Saturday, February 6, 2010

Previously on LOST... I mean The Story Since...

Okay, so ages ago when I left this blog (sorry about that again) this is where we were at:

I had applied for a job as a puppeteer on Sesame Street with the help of friends Matt Vogel and Paul McGinnis, and also my Australian puppet-friend Naomi Guss (she gave me the BEST reference, I'd give me a job!)
I had sent a DVD over, and I'd just gotten word from Puppeteer Coordinator (or something like that) Joey Roddy, that the audition never reached its destination.


And that's where we got to. That was the end of October.

The day I posted that blog I ran around the house looking for the video camera to start a new audition. Except I couldn't find it! I called Mum who was at work, and she said the camera was in her boot. I won't bore you with the details, but it turned out to be on the other side of the country with my Dad, and it would be for a few more weeks.

So that was fine, in the meantime I got a few things ready, borrowed a friends puppet so I wouldn't have just one (we have WhatNot's from FAO SWARTZ) and decided what would happen. Then one day when Dad was home I had the house to myself, and I spent the whole day practicing and ultimately filming the entire thing (in intervals, my damn camera battery sucks!)

I sent it via registered post, meaning I could track the item and it would definitely arrive at its destination, with the new address Roddy had given me. But then there was a problem. Australia Post decided to strike. Luckily I had it sent before the strike, but it meant I couldn't track the item because the internet people decided to up and leave. So for about 7 weeks I had no idea where the thing was.

Thankfully a very kind Joey Roddy e-mailed me informing that the tape had in fact arrived, and that he was going to send it on. He did so during this week, so in a few days I'll give him an e-mail and see what the update is. I know for a fact Kevin Clash (Elmo) will see it, so I'm hoping he likes the Elmo voice I did in the audition.

For those of you who want to see the tape, let me see what happens first. I'm happy to show certain bits. I did a few minutes worth of voices, including Ernie, Elmo, Grover, Bert and Cookie, and then included Muppet Show characters like Piggy, Fozzie and Animal. Why not, eh?

Any questions, go ahead and ask them here or on the Muppet Central Forum (I'm under "On The Web" - "Sesame Street or Bust") and I'll do another edition of Not So Frequently Asked Questions. Like I said in earlier posts, I'm sorta just finding my feet, so any help is good help!

Until next time,
Jarrod Fairclough, Aussie Puppeteer!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh, thats right... I have a blog... OOPS!

Hello my friends, and welcome back to Sesame Street or Bust

My biggest apologies to everyone who regularly viewed this site, I know you existed!
But I TOTALLY forgot this blog did!

But I'm back, hopefully for good now, and I have a few things to tell you!

I did end up making a new audition tape and sent it off. More on that in the next couple of days!

I'd write up something tonight, but it's currently 1:11am and I have to be up in like 6 hours!

Wish me luck, and here's hoping I remember to update this thing!

Until tomorrow (promise it wont be a few months!)


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hello bloggies (for I am a blogger)

Big news... kinda

I heard back from The Jim Henson Company this morning.

It turns out they never got my tape because they moved offices twice since I sent it.

So, now to make and send a new one!

More soon!


ps. Head on over to and read my article on The Count and his pulling power with the ladies.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


G'day Kermits and Kermit-ets,

Just a quick note to apologize for my lack of blogging this past week.

I hurt my ankle on Tuesday last week and couldn't walk for a few days, and so I really wasn't in the mood to blog. And then once I could walk I was either out drinking or working or seeing people. So I'm very sorry about that.

Steve - no, not Whitmire - has asked me to put some more pictures of my trip to Sesame Street up. For the record, the picture at the top, my logo, was taken by me, clearly later edited to include Muppets. It's one of my favourites. I'll post them as soon as I can!
Also coming soon - The screenshots of my audition tape! And my call and e-mail to America!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

About A Boy - Me

As I wrote in the last post, people want to know a little bit more about me and my story. I decided that now was probably as good a time as ever, so here we go, you'll learn more than you probably care about.

