Liken History / The Process

The Deluxe Studio Tour

Been a busy, nose-to-the-grindstone kind of week, pressing forward on the work of getting Jonah ready for release with our tiny – yet diligent – group of people.


Pretty much the star of the deluxe tour is Humphrey, the 'Great Fish' from 'Jonah and the...'

Occasionally, especially during the summer months, the grindstone will be mercifully interrupted by unexpected visits from out-of-town families on vacation. They usually recognize coming in that we’re a small, working office and may not be able to show them around. However, unless we’re out of the office or tied up in a meeting, we usually try to accommodate them with the deluxe tour.

These days, the deluxe tour can take a solid two minutes and is worth every penny (free).

Back when we used the warehouse downstairs as our shooting space, we usually had most of the most recent movie’s set still up, plus we kept around some of the larger props, such as the manger from “Christmas” and the hair stylists chair from “Esther,” and that deluxe tour took a good 20 minutes, if for no other reason than that’s how long it would take to navigate the maze the warehouse became. But two summers ago, we finished relocating our warehouse to a more economical off-site warehouse and now the downstairs warehouse is cleared out. Easier to move around down there, but absolutely nothing to see. Trade-offs.

So now, the deluxe tour consists generally of two stops (three if producer Ken is in town).

The first stop is Josh’s office, who has the best collection of Liken paraphernalia in the world, including such treasures as David’s harp, Leon’s palm pilot from “Daniel,” and prototypes of the Humphrey and Chum plush toys from Jonah. That’s the first minute of the tour. The next and final stop on the tour is my office, which is basically this cave dimly lit by little more than the glow of a pair of Apple cinema displays where the Jonah edit is still being tweaked.

But for visitors, I’ll turn on the overheads so they can see Humphrey, the great fish from Jonah, whose gigantic, vacant costume has been staring at me for about a year now. Across from him is our life-sized cut-out of Samuel the Lamanite, who has sadly broken his arm. The Nephite Archery Corps couldn’t lay a finger on him, but the strain of holding up that spear for four years has finally gotten the better of his right arm. We’ve tried taping a stick to the back of his arm as a splint it to brace it up, but the strain of that spear overpowers the tape’s sticking power, so it just hangs down. Hope the visitors don’t mind.

I don’t have quite the collection on my bookshelves that Josh has, but really observant Liken fans tend to notice some framed pictures of Spencer’s colorings that were featured in the opening credits of “Ammon.” If they notice them, I’ll explain that these were actually done by my daughter, Katie, who is a talented artist and was about 13 at the time, and that it pained her to make her work look like the work of an 8-year-old boy, so we spread the work out over a few days. But anybody who can recognize where those pictures are from I figure is a pretty ardent Liken supporter, so if I have time, I try to share with them a couple clips from Jonah in its “work-in-progress” mode on the editing machine.

We had two families visit this week that fit that mold. One was from Washington state, the other from Southern California. The parents of both families very graciously shared with me what Liken has meant, both to their children as well as to them personally. One father quietly shared with me how Aaron’s music had helped him through a particularly challenging period of his life.

During the middle of these nose-to-the-grindstone periods, sometimes it’s a little hard to see the forest for the trees. These brief drop-by visits are refreshing reminders of why we do what we do.