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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

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

  1. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Sure it is even if no one asks a question I'll send mine and yours to Jim to get an answer.
  2. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Okay, i'll throw in a question (two for the price of one even)...

    Even though you're one of the main Muppet writers, you still continue to do stuff with The Henson Company (such as Sid the Science Kid). Are there any complications involved with working for both Henson and Disney or is it pretty much like what it's been before the Disney sale? Also do you actively follow the various Henson brands that you're not working with (i.e. Farscape, Dinosaur Train, Sesame)?
  3. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    Okay. Here's mine:

    How do you write dialogue for the Swedish Chef? Do you write the lines out in English and then the performer translates it or do you actually write it in mock-Swedish?

    Signed (Well, not really signed, but you get the idea) - ZeppoAndFriends
  4. terrimonster Member

    Wow. I was about to (as in, in the next few minutes) ask almost exactly the same question. I was wondering whether Bill improvises lines from an outline, or whether it's written in mock-Swedish.

    Good question!
  5. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    I guess curious Muppet fans think alike. :smirk:
  6. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Hi Mr. Lewis!

    How many of the star cameos are last minute and how do you go about scripting them so they make sense in the movie? Thanks!
  7. Convincing John Well-Known Member

    I posted a question earlier in this thread that didn't get answered yet. Maybe you forgot to send it. Oh well, here it is again:

    Mr. Lewis, being a writer of Muppet material yourself, maybe you could give your insights and opinions on two unpublished works.

    The book "Street Gang" references memoirs written by Jon Stone (check out p. 330, if you have the book handy). Do you think these memoirs have a chance at getting published or would Sesame Workshop frown on that because of Stone's opinions? (If they can't publish it, I wish they would put it in the CTW archives at the Univerisity of Maryland so patrons at least have access to it).

    I'm also curious about Jim Henson's book "Watermellon's I Don't Know". Would Disney consider putting this book online (like the Henson Company did with Jim Henson's Red Book)? I'm assuming this unpublished work is Disney's property because Kermit's in it. I'd just like to know more about it.

    Thank you,

    Josh Hankemeier
    (Convincing John)
  8. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Hey Gang! Wow ok so we have had a jump start to the thread and that is wonderful. Keep them questions coming.
    On that note we had to new faces come in and ask about the Switish Chef and how the writeing goes. they are great questions, but we have already asked Jim about that. Here is the Question and Answer: "From Jimjudy: :If you ever wrote something for the Swedish Chef?

    Yes, I write for the Chef. Words. Approximations of what I think he might sound like. It’s up to Bill Barretta to turn them into comedy genius…and he does, yoobetcha."
    So I'll give you all a chance to think of another question before we send them off. Please dont get discouraged, and always feel free to look through both this thread and the other older one to get some ideas of what questions we have and have not asked. not to mention that the Questions, and Answers are really quite entertaining to read from time to time. Here is a link to the First Jim Lewis Threadhttp://forum.muppetcentral.com/showthread.php?t=31381 There are also a couple of Interviews out there that if your interested and need help finding them just send me a pm or something. thanks everyone.
  9. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    ...and as a "concellation prize" due to Jim having already answered the Chef question, i'll add some extra info to it...in the original Muppet Show scripts (before Jim Lewis was writing for Muppets), the Chef segments were written as all stage directions with only an occasional word indicated if they wanted to be sure the Chef got across to the audience the dish he was trying to cook.
  10. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    So, in the Muppet Show days Jim (Henson) just improvised it. I had a suspicion that's how it was done, but now I'm sure. Thanks!

    Okay! New question! (It's not exactly Muppet related, but...)



    Mr. Lewis, as a wannabe writer to a real one, how hard is it to ensure that a character STAYS in character?

    I discovered, while working on a story I hope to get published, that it is very easy for me to cross the line of what a character would/wouldn't say. I kind of bugs me because, sometimes, I'll grow attached to a line that I later realize is completely out of character.

    Do you, or any other writers you know, have moments like that, or should I just take it as a sign that I'm not cut out for writing?

    Signed (Well, not really signed, but you get the idea) - ZeppoAndFriends

    P.S. Please don't laugh.
  11. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Wow that is a very good question. Yea if you watch the Muppet Morsols on season one of the Muppet Show you will learn more about the prefroming of Chef. They where the funniest stuff shot and everyone involved with the show would come and watch Jim and Frank tape the skits.

    I would love to do a consolation of all the answers that Jim has done. Starting with Kermit, and working through the differnt Muppets. You know looking back the one Muppet we have not talked to much about is Piggy. I find that kind of odd seeing as how she is so popular. If no one else has a question I'll go ahead and send them.
  12. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    I think that's a big 10-4 on the go-ahead, good buddy! :smirk:
  13. terrimonster Member

    Oops. I actually read the entire thread before my first question (and it took a long time), but it's easy-ish to forget what all was in there. I have another question, but I'll wait until the next round so I can refine my wording.
  14. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Answers from Jim Lewis, November 6, 2010

    From dwayne1115…
    Did you have a hand (no pun intended) in the creating of Angelo on the new Cooking with Cat show? Better yet are you involved at all? If so have you learned how to cook?

