Sep 30th 2012 by mistersavage • 38 Questions • 3231 Points
Special Effects artist, maker, sculptor, public speaker, movie prop collector, writer, father and husband.
What made you do an AMA now?(Your account is three years old already :)
I did one AMA (on video) a few years back. I've been wanting to do one for awhile. Also: we have a season Premiere on the 7th of this month. New time- 8pm on Discovery. Now if you don't mind I'd like to get back to answering only questions about Woody Harrelson's movies.
The blueprints that open and close the show. Those stilted conversations are hard to keep fresh. If you watch a lot of them, you'll notice we try lots of things to keep them from being stale, but they take a lot out of me. I'd much rather do my camera stuff in the moment.
I can't repeat it here. Jamie has a dark dark sense of humor.
You did the show on curiosity about living forever. Is that something you would want?
If you were stranded on an island i the middle of the ocean, what three items would you want to have?
Leatherman. Duct tape. A tarp. Baling wire. A spoon. Some rope. Oh, and a trailer and some food.
What were the most difficult myths to pitch to Discovery that did/didn't end up on the show?
They love almost everything we bring them. They shut down very few stories. But they hate the Hi-Fidelity myths that I want to do: Vinyl vs. CD vs. MP3. We'll wear them down eventually.
Once almost got shot by an entire SWAT team in NYC in Times Square in '87. That's a good story. I may tell it someday.
Has there ever been a moment (on Mythbusters) where everything went out of control and you feared for your safety?
We've feared for our safety a lot. We are sensitive to when we start to feel spooked and seek to resolve the issue before it becomes an issue. I've been scared a bunch on the show. Underwater Car. Mythtanic. Hell, the first time we swam with sharks I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
First off I love your show! Second, did you ever think Mythbusters would ever blow up like it did? When did you realize this?
Not at all. Our fame and the show's popularity grew really gradually. Which is nice because it's heady stuff sometimes.
What is the one hilarious thing we didn't get to see in the show?
Seriously, if it's funny, it makes it in. Unless it's an off-color joke (my specialty).
I have. It's an old old pic from when he was in high school. He wont' make it public, he's a private guy. Amazing to see a young Jamie though.
What do you think is the largest hurdle for Humanity right now? And how can we overcome it?
The corrupting influence of money in politics. It's getting worse. Publicly funded elections is one solution. It's not an easy problem to solve but it needs solving. That's what's on my mind lately. Bill Gates is taking care of the rest.
What does your wife think of the show?
also, we know your name and your quest, so what is your favorite color?
Favorite color is Orange.
Wife loves the show. She watches it when I'm gone on a shoot (so do my kids).
What myth requested by a fan was so far-fetched and absurd that it was practically laughable? And if you ever find the opportunity to test out the myth, how would you go about busting it?
Several times we've gotten suggestions that we thought were like that but eventually figured out a way to do them: like punching sharks. The first guy to suggest that (was totally drunk btw) sounded full crazy to me. A year later we were in the Bahamas punching sharks.
Mr. Savage, what is your best/worst fan experience in real life? Huge fan of the show. You guys blow my mind!
Having people yell my name really loud in airports is a low point (why people need to yell about meeting me is beyond me- it feels super aggressive). Meeting any kids is always a high point.
Whenever people yell "Jamie" I don't respond. It feels weird correcting them and at the worst they're going to think that Jamie's a jerk.
I just wanted to say thank you for all the years of entertainment and education you and Jamie have provided with Mythbusters. I have seen a couple of your movie prop videos and I wanted to know of all your props, which was the hardest to acquire?
You're welcome. That's a hard question to answer. I'm going to have to think about it.
- It can do anything, but it leaves a damn residue on stuff when left for too long. Aesthetically it's hideous, but that's sort of it's appeal. I love Baling wire too.
Adam, what do you think about discovery channel as a whole? I mean, it seems like there's a lot of reality shows being added to it, and not a lot of good content besides Mythbusters…
On another note, what has been your best "fan" moment, and where can I go to be invited to some of these Mythbuster "fan contributing" episodes?
edit: sorry if the Discovery question was a little much.
Best fan moments have been getting emails from people in grad school who tell us that they got interested in their field from watching us. That's crazy amazing. The other great thing is meeting fans who I admire. Like Simon Pegg, Guillermo Del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Vince Gilligan, Matthew Weiner, Sophia Bush, Seth Rogen, Michael Chabon, Craig Ferguson, David Letterman, James Cameron. It's a long list.
What myth did you think was totally going to get busted but it did not?
Killer Cable snap. The myth that a cable under tension can slice through you when it snaps and whips around. . Not a fisherman alive who doesn't KNOW that this is true. Except that it isn't. We busted it wide open. I was very surprised. But our research bore that out: we found not a singe first person account of it happening. Everything was circumstantial.
