn't want everybody trying change, alter, or tailor the project to their own liking, thus driving away from the creator's original vision, and sometimes that causes a LOT of tension, like in some cases. In fact, not too long ago, my own mother took me aside, and said, "Would it kill you to at least be open to other people's input and be just a little appreciative to those who try to help you with your projects?" Yet ironically, she's the one who always told me not to let other people try to change my vision and tweak it to their own liking, and to make sure everybody is on same page and knows how I want the job to be done, yet it seems like she thinks because she's my mother, that doesn't apply to her (and believe me, she HAS to have some kind of little say-so in EVERYTHING I do). I think it all really depends on what kind of person you are as to who you can work with... in the case of Jim, he had faith in his people to shape the Muppets into what they are today, from Don Sahlin's craft in puppet building, to Jerry Juhl's shaping of stories in writing, to Frank Oz's developing of characters, etc; then you have some people like myself who are so specific and firm in what the envision for certain things, that they don't want them changed.

    And frankly, I'm not even sure what I just said made any sense or not... I think I got too overcome with my own problems in my response that I lost my train of thought...
  8. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Don't worry, it's okay. lol But yeah, I hear ya. I've always struggled with social life myself. Even though my sense of humor is very spontaneous, cartoony and satirically dark at times. lol And I just get so bored with people in life because of how they are. Interoverted or sensing serious people, judgemental, etc. (Myerrs Briggs keywords, I study it allot lol). But yeah, It's hard to find the right people. And like you mentioned being attracted to someone online. Even in real life it's hard if who ever your interested in doesn't email you right away. I've had so much stress with that kind of situation myself. I've never had a relationship nor a proper date. I did have a girl who dumped me probably because I was very sensitive and always needing someone to talk to and stuff. And even I do have fictional crushes like Tank Girl :) But yeah, relationships can be tough. But there's a good book called "LoveTypes" and the author is there to help you with coaching. He helps me a lot. But yeah, school life was difficult for me too. I've been bulled for liking The Muppets but I never let that get in the way of my interests. I was always the outcast cartoonist who would draw irreverent charactures of the ugly and mean looking teens there. But yeah, as an adult, I think life is better. I've had a verbally abusive father and his wife who was always against my work and what made me, me. Plus I'm still trying to get the rest of my stuff from their basement (Mostly my puppets that I build, my stuff cat collection and 90% Muppet memorabilia that I need to organize lol) But my own mother I love. She can be a pain sometimes but I am very open to saying whatever I like (nicely of course) or what my personal opinions are even though her advice isn't as helpful. lol

    So yeah. I kind of feel like I'm loosing friends. The only person in my life other than my Mom is my best friend. He has high functioning Autism so he has a bit of a speech problem and understanding social things but he's got a really funny goofy sense of humor, very smart, is a DVD collector like me. I've been friends with him for over 10 years. And within the recent years, he's starting to get into watching The Muppets a little bit which makes me really happy that I finally have someone who I can watch them with, without any kind of judgement.
  9. Hubert Well-Known Member

    You sound a lot like me, in a way.

    This is a quote from Marty Robinson that may be of use. Marty was kinda paraphrasing a quote by Jerry Juhl.
    Jim handpicked in some way people who had that same sense of humor that we had. It's all a matter of finding the right friends who can help you instead of hurt you. Friends that just want to take over your projects aren't ones that you want around you. There are people out there who are a lot like you. It's just that they don't jump out in your face and yell it at you. It's all a matter of finding them, but in a way I think that they come to you as you are supposed to find them. Things will work out if you keep going, I know it.
  10. Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    I'd like to add to what D'Snowth was saying.

    I have found that your true friends are not necessarily people you are the closest to. In high school, I met someone and we quickly became friends. We did pretty much everything together. We even went on vacations together. Senior year was when things started to rift. We had some disagreements with her choice of boyfriend, but we actually made up over that. No, she had some kind of superiority complex and when she found out that I made barely a grade higher than her in English she just stopped talking to me. I don't think I'll totally understand just what her reasonings were behind trying so badly to compete with me. I think I finished up like 18 or something in my class, while she finished about 30 something. She wanted so badly for people to think she was better than me I think she started to convince herself she was. She was always saying strange things to me in class, such as that she was clearly a better writer than me and doesn't understand why I am scoring better on tests than her. She was going around telling people how great her average was and how high rank she was (I think she was claiming she was rank 10 or something). While I think the fact I did better than her in class was finally the cracking point, the downward slope was when we were called into guidance to get our class ranks. It was pure irony that we were called at the same time and that my guidance councilor happened to have her grades because her guidance councilor was out. It was then the truth was revealed about just how much worse she was actually doing than what she claimed to have been. She actually started crying when she saw that and did not return to class until it was pretty much over. I don't think she could have stood to face me the rest of the class if she had come back.

    Now, on the other hand, I have a few friends who I have known since elementary school. I moved halfway down the country early 2006. These friends I do not talk to very often any more, however, when I do go back up to visit, they are right there to see me when they can. In fact, one of them was recently hospitalized. I gave her a call and she sounded so thrilled to hear from me. We talked about school and stuff until she had to go because the doctors were there. During my graduation party, another friend came sick, just so she could be there, even though she really didn't want to. Thats what being a true friend is.