    I did not do anything with Angelo and Cooking with Cat…except attend the press event and laugh. The genius was all that of Craig Shemin, who, along with myself, learned to cook at Stewart’s on Route 46 in Rockaway, New Jersey.

    From dwmckim…
    Even though you're one of the main Muppet writers, you still continue to do stuff with The Henson Company (such as Sid the Science Kid). Are there any complications involved with working for both Henson and Disney or is it pretty much like what it's been before the Disney sale? Also do you actively follow the various Henson brands that you're not working with (i.e. Farscape, Dinosaur Train, Sesame)?

    Not a problem at all…as long as I’m not working on a project that competes directly with the Muppets. My situation is that I am a consultant, a consiglieri, on the Muppets with Disney, so they expect that I will take other work elsewhere. And while I don’t work on any other Henson projects at this time, I really enjoy working with folks who I’ve known and liked for so many years.

    From frogboy4…
    How many of the star cameos are last minute and how do you go about scripting them so they make sense in the movie? Thanks!

    Star cameos? That depends. If it’s a movie, they scramble to lock it down immediately and far in advance. Sometimes it’s last minute, but the nature of cameos is that, if they aren’t there, they won’t be missed, but if they are there it’s a joy. Kind of like video easter eggs, only you don’t have to go searching.

    From Convincing John…
    Mr. Lewis, being a writer of Muppet material yourself, maybe you could give your insights and opinions on two unpublished works.

    The book "Street Gang" references memoirs written by Jon Stone (check out p. 330, if you have the book handy). Do you think these memoirs have a chance at getting published or would Sesame Workshop frown on that because of Stone's opinions? (If they can't publish it, I wish they would put it in the CTW archives at the University of Maryland so patrons at least have access to it).

    I'm also curious about Jim Henson's book "Watermellon's I Don't Know". Would Disney consider putting this book online (like the Henson Company did with Jim Henson's Red Book)? I'm assuming this unpublished work is Disney's property because Kermit's in it. I'd just like to know more about it.


    Wow, this is all new to me. I loved “Street Gang”. I wasn’t aware of Jon Stone’s memoir, though I had the profound joy of every-so-briefly working with Jon once late in his career. I feel blessed at the experience. The other books, by Jim, are totally new to me. So, with my ignorance fully explained, I won’t even try to offer an opinion on whether these will get published, what material will be made available…and all that. I just want to read it all…now.

    From ZeppoAndFriends…
    Mr. Lewis, as a wannabe writer to a real one, how hard is it to ensure that a character STAYS in character?I discovered, while working on a story I hope to get published, that it is very easy for me to cross the line of what a character would/wouldn't say. I kind of bugs me because, sometimes, I'll grow attached to a line that I later realize is completely out of character.Do you, or any other writers you know, have moments like that, or should I just take it as a sign that I'm not cut out for writing?


    Writing is like walking. Sometimes you fall down. Usually it happens when you aren’t paying attention, get distracted or are just learning to walk. That metaphor aside, I find it relatively easy to write in character and stay that way because the performers I write for ARE the characters. If I should write something that Kermit or Gonzo would not say, Steve and Dave will let me know. So I always have them in my mind when I’m writing. If you are creating characters, then you are the arbiter of who they are and what they can say. Consistency is important to creating a character that people can relate to. If you have a character who acts arbitrarily, it’s difficult for the reader/viewer to connect with that character. So keep your focus. Surprises are good, but be true to the voice in your head. And if you have a voice in your head, then you’re a writer. If you have a ping-ping-ping in your head, then you’re probably a submarine captain.
  15. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jim! you rock as always!

    Now for my next question: I know that you have helped with the Muppet Show Comics, but can you shed any light on the Motion Muppet Show comics at all?
  16. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    NO! I thought that was just a sign of my slow descent into madness! :eek:

    But it's worse! Much, MUCH worse!
  17. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    What are you talking about my friend?
  18. ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    The PINGING! The ENDLESS pinging! :eek:

    I thought it was just a sign that I was going insane (which I'm perfectly comfortable with :crazy:), but it means that I'm probably a submarine captain (which I'm NOT perfectly comfortable with)!

    Stop the sub, I wanna get off! :eek:
  19. Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Are you sure it isn't your calling to become a Minstrel?

    Convincing John
  20. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Wow I don't know what to say. I mean if there really is a Ping Ping Ping or whatever in your head then you might want to see a doctor of some kind. If you have a bad case of writers block sometimes throwing your ideas at someone else that don't know your work also helps. If you need some help in any way I'm here for ya.

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