Comic-Con 2010: Day 3

Street signs adorning the City of San Diego for Comic-Con 2010

Day 3 was Star Wars Day at San Diego Comic-Con International and we have something shocking to report, ladies and gentlemen. We did not see a single light saber, not one! Since we almost incurred an unfortunate eye injury last year due to an overenthusiastic Jedi, this was most welcome relief. For, today was all about science and technology. In a day that could not have been more tailor-made for our website, we enjoyed panels with the eminent sci-fi television writers of today discussing writing for genre TV (a must-read for any aspiring TV writers out there!), a visit from the greatest science fiction writer in the history of science fiction, Ray Bradbury, a preview of next season’s sci-fi show The Event, and a panel on how exactly shows like CSI “tech” out with gadgets galore. Oh, yes, did we mention we got to hang out privately with the MythBusters?? With the help of our intrepid reporter Bryy Miller, we bring you the most complete Comic-Con coverage on the web. Plus, our Costume of the Day, after the “continue reading” cut!

The Write Stuff: Creating Genre Television

LOST. CSI. V. Battlestar Galactica. It seems that sci-fi, tech, and geek-chic television is everywhere. Not only is it a staple of prime time (across basic and extended cable), it’s an increasingly popular genre for which good writers are constantly in demand. Since we are, an opportunity to listen in as a panel of some of today’s hottest genre television writers gave away secrets of their craft and advice for aspiring writers was irresistible.

Writing for Genre TV panel Part 1 (from left to right): Moderator Jeff Goldsmith, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Sarah Watson, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Ashley E. Miller
Writing for Genre TV Part 2 (from left to right): Steve Melching, Gabrielle Stanton, Jesse Alexander, Steve Kriozere, Charles Murray, and Mark Altman.

Since this panel consisted of so many writers, albeit a dream team thereof, there was only an allotted amount of time for three questions, each of which the panelists answered one by one down the line, and quite enthusiastically. The moderator, Jeff Goldsmith, who runs the industry rag Creative Screenwriting correctly pointed out that not only are they all working in TV, but if they weren’t on this panel, they’d be at Comic-Con anyway. He called them the “Algonquin geek table.” The first question was to ask each screenwriter what brilliant idea they had that would revolutionize a show they were working on at the time, but that couldn’t get past the network censors.

Mark Altman (Castle, Elvis Van Helsing) recalled creating a pilot called Elvis Van Helsing, but ABC went with The Middle Man instead. So he turned it into a graphic novel, and the rest was history. Charles Murray (V, Criminal Minds) actually recalled a terrific idea for an episode of Criminal Minds, where a serial killer would put a milk carton in someone’s fridge and the “Have You Seen This Person?” picture would be of the dead person. Clever, we thought! Steve Kriozere (NCIS, VIP) had the clever idea on VIP of casting Bruce Campbell to play Pamela Anderson’s uncle. The amazing and talented Jesse Alexander (Alias, LOST, Heroes) recalled a victory for geeks in the form of Heroes Season 1 in an episode entitled Days of Future Past where all the characters went into alternate future. He mentioned that it was so hard to approve and get on air, but the episode went on to win multiple awards. What didn’t make it? “Season 5.”
Steve Melching (Clone Wars, Transformers, The Batman) recalled writing for the animated series The Batman taking place in his first few years in Gotham City, and wanted (but failed) to approve a B story about a frat boy group dressing up in D-List costumes, committing fake crimes and then videotaping their subsequent ass kicking by Batman. We wonder why that didn’t get approved. Ashley E. Miller (Fringe, Terminator) wanted a Fringe follow up to the episode “Bishop Revival,” which had an immortal Nazi. He wanted a flashback episode to 1942, where we find out that Agent Phillip Broyles is 100 years old, and whacking Nazis. Jose Molina (Castle, Firefly) wanted a Firefly payoff episode with a 9-months-pregnant woman being evil, where the team kills her but they save the baby, and the episode would consist of three acts of “Three Men and a Baby.” Right. Sarah Watson (Middleman, Parenthood) recalled being hired to do a SyFy Channel movie of the week about an untapped volcano under Manhattan (seriously!), and she had grand plans for lava engulfing Statue of Liberty, taking over all of Manhattan island, but when the movie got produced the visual ended up being lava trickling out from under a garage. Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The Gates, Deep Space Nine) was writing for 4400 in its final season, and was obsessed with the idea of creating an aerosol promycin bomb over Seattle (hmmm, as a Seattleite, I booed this from the audience). The showrunners created a promycin bomb at the end. So the next time you think all TV writers are geniuses, just remember that for every great episode of your favorite show, there were many bad ideas tossed around in the writers’ room.

Next, Goldsmith asked the panel to recount (as diplomatically as possible) the stupidest network notes they’d ever encountered for a show script they worked on.

