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The softspoken genius of Drew Struzan...

"The journey is everything," my friend David Byrd once told me, and those words certainly ring true when it comes to the journey in making the Amsel documentary. I've been able to meet and befriend such wonderful people -- including lifelong creative heroes whose work continues to inspire me.

Here's a guy all of you movie poster lovers should know. Not the fat bald guy at left (that's me) but the guy in the center: illustration legend Drew Struzan, next to his lovely wife, writer and author Dylan Struzan. (And if you don't know who Drew Struzan is, shame on you. Go watch the documentary DREW: THE MAN BEHIND THE POSTER right now, and don't come back here 'til you're done.)

I first met Drew back in February 2006, at an event sponsored by the Entertainment Art Academy in Pasadena. It was an informal three-hour-plus discussion and Q&A with only a small handful of art students. Struzan struck me as assured yet sincere, passionate if introverted man, filled with some extraordinary stories about his career, life, and work. Best of all, it was an opportunity to see some of his original illustrations firsthand while getting a chance to see his particular drawing and painting technique.

Truth be told, every time I've crossed paths with Drew in the years since, I've been so shy that I'm reduced to a nervous, stuttering idiot. But after a wonderful lunch and heartwarming conversation this past weekend, my spirits soared, and I couldn't stop smiling.

Normally, I'd keep my mouth shut when in the company of such sage, genius talent -- opting to listen to what they have to say, rather than speaking my own mouth off. But I caught myself rambling a number of times. When the topic inevitably turned to Richard Amsel's life and final days, Drew and Dylan were visibly moved. It's a terrible shame that such creative giants never had the opportunity to meet in person.

They say you should never meet your heroes, else you'll be disappointed. I wonder if there's an opposite expression; it would certainly apply here. What a joy it is to see that talent and kindness are not incompatible.

Thank you, Drew and Dylan, from the bottom of my heart.


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