My name, as said, is Jarrod Fairclough, and I'm 20 years old. I was born May 26th 1989. It was around this time Sesame Street got introduced to my life. I can't be sure of the exact age, but within the first few months of my life Sesame Street was a huge element. There's a great photo somewhere of me on my first Christmas, opening a Sesame Street night-time projector, with a HUGE smile on my face and reaching out for it. It was probably the countless hours I watched this that brainwashed me into a Muppet fan! As I grew up, I was given more and more Sesame Street toys and t-shirts, the toys of which I still have in storage somewhere. And the reaction would always be the same. Giant smile and "gimme!" Through the years I ended up with loads of Sesame Street books, too. I would constantly flick through them, looking at all the characters.

Then I sorta grew up a little. Sesame Street took a backseat to things like Power Rangers (sheesh), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even things like Garfield. But one day when I was at my best friend's place, I came down with tonsilitis, and my friend's Mum put on The Muppet Movie. This was the first real time I'd ever taken much notice to The Muppets, besides a fleeting interest in Muppets Tonight. I LOVED it! So then The Muppets became my main interest, and that lead me back to Sesame Street. Except now I found myself a little more interested in the puppetry side of things. While at a market one day, I found a puppet stall, and they sold mainly "Punch and Judy" style puppets. But I saw one crocodile puppet with a moving mouth. I instantly fell in love. I bought him (this was around age 10) and I took him everywhere with me. He became my grade 5 mascot, and everyone would want to borrow him for the day, or the weekend. And I would let him. But when I had him on, everyone would seem to speak to him as if he were real, completly ignoring me! It was a strange feeling, but I loved it! Unfortunatly I don't know where the puppet is, but I'm pretty sure he's with my childhood toys in storage.
Through my teenage years, I never got a huge chance to play with puppets. They aren't sold a whole lot around where I am. Then, when I was 15, I was given for Christmas a dog ventriloquist doll, a very Muppet-looking thing I called Gus. To this day I still get him out as much as possible and play with him. A couple of years later I added rods to his arms, and I really got a feel for moving the arms while puppeteering.

When I reached 18, and could drive, I'd have a few classes off school in the morning, and would sleep in, get up and watch Play With Me Sesame. I'd imagine the puppeteers undernearth running around, and take great interest in the puppeteer credits, later looking up their names on Muppet Central and later Muppet Wiki, learning things about them. I'd go to school and whoever else had watched it that day would laugh at certain bits, and quote certain lines. It drove my teachers crazy! My friend and I made a live-hands-puppet, who recently got an eye-makeover (thanks to the Magic Triangle theory)
I also loved Avenue Q, and would love seeing the puppets being performed. I always took a real interest in seeing behind the scenes.

In 2008, a few of us decided to go to New York City for a couple of weeks. My friend Sean, a music theatre buff, decided to create a YouTube series about going, and dedicated it to [title of show] and we all starred. Matt Vogel worked on [title of show]'s own YouTube series, as Mindy and as their editor. The people from this show saw ours, and were in regular contact. While we didn't get to see [title of show] as it had closed before we arrived, we were still going to catch up with the guys, Matt Vogel included. I was very excited by this. I added him on Facebook, but he never spoke to me (which I later found out was because Sean had told him not to, in order to surprised me with the Sesame Street trip).

As I mentioned, I was surprised with the trip to the set. Later that day, I e-mailed him thanking him for the oppurtunity. He was very nice, saying it was great to see us etc.
As I got back to Australia, I'd constantly be in contact via Facebook with him and Paul McGinnis, and also John Tartaglia (if you watch our YouTube series, you'll find out why)
I had, over 2008, done a year of university, learning education, but decided to leave that because it wasn't what I wanted to do. I spoke to a few friends, and they all said "Why don't you go work on Sesame Street?" After hearing this loads of times, I decided to bite the bullet, and e-mailed Vogel and Paul on their opinions. They were both huge helps, and gave me LOADS of tips on what to do.

More on my audition tape process next time. I hope that's let you get to know me a little better! Any questions just ask! As for now, I have to go to work. I work in a grocery store, but I'm half in-charge tonight so I don't mind! Until tomorrow (probably)

Not So Frequently Asked Questions #1

Hello Muppetfans, we're all like sportsfans, just.... You know... Muppetfans... *cough* I'll continue.
Over at the Muppet Central Forum, I have a thread in the WEB section, entitled "Sesame Street or Bust" - which makes sense.
I checked on it tonight, and low and behold some people actually responded! With some great questions asked by a couple of people, I have decided I should do my best to answer them.
And also, for those of you who want to know more background on me, and my love for puppetry, how I got into contact with Matt Vogel etc, I shall post a blog very soon on that. And, as I have stated, I will catch everyone up on how I've been chasing the goal so far. Being a new blog, I'm just trying to find my feet.

