Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arlene Sherman R.I.P.

I just learned last night that Arelene Sherman died. She was a wonderful producer at Children's Television Workshop. She's the person who was responsible for so many independent animators
getting a chance to do animated pieces for Sesame Street.

Not a good picure but the only one I could find on the web. She was always laughing when I met her.

I don't understand why there's no news on this via google. I would like to write more about her past, but I only met her twice, even though we worked together for almost ten years.

She gave animators so much freedom. In my case I'd get sent a demo song, sung by the composer. I'd submit storyboards, get them approved, receive a final track, animate a pencil version of that, get approval, then go on to the final inked and painted version.

She was in New York, and I was in California. She rarely wanted anything changed. If only there had been more animation producers like Arelene Sherman.

I know she started out as an editor, and was married to a jazz musician. She had lots of connections in the New York jazz world, which must be how she got Betty Carter to record "From Your Head" and I got a chance to animate it.

Thanks for all you did for independent animation, Arlene. You'll be missed.


Linda said...

People, especially clients! like this are precious. Her photo looks like she liked to have fun. The Betty Carter song is so lovely; the last few seconds of the animation are great, too ... after Betty stops singing (white alligator).

Ken Field/Karen Aqua said...

Karen and I were shocked and saddened to read here of Arlene's passing. She really did impact both of our careers significantly through the work she commissioned from us for Sesame Street. She was very clear in that she did not want Karen's animation or my music to talk down to the young viewers, and we felt like we had an amazing amount of freedom in the creation of our pieces. I'm sure our story is not unique among those who worked with her. Thank you, Arlene, for your vision and support. You made a big difference in many lives, including ours.

stray g said...

What a lovely tribute. It's a rare and special person who knows how to work well with creative people: recognize their talent and allow them to use it without trying to control it.

Namowal said...

Somehow I missed this cartoon before. It's a charmer. So clever and dreamy. You truly "get" the anything-can-happen aspect of animation.
Arlene sounded like a wonderful person to work for. From what I hear, animators and artists are driven batty by fussy and restrictive clients. The world was lucky to have her.

A Wanderer said...

I didn't recognize her in your post too clearly at first, then I recalled her from a documentary on Sesame Street I watched this past year. I don't recall her talking there about the animation, just the show in general, but she seemed like a great person and from what you've said here it sounds like she was indeed. As Linda said, such a person as her is precious. It's wonderful that there are at least SOME people who know how to give creative people their freedom, and, from, Ken and Karen's comments, know how to talk to kids.
(Baby-talking and the negativity of it has been on my mind lately, but that's another story. I'm glad, anyway, to hear of those such as she who appreciated the value of not talking down to kids, anyway.)

Sally said...

I'm glad you all could appreciate how extraordinary it was to work with someone like Arlene.

Ken and Karen, I'm so glad you posted your experiences here too.

I wish I'd seen that documentary, a wanderer.