Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kim Manners

It’s impossible to explain or relate the connections you feel to other people, particularly those who you don’t know well. You see their work, and you love it, and a connection grows. You have a random conversation on any given Tuesday, and for some reason it strikes a note. Maybe it’s part of a fandom’s illusion of relationships through shared experience.

Whatever it is, I can’t really explain the loss I felt when I heard that Kim Manners died of lung cancer on Sunday.

For those of you who didn’t know the man or his work, he was a prolific director on The X-Files and Supernatural (as well as an exec producer for both shows, as well as numerous other projects over a long career). Technically skilled and exacting, Kim’s sets were a fascinating experience—one I had all too rarely.

While I worked on a number of his X-Files episodes over the years, I’ll never forget the first time I actually spoke with him. I had accidentally (aka completely on purpose) crashed his 50th birthday party. It was the middle of the shooting day, but a party broke out, and as I was working as an extra, I got caught up in the moment (aka left holding area to find out what all the cheering was for). I remember the speech he gave about how much he loved his cast and crew—they were obviously family to him. He talked about how if it were up to him, the show would continue another 8 years because it meant that much to him.

As he was leaving the party to head back to work (we had another 9 hours in front of us), I wished him a happy birthday. He kissed me on the cheek, called me sweetheart, and stopped to talk to me. The conversation itself wasn’t earth shattering—mostly about if I had worked the show before, etc. The only thing that kept running through my head was, “Don’t you know who you are?” Directors don’t talk to extras. I didn’t do a lot of that kind of work, but that’s one thing I definitely knew. And yet there he was.

Eight hours later, I was standing on set with Kim, Gillian, my hot swat guy (damn, what was his name, and why didn’t I pay attention) and her manager, Connie. It was 1am. Everyone was exhausted, and we all knew that there was at least an hour or more to go. Despite all of that, Kim, who undoubtedly had a longer day than any of us, was on the move. The man’s energy was contagious, and with an entertainingly suggestive conversation with Gillian, we were off and running.

That’s how I’ll always remember Kim—a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and colorful turn of phrase, always exhorting and inspiring people to be better.

The IBG Group has set up a donation page for people who are interested in honoring the man. All donations will be given to the American Lung Association in Kim’s honor:

1 comment:

Pen said...

What a sweet story. I agree that it can be really hard to explain when someone you really didn't even know has touched your life in such a huge way. I guess the beauty of that is that they live on forever, not just through their art, but through the way their art has spoken to and touched so many.
RIP, Kim.