Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mister Rogers' Newest Neighbors

Mister Rogers has inspired all kinds of wonderful people to do all kinds of wonderful thing.

You already know Brian Linder, whose "Save Mister Rogers" campaign gained national media attention and over six thousand members on Facebook. Brian and I continue to exchange emails, and plot bigger things for our collective affection for Mister Rogers and his values.

In the coming weeks and months, I'll endeavor to introduce you to a few other Neighborhood friends you may not have met, but who've reached through the Internets to say hello.

Tim Lybarger's "Neighborhood Archive" is an ever-growing, DIY resource for other Mister Rogers fans.

"I continued to hold a dear appreciation for Mister Rogers, the values he taught, and the legacy he has left," he explains. "I have a fairly respectable collection of Mister Rogers memorabilia, have recorded episodes from television broadcasts (I'm only missing five or six from 1980 and beyond), and I enjoy a hot cup of coffee every morning from my Mister Rogers' Neighborhood coffee mug."

I asked Tim if he had met Mister Rogers. He replied thusly:

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me and Mister Rogers to pass along. The closest I ever came to that was a letter to him at the time of the completion of my undergraduate degree thanking him for his positive contribution to my life. In reply, I received a very humbling letter from him thanking me for my contact and wishing me the best as I enter the world of education. One of my most prized possessions to say the least.

Responding to Tim's letter -- one of hundreds that week, no doubt -- is the essence of Mister Rogers. All of those small gestures aggregate into something larger: a legacy.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mister Rogers, Avid & Me

Well, that didn't take long. Or did it?

Two weeks ago, my brother handed off a hard drive loaded with "Mister Rogers & Me" footage, and taught me Avid Editing 101.

After a fifteen-day period that included ten of travel (and one marathon), I sat down in front of the computer to get started.

You'll recall that I first met Mister Rogers in September, 2001. Principle photography for our little, DIY documentary began in June, 2006. We've been steadily chipping away ever since, including weekend shoots in Washington, DC, Durham, NC, Fredericksburgh, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Nantucket, MA.

We've interviewed Tim Russert, Susan Stamberg, Bo Lozoff, Amy Hollingsworth, Tim Madigan, Marc Brown, and Linda Ellerbee.

Last summer, we applied to Independent Film Week, but didn't make the cut. Chris found out he was going to be a father for the third time. I found out I was going to run MTV News.

So here we are, eight years later. I spent most of last night poking around Avid. It's like the most-complicated, 3D puzzle you can imagine. Worse, with my level of competence, it's like assembling that puzzle with my nose. At this rate, it'll be another eight years before anyone sees this sweet, little story..

So I just sent two emails: one to Save Mister Rogers founder Brian Linder, and Nerdcore Rising director Negin Farsad. Because I'm inches away from a) launching a fundraiser and b) hiring a professional to finishing this thing.

Stay tuned...