    You know, I consider MC a second home in a way. My move was really hard for me, and it was around the time I re-discovered the muppets. In fact, I was so upset, the only thing that brought me any real happiness was the muppets. Shortly after, I found MC and joined. Its really sad that even still, most of my social interactions are with random people on the internet. But I still feel like I belong here. MC is one of the few places where people don't mind my twisted sense of humor. Must be a muppet fan thing :p I come here with personal problems that I couldn't talk about with my parents, I can talk to people that have the same interests as me. I hope that the people I consider friends feel the same about me.
    heralde likes this.
  11. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think I can totally relate to that. I think my friend is just plain jellious as well an a conartist. And I knew this guy for 5 years laughing and having fun and he keep telling me how talented I am at puppetry, and animation and how funny I am and how he writes comedy movies and if I collaberate with his friend, our dreams are going to come true. He said nothing about me working underneigh him and not being able to have my own ideas, jokes, and creative freedom. And I knew in my heart my dream is to be a succesful comedic artist, I'm in it for the art not just to make money. Having lots of money is cool and fun. But that's not why I love art. Art you can express yourself and share your vision with the world, that's what Jim Henson did, that's what Trey and Matt of South Park did, That's what Spitting Image did in terms of their politcal satire and even Robert Crumb and Matt Groening in satirizing society conformity and jerks. All those guys didn't want people to tell them what to create and what to do, they fought hard for their creative freedom, hired people with the same dream and had fun :) It's kind of like The Muppet Movie. Kermit plays his banjo and Don Dellouese (however you spell his last name lol) tells Kermit about fame and fortune and making lots of people happy. And how Kermit didn't think of money or fame, it was making people happy. And who Doc Hopper wanted Kermit to sell out and make tons of money selling frog legs and how he keep chasing Kermit to the very end. And how doc said his goal is about making money and Kermit says "Well I have a dream too, but it's about singing and dancing and making people happy, it gets better with the more people you share it with and I found a whole bunch of friends who share the same dream and it kind of makes us like a family. And if you don't share the same dreams as me and well....go ahead and kill me."

    You know what's really funny about the plot of The Muppet Movie. Is that I've been a Muppet fan all my life, grew up watching Sesame, The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight (which was amazing to be a kid in the 1990s seeing new Muppet episodes, plus the many crazy cartoons on Nickelodeon, MTV, Cartoon Network and of course South Park lol)
    But in my mid-20s, I'm starting to see all of those adult messages and meanings. Like what The Muppet Movie is really about. It's about following your dreams no matter what kind of bully tries to stop you and The Rainbow Connection, Being Green, the lyrics in that. It goes to show that there was all this wonderful advice and philosophy. It's amazing and very inspiring. I totally got to watch The Muppet Movie again sometime soon. :) I haven't seen it in a long awhile.

    One of the things I'm not sure if I even mentioned is that this ex-friend of mine told me about this book called Writing Movies for Fun and Profit and telling me to read it, so I bought a copy and bought a kindle version to so I could analize it and hightlight the book without damaging it. And it was saying how studios try to ruin your script all the time and not to worry, only care about the money which I knew something wrong was with this theory. But then they mentioned that if you really want to make art you have to be a producer and director. So now I think the only things that are good about the book is how to write a movie and script format, and of course stuff about how to find Lori Petty in LA which I loved because I have a huge crush on Tank Girl :)
    Anyway It also mentioned that you can't get work out there unless you live in LA and my ex-friend had told me that he was moving to LA at the end of the year and I was begging him for me to come along. Which amazes me now because I can just imagion him treating me as if artists are the lowest lifeform on the planet. So I'm trying to think of just pitching stuff for now. Besides I have a bunch of Muppet Membrobilla that I couldn't fit in my appartment that's at my evil father's basement that I need to get as well as the rest of my stuff so I can organize it to the point where moving won't be so bad if I had to. My father and his wife were horrably verbally abusive and have me PTSD. But that's another tragic story.

    Sometimes I think. What if Jim Henson lived in todays modern world of youtube cyberbullies bringing people down on their films and just harshness on the internet from 14 year olds looking tough and scary. And having someone like my ex-friend going up to him promising him fame and fortune for his art. I'm 100% sure that Jim won't allow people to treat him horrable like that.
    I was reading resently when The Muppets were on SNL and how the writers of SNL wrote for The Muppets and not Jim Henson or Jerry Juhl or anyone with the exception of two skits. And just to be in that position I'm sure Jim was a little stressed out knowing that they couldn't add anything in the scripts. The writers hated writing for The Muppets which I totally don't understand, I would love to write for The Muppets! But the writers back them seemed very angry and not very sensitive. One writer went to Jim's house and Jim said "Oh, uh, Scred won't say this." and the writer got angry which is totally rediculous. But I'm glad The Muppets never had that kind of blockage on their creative freedom ever again.

    I just hope I find creative friends to work with. Even when I was a kid, I wanted to work with someone on art. I had a friend who also became a con artist. He only cared about what I had and not who I am. I sort of forgot about the little scamp until now. lol But it's good to get all my thoughts on the plate, like what Jim said "Having gone through all the problems in life makes you a stronger person." And I knew the whole time when working with my ex before he became nasty that if I had a problem with something, I should listen to how I feel and speak up. And as the 30 year old baby as he is, he doesn't want to hear it.
    But I'm totally glad to have my creative freedom back. :)

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