Mark Altman recalled working on a SyFy Channel movie where executives asked him to recap the whole plot at the beginning of the hour because of people tuning in from HBO. Charles Murray, while working on V, was told he couldn’t use the word lizard in an episode. How do you get past something like that, he was asked. “I left the show. That’s how you get past it.” Steve Kriozere revealed the #1 SyFy Channel rule of movies: don’t speak to the monster. Jesse Alexander, having worked on some of the greatest sci-fi hits ever, waxed more philosophical. Everyone has an opinion on these shows, but executives want the rules of the show’s world, they want everything spelled out clearly, a lot of exposition. They’re generally happier if the shows are procedurals, but sci-fi shows don’t have room for that—if all the secrets and exposition are revealed it drives people away from the content. Steve Melching pointed out that a lot of animated shows have hyper-sensors because they’re aimed at children. The dumbest note he ever received was that you can’t say “killer satellites.” Ashley E. Miller was reminded (we are shocked!) that you cannot have an 11 year old boy say douchenozzle on prime time TV. Jose Molina recalled an episode of Castle where a body is found in the teaser, the guys go through case, and find out that the victim was killed by a stiletto. Said the executives: “Does the killer have to kill with a shoe?” Sarah Watson revealed that the most annoying thing to writers on shows now is that they’re paid by sponsors, so writers have to put products into scenes strategically. Her worst example was an episode of a show with a surf competition…sponsored by Tampax. To make this work, they had to cover a poor actress’s entire surf bodysuit with Tampax logos. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was taken out to dinner by the main executives of a show he was working on and flat out asked to dumb down the series. Ahhh, the things you learn when the iron curtain goes down.

Finally, Goldsmith asked the panel to give advice to young TV writers (or aspiring writers) on how to best write for a budget, which is unfortunately what most young writers will face on television these days.

Without question, the panel answered unanimously that the secret in the writing is all. about. character. The best and cheapest special effects are two actors in a room with terrific conflict and terrific dialogue—that’s what’s compelling, that’s what’s intimate. Most physical action, they reminded us, is actually superfluous—only revert to it after all possible dialogue is tapped out. Ultimately, you must look at how what you cut (if you are forced to cut things) affects the character. If you put six people in a scene, make sure that all of them need to be in the scene, because it is extremely expensive to shoot. The writers lamented that networks sometimes have too much money, and a subsequent desire to compete with Transformers or Iron Man, which television can’t do. Writers must remember that character works for television, and you can have high-concept ideas for sci-fi. That’s why shows on cable, which are often budget-restricted, are so great. Sarah Watson reminded the audience that you can always make a show cheaper, and fantastic, with great writing and great dialogue. This is how Friday Night Lights, which shoots on a shoestring budget down in Texas, was able to survive for five seasons.

Mostly, in advice relevant to any writer reading this, they said not to repeat past mistakes.

The Event

The Event panel (from left to right): Ian Anthony Dale, Zeljko Ivanek, Laura Innes, Sarah Roemer, Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood, and producers Evan Katz, Steve Stark, Jeffrey Reiner, Nick Wauters and Jim Wong.

This television show, premiering in the fall of 2010, might be the new LOST, or it might be the new FlashForward. I’m not sure yet. The Event, a show that is so steeped in mystery that even its title is nothing more than Something Happens, was a show—and will be a show—with as many problems as it has concepts. Fortunately, all of its flaws are structural.

The pilot is laid out as three separate stories (well, actually, four, but one is extremely short in comparison) over the course of three separate acts. We actually start the show in the middle of the story when our hero, Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), hijacks a plane in order to save it, and then flash back to eight days earlier, and then forward to seven days earlier, and then once more to the present. It gets even more confusing when President Eli Martinez (the incredibly suave Blair Underwood) gets his go at the story, and then his segment goes back an entire year. The other two stories comprise of the father of Sean’s girlfriend, whose house and family are assaulted by unknown forces, and Simon Lee (Ian Anthony Dale), the supposed second-in-command of a secret government base/prison that lies at the center of The Event. It’s a shame that Lee’s section is so short, as Dale is a fantastic actor even within the confines of such little material. But perhaps the best acting comes from ER/West Wing (and Northwestern University!) alumna, Laura Innes, who absolutely nails her cryptic sayings as Sofia, the leader of the base/prison/thing-to-be-revealed-later.

The show will need to cut out some of the flashes in order to survive past its initial thirteen episodes, but it is definitely a unique format that works for this type of story. The writing was high-quality and so was the dialogue; there were no qualms there. It also revealed quite a bit about the world that had been set up if you looked closely enough. Co-Producer Evan Katz made the promise that answers would actually come a lot faster than with other mystery longforms. This is welcome, especially since I am of the belief that mystery shows can maintain the mystery if they answer questions in the right or clever way. Sometimes, it is even essential to answer them if you want the show to progress to its next level of weirdness. Blair Underwood was then asked what it is like to be the first Cuban president, to which he replied that there would be no Salsa dancing.

Katz then ended the panel the only way it could have possibly ended:

“The Salsa is not The Event.”

