Kickstart This: 'I Am Big Bird' Doc on 78-Year-Old 'Sesame St' Voice
by Ben Pearson
July 30, 2012
Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about cool indie projects around the web that need your help to become a reality. This week, we've got one really cool project we want to bring to your attention. It is called I Am Big Bird, and it follows puppeteer and voice artist Caroll Spinney, the 78-year-old star of "Sesame Street" who is the only man to have played both Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch on the classic children's series. Take a look, sound off in the comments below, and don't forget to toss these filmmakers a few bucks if you can. Check it out below!
If you grew up with a TV in your house, chances are pretty good that you watched "Sesame Street" in your formative years. The show has been running since 1969, and Caroll Spinney has been the man behind the iconic characters of both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since their very first appearances. With the success of The Muppets last year, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the loveable, fuzzy creatures, so now is a great time to tell the untold story of one of the most consistent and unsung actors in TV history.
A lot of this ground was covered in the outstanding 2011 doc Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, which profiled Kevin Clash, the man behind the loveable titular red Muppet. But that film goes so in depth with Clash's story and barely mentions Spinney, who became Clash's eventual co-worker during his early days on the show. Though there's certainly the potential for a lot of the same content to be covered, I still think I Am Big Bird is different enough to be worthwhile on its own merits. Spinney is giving these young filmmakers unprecedented access into his life and archives, allowing them to show us never before seen footage of Spinney interacting with legends like Jim Henson and Frank Oz, as well as his personal short films and giving us the opportunity to hear stories from his more than forty year career. Here's their pitch video:
For more information about Spinney's I Am Big Bird, or to help fund the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Dave LaMattina, Chad Walker and Clay Frost are hoping to raise $100,000 by August 16th, so help spread the word and please donate if you can! Also follow their production blog here or their Twitter, too.
We're playing with the format of this column for a little while, so for now, that's all we have for this week's edition of Kickstart This. We want to give these projects their due and really shine a light on some of the best ones we come across, for now we feel like bumping the number of featured projects down a bit is the best way to do that. We're always looking for more feedback, so leave us some comments below. And don't forget, my personal inbox is always open if you come across something you'd like to see as a featured project here in the future, so fire an e-mail my way at BenPears85@gmail.com. As always, thanks for supporting these projects, because they couldn't be made without your help. For our Kickstart This archive, visit here.
They better damn well get donations for this film...the man deserves it.
dkBowen on Jul 30, 2012
Good call in shortening the length of these articles. I was scanning them before and usually skipping them because they were too long and the projects were sub par. Now that it's down to one project at a time I can really dedicate myself to seeing what one film maker is trying to accomplish to make his dream come true rather than seeing a bunch of half-assed film makers whining for money.
Matt Peloquin on Jul 31, 2012
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