Question 1: Do you want to work for Sesame Workshop, JHC or The Muppets (owned now by Disney) Good question. As you can see by the title of the blog, it's "Sesame Street or Bust", which means ultimately I'd love to be working on that show as a puppeteer. I am of course not ruling out working with The Muppets, but that's not my prime goal at this time. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to the Sesame Street set in December of last year. I've always been a huge Muppet nerd, so being on the set was great in that respect. But I got a huge sense of "You know what? This is where I wanna be forever" after I'd looked behind the scenes, met the puppeteers and watched them work. PS - The episode I watched them film was the Y-Knights, you can see the episode description on the Sesame Workshop site.

Question 2: You mention being an Australian puppeteer. Are you based in Australia or have you moved overseas? I am based in Australia, I live about an hour out of Melbourne in Victoria. But I am more than happy to relocate for the duration of filming at my own expense to work for Sesame Street. The show films it's majority of scenes and sketches within around 12 weeks over November, part of December, January and February. As I said, I'd happily temporarily relocate, having enough time over the holidays to return for Christmas etc.

Question 3: Would you be content working for the Creature Workshop (on things such as the potential Farscape webisodes etc.) Yes and no. While yes, it'd be a fun experience and a great time, I'm more inclined to work with the Sesame Street catalogue. It's mainly my love and respect for Sesame Street and Jim Henson that leads me to want to work for them, and I have never been a huge fan of the Creature Shop products (although that is due to never really ever being exposed to them)

Question 4: Would you be willing to work for an international version of Sesame Street? Or just the American one? I'm not going to rule anything out at all. We have an Australian Muppet, Ollie, who hosts a few inserts on Nickelodeon, and I would happily work with a character like this, and perhaps heading to another country for a small time to work on their production, but as I've mentioned, I'd ultimately like to end up working for the American Sesame Street.

Question 5: What about digital puppetry, Henson's new 'toy'? It's a possibility. Working on shows such as Sid The Science Kid etc would surely be great practise and experience. As I said, I don't want to rule anything out at all!

So, that was Not So Frequently Asked Questions #1 - meaning that there will be more! I realize you guys need to get to know me so you can care about my goals, and I am more than happy to answer ANY questions you guys have what-so-ever. Someone has also asked can you see the audition tape? The answer, at the moment, is no. I will put up some screenshots of the tape though, and explain at some stage the tapes contents.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment, e-mail me (my e-mail address SHOULD be in my profile) or head on down to Muppet Central's Forum.
And a huge thanks to Ryan from The Muppet Mindset for linking to me!
Until next time (tomorrow I should assume)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Day On Sesame Street

My Day on Sesame Street - 18th December, 2008. Copied and pasted directly from my Facebook page. Feel free to add me! Written Febuary 18th 2009. P.S - The YouTube show is called "Sean, the Aussie Fan of [title of show]'s Show" - I believe it's still available to watch. P.P.S - This was during a 2 week holiday in New York City with two of my friends.

Okay, it's been like 2 months since I visited the set of Sesame Street, and I still can't get over how freakin' awesome it was! Let me explain: I'm in that YouTube show about those people, those people include Matt Vogel, Matt Vogel is a puppeteer. That should save us some time. So Sean (behind my back) organized for us to visit the set of Sesame Street, and he impressively kept it a secret until the night before. I'll tell ya how he told me. Like it was no big thing. Just a passing comment."What are we doing at 2:30 tomorrow?" "I dunno, why?" "We're going to Sesame Street"


That basically sums up my response. I didn't say much. I did jump around the hotel room a little. Matt (Collins) knew all about it. That night as Matt and I walked Sean to a theater so he could see a show we didn't want to see, I said "I feel bad, like I haven't been great full enough" But we decided this was just the shock to the system. I was excited. I was going to Sesame Street!

