Brian Henson on His Father’s Legacy

Question:\r\nHow does your leadership style compare to your dad’s? 


Brian Henson:  Boy, that’s one\r\nof those questions you almost have to ask somebody else. I guess I \r\nlearned a\r\ncouple of good lessons from my dad. One was when you’re creating \r\nsomething,\r\nwhat you want when you’re working with a team of other artists, is \r\neverybody to\r\nwork with some creative freedom, so that you really get the best out of\r\neverybody.  People would say to\r\nhim, “When you finish a movie, did it come out as good as you thought it\r\n was\r\ngoing to?”  Or, “Did it come out\r\nthe way you intended it to come out?” \r\nAnd my dad’s answer would be usually something to the affect of, \r\na.) it\r\ncame out better than he imagined, but also, he said, “No, it would be\r\nimpossible for me to imagine the way it will come out.”  He\r\n said, “Yes, I story-boarded it, I\r\nhad a plan, but then I work with an army of great artists and I want all\r\n of\r\nthem to create inside that creation.” \r\nAnd so as a director, as a leader, and myself as a director and a\r\nleader, I kind of try to make sure that we hold onto the vision and kind\r\n of\r\ncorral it, but by the time you finish whatever the project is, a TV \r\nshow, a\r\nseries, a movie, a stage show, it should be a product of what all those \r\npeople\r\ncan do, and therefore, it can never be what you imagined it would be in \r\nthe\r\nbeginning.  And it should be\r\nsomething that only that group of people could’ve made with everybody \r\ninvested. 


So\r\n in that\r\nsense, I try to emulate his approach of really get the most out of \r\npeople by\r\nallowing them to experiment and certainly allowing people to make\r\nmistakes.  I think in a creative\r\neffort, in any creative effort, you need to, people need to be able to \r\nbe\r\ntaking risks and if it turns out to be a mistake—if it turns out not to \r\nhave\r\nbeen the right choice—that should be applauded, you know, by everybody, \r\nand it\r\nwill come up with another plan. \r\nBut if everybody’s trying to stay safe, then you never really \r\ncreate\r\nsomething new and different and surprising.


And\r\n so I try to\r\noperate like him in that sense.  My\r\ndad was a very, very gentle soul, I’m probably not quite as gentle, \r\nmaybe, as\r\nhim.  But I certainly try to\r\nrespect people and create an environment where people can flourish.

Recorded on April 8, 2010

Jim Henson knew the value of letting people make mistakes.

Why does life flash before your eyes in a life-threatening scenario?

The experience of life flashing before one's eyes has been reported for well over a century, but where's the science behind it?

Photo by Kalea Jerielle on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

At the age of 16, when Tony Kofi was an apprentice builder living in Nottingham, he fell from the third story of a building. Time seemed to slow down massively, and he saw a complex series of images flash before his eyes.

Keep reading Show less

How romantic love is like addiction

Might as well face it, you're addicted to love.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Many writers have commented on the addictive qualities of love. Science agrees.
  • The reward system of the brain reacts similarly to both love and drugs
  • Someday, it might be possible to treat "love addiction."
Keep reading Show less

Ancient megalodon shark was even bigger than estimated, finds study

A school lesson leads to more precise measurements of the extinct megalodon shark, one of the largest fish ever.

Credit: Catmando / Adobe Stock.
Surprising Science
  • A new method estimates the ancient megalodon shark was as long as 65 feet.
  • The megalodon was one of the largest fish that ever lived.
  • The new model uses the width of shark teeth to estimate its overall size.
Keep reading Show less

Autonomous killer robots may have already killed on the battlefield

A brief passage from a recent UN report describes what could be the first-known case of an autonomous weapon, powered by artificial intelligence, killing in the battlefield.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Autonomous weapons have been used in war for decades, but artificial intelligence is ushering in a new category of autonomous weapons.
  • These weapons are not only capable of moving autonomously but also identifying and attacking targets on their own without oversight from a human.
  • There's currently no clear international restrictions on the use of new autonomous weapons, but some nations are calling for preemptive bans.
Keep reading Show less