I'd love to do 21 grams. Perhaps James Randi will let me do that when he finally decides to depart, which given his energy is still probably 25 years away.
I saw the Bourne safety deposit box you made up for your collection. Was awesome. Is that your favourite prop you've made?
No, but it's up there. I love that movie. All of them.
How have you grown artistically as a result of the show?
Huge fan, thanks for the AMA!
Totally. The pressure of making something cool and visually that tells a story has radically improved my aesthetic sense.
Is there a myth you would love to test, but can't because of budget or other reasons?
How large is the Mythbusters behind-the-camera team (i.e. people helping you test the myths by researching etc., not including the TV recording/production crew)?
Jamie and I shoot with Camera, Sound, Second camera (for high speeds etc) and director. We're supported by 3 Associate producers (location booking, permits, expert finding, esoteric item ordering, signage and everything else). We have a production manager (of course) and her team. Runners, Production assistants. K, G &T also have the same. Entire San Francisco crew is about 25-26 people total for both teams. It's a terrific crew. Many have been with us for 6-7 years. Turnover is very low.
People told me that the huge table of links from before actually crashed some browsers/apps. I've tried my best to filter the responses into different categories. Hopefully everything's squeaky clean now! If there are problems, please let me know. Now I gotta catch up to Adam's new responses.How to make a table just like this! :D link
Thanks for that btw.
Wallet. Iphone. AA Flashlight (I use it multiple times per day). Keys to house, shop and car. Leatherman (on the belt).
Adam, what gun have you had the most fun shooting for the show?
I love the HK Mp5. Feels like shooting with a sewing machine. So light. We used them to try and start an avalanche in Telluride. Didn't work.
I love that you're a strong advocate for allowing people to make mistakes when they're learning anything new. It's a sentiment that really hits home, especially as I get older.
That said, have there been any skills or hobbies you've taken an interest in that immediately shut you down in terms of their difficulty? Or simply not being as fun as you'd first imagined? I so, are there any that with hindsight you'd now wish you'd stuck with?
Finally - is it weird that people ask you to come to events, stand up and talk about stuff you like?
I'm so happy that we've become the poster children for failure as a mode of exploration. Thank you. I tackle things all the time that are beyond me. Sometimes I try again, sometimes I let it go.
It's a great and (temporary) thing that people want to ask me about what I do. I will miss it when they stop. I'm grateful and humbled that us farting around in the shop has had such long lasting resonance. It's humbling.
What's the worst suggestion for a myth to bust the show has ever gotten?
Old (often drunk) dudes who ask me myths about them dating Kari. I know she's lovely, and I know creepers gotta creep, but don't do it around me. I feel like her dad sometimes with how protective I feel about this.
Hey Adam, I have attempted to contact you before. But I just want to let you know you're a hero of mine. The quirkiness yet blissful intelligence has always been a trait of mine and something I can relate too. You probably will not see this, but just know this; you're a special person to me, my self-esteem, and you give me hope for what I can become. A goal for about two years now has been to just have a conversation with you. If thats ever possible, please let me know. Thanks, from a 17 year old growing up in a small town of nowhere.
That made my day. Thanks.
Desert island food: eggs. One of my favorite restaurants right now is Namu in San Francisco. 18th and Dolores. They're killing it right now.
Does Jamie show ANY other emotion even off set? We see him act like a school girl sometimes, but is his persona the same off set?
With Jamie, what you see is what you get.
Why don't you guys use the Metric System on Mythbusters? as it is the standard for scientific experimentation
We try, we do both sometimes. But we're both fully inculcated with the english system, sad to say. That's how we think.
What skill are you yet to learn but would like to try next?
Juggling 5 balls. I can juggle 3 quite well, and 4 passably, but 5 is a goal I've never hit.
Raising my kids and meeting my wife.
Could you do a Mythbusters episode where you de-bunk the "scientific" equipment and methods used by people who claim to be Ghost Hunters? Either that--or could you build a Proton Pack? Please?
They do that themselves by never coming up with a positive (non subjective) result. We don't need to complicate things by starting to try and prove negatives on the show. That's not our business.
When you famously lost an eyebrow and singed your hair, what was your dates reaction? What was your explanation? And did she become the future Mrs. Savage?
The date, at the time, went just fine thank you.
She did not become the future Mrs. Savage. She is still, however, a good friend. She prefers that I not tell her name.
What do you have to say to anyone out there that is struggling through college and can't find their niche in life?
You don't want to ask me. I dropped out. There's no control to compare against with my experience. But one thing I do know: there's always time. I spent my 20's thinking I was running out of time, now I realize that there's a lot of it. Try something different. Try everything. Jeez, now I sound like an advice columnist.