Okay, so we got to the studio like an hour early - in our defense we got told by someone at the hotel it would take like and hour and a half to get there - It took 25 minutes, if that! So we sit down in the foyer, and there's a lady on the phone near me. I'm thinking "Why does she look familiar? Where have I seen her?" and she winks at me. I later found out this was because I was wearing a Sesame Street Visitors Pass. And then I realized that lady was Leslie Carrara - one of the puppeteers. So while I'm sitting in the foyer, twiddling my thumbs and trying to calm myself so I didn't giggle like a little girl, people came in and out. I recognized some of these people as Muppet performers, and there was some show being filmed in the next room or something - Nurse Jackie. It's new. It's about doctors. We were making little remarks about it, until FINALLY 2:30 ticks over and we're lead by a little lady (who I've forgotten the name of, but was lovely) up a lift, and into a few corridors. One TV is showing a time lapse of the set being built. Another TV has a vet's waiting room in it, and every so often a hand would pop up. So anyway, we're lead through some rooms, see some of the dressing rooms, and meet the lady who plays Leela - a new character. She seemed a little taken aback by the sudden people saying hi why she was getting her make up done! There was another room and the first thing I saw (so cool but a little creepy) was Big Birds legs! Then it was time for the big moment! Just a step through this door and I'd be whisked onto the worlds most famous street!
The lady told us as soon as we stepped inside to look up - there was Snuffy, hanging from the ceiling. I wish I'd taken a photo, it was so cool and weird! Then we walked around the corner, and... Holy crap! It's Big Birds Nest!

That was cool! We took a couple of photos, just while they were filming a little bit (in the vet - more on that scene in a moment) and I saw the photo of Mr Hooper from the incredibly good scene where Big Bird is told of Hooper's death - I showed that to my Uni class when we were talking about dealing with tragedies in kids lives.

Then we round the corner to see them filming a scene. And there, in front of me, is Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Telly Monster and Gina doing a scene. And then there's a Yak, played by Mr Vogel! They film this twice (because Vogel makes Gina laugh in the last few seconds) and I take in the place around me.

There's puppeteers around me, there's a Muppet chicken hanging up. Eric Jacobson walks past me - Eric Jacobson is Bert, Grover, Miss Piggy and Fozzie among others. I'll talk about him in a moment. So there's a few minutes while they do some re-shoots and what have you, and we go into Hoopers Store. VERY VERY VERY cool.

Then me met the very cool Matt Vogel. And behind him was Paul McGinnis, another puppeteer. We chat for a few moments about [title of show], but then we talk about the REAL issue - why haven't we had our photos taken in Oscars Trash Can!?
Because it's been moved for the day due to room issues or something. So Vogel says "I'll go and get Oscar instead" Um... OKAY!
Paul took the photo while Vogel got on his butt, held up Oscar and stayed in character while we took a few photos. Vogel went to get Kevin Clash and Elmo, and we talked to Kevin about Rove for a bit. Then we met Elmo.

Elmo was very cute and funny, and told us all to get wasted on the weekend. We had to teach Elmo about being underage! Vogel then asked me if there were any characters I'd love to have my photo with. I racked my brains - the choices were HUGE! And then it came to be - "Ernie and/or Bert" So off Vogel went, and came back with The Count (Oh my God!), and behind him was Eric Jacobson with Bert! We quickly shook hands with Eric and said hi, then he put on Bert and didn't lose character for ages! Bert was hilarious, making sly jokes about Ernie's weight. They then took some photos, Bert asking Paul "How many Mega-pixels is that camera, Paul?" "Um, 8 Bert" "That's my favourite amount of Mega-pixels!"

We then watched Kevin with Elmo film something with a Make-A-Wish kid. Then I saw Super Grover. Getting some repairs done. You don't wanna see that! Then Vogel told us to come with him to see something Top Secret, and will remain Top Secret to all of you - its cooler that way! We were lead into a HUGE empty studio space next door, a room we'd already seen quickly. There were 2 HUGE blue boxes in that room, but I hadn't really taken much notice of them. Then Vogel and a stage manager lady opened the box, and there was one of the coolest things I'd EVER seen! After years of seeing it on TV, there it was in front of me! We looked at it in awe, touched it, learnt how it worked, how it was made etc. Probably one of the best things of the day. We then went and watched some more filming, and half hour later we left the studio. Our tour lady was very happy, she had only started a few weeks beforehand and she hadn't had her photo with any of the puppets, so she got just as much of a tour as we did!

So that was my day on Sesame Street! Since then I've spoken to both Vogel and Paul, and both have been very good to me. They're both great guys. Thanks to Vogel for making it so damn cool! Thanks to Sean for organizing it! I can tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street