Spotlight On: Ray Bradbury

He is brilliant. He is one of the foremost technology predictors since Leonardo DaVinci. He is irreverent, utterly aware of his importance, and quite simply, the greatest science fiction writer in the history of the genre. He none other than Ray Bradbury. Ray has been coming to Comic-Con since the very first year of its inception. A devoted comics and graphic novel buff, he loves interacting yearly with fans, and gracing them with his musings, knowledge and appreciation. We were honored and somewhat overwhelmed to be there in person for Ray’s 41st Comic-Con panel, on the heels of his 90th birthday. Because Bradbury’s words speak for themselves, we bring you the panel through his eyes.

Ray Bradbury being wheeled in for his Comic-Con panel.

Bradbury, not shy about quips and bold statements, starts out his panel with a bang: “I want to make an announcement. Sam Weller and I are working on a new book together: Let’s Let The Cat out of the Bag.” In actuality, Weller and Bradbury released a brand new book of interviews (out June 29th) entitled Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews. Weller has spent over a decade with Bradbury, getting to know him, studying his works, and acted as his guide during the panel (Mr. Bradbury has become a bit hard of hearing). Bradbury is currently working on a new book of 20 short stories entitled “Juggernaut” to be published next Christmas.

Sam Weller, middle, Ray Bradbury's biographer, led the panel and discussion at Comic-Con

On how it feels to be Ray Bradbury and if he ever marvels at himself, after a long, thoughtful pause, a hearty laugh and: “It feels mighty damn good.”

Fahrenheit 451 was among the most prescient sci-fi works of all time, predicting technology such as earbuds, flat screen televisions, school violence, and the rise of graphic novels. How did Bradbury predict all this stuff?

“The secret of life is being in love. By being in love, you predict yourself. Whatever you want is what you get. You don’t think about things; just do them. Don’t predict them—just make them.”

Of the technologies Bradbury predicted, he also warned about many, including rise of mass media. What tech would he like to see next?

Again, a thoughtful pause. “I’d like certain technologies to disappear. The internet is a great, big, stupid goddamn bore.” Keep in mind that when Bradbury was approached by an internet magnate to publish his works as e-books for the internet, he responded with: “Prick up your ears and go to hell!” The internet magnate? None other than the CEO of Yahoo.

Another strong, recurring theme of Bradbury’s panel was his love (adoration, really) of space exploration, most notably colonization of Mars and the Moon. Why? “Because we’re going to live forever. We should go back and build a base on the Moon, put a civilization on Mars. 500 years from now, we’ll go out into the Universe, and when we do that, we have a chance to live forever.”

Weller tried to get Bradbury to discuss the new book, once again evoking his crotchety sense of humour: “You can’t afford it. So get out of here and forget it.” In an extremely revealing, intimate moment, Weller pointed out that many Mars stories and works are inspired by and cut from Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, none more similar than the Twilight Zone. Bradbury then revealed something that many of his fans probably don’t know. “Rod Sterling came to my house many years ago. He didn’t know anything about writing sci-fi. So I took him down to my basement and gave him copies of books written by Roald Dahl, John Collier, a number of other great sci-fi authors, and myself. Rod Sterling forgot that he read all these books, and when he wrote his programs, he copied some of his ideas from me, and we got into a big argument.” The two never reconciled.

As we’ve mentioned, Bradbury came to Comic-Con in its first year, where he said only 300 people came to first meeting, quite different from today, where 1,000 people were gathered in his room alone. Why does he come so often? “Because I’ve been collecting comic strips all my life. I have 30 years’ of Prince Valiant Sunday illustrations put away, all of Buck Rogers. My background in becoming a writer was falling in love with comic strips.” How did they influence his prose and narrative? “Comic strips are full of imagination and glorious adventures. My all-time favorite is Mutts. A year from now, there will be a graphic novel of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”” Bradbury is, in fact, the world’s greatest (and possibly oldest) fanboy. He is famous for writing fan letters to writers and other figures that he admires. He sent books to John Huston, the famous screenwriter and filmmaker. He sent a hand-written letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs begging him to come to a meeting of Bradbury’s science fiction society club.

Another thing fans may not know is that Bradbury is considered the patron saint of the American library system. He has been very active in rescuing libraries that are under fire because of budgetary crises. He recounted the story of his love affair with the library. “When I left high school, I had no money to go to college. I decided to not worry about going to college. I thought: “I will educate myself.” So I walked down the street, I walked into a library for 3 days a week for 10 years. Most of you in the audience can’t afford to go to college. But if you want to educate yourself, you can afford to go to the library. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from the library.”

The concept of time travel is explored in the short story “A Sound of Thunder.” If Bradbury could time travel, he was asked to what moment it would be? “Every. Single. Moment. Every single moment of my life has been incredible. I’ve savored it. It’s beautiful, because I’ve remained a boy. The man you see here tonight is a 12 year old boy, and he’s having fun!” How does he stay connected to his inner child? “Don’t worry about the future, or the past, you just explode every day. If you’re dynamic, you don’t have to worry about what age you are.”

Indeed, childhood is a theme of many of his short stories. Why is this so important to Bradbury? “Because I grew up loving carnivals and circuses. That’s why I wrote those stories.”

When asked if he had any regrets in life, Bradbury evoked the biggest laugh of the day: “I regret that I didn’t have more time with Bo Derek.” What’s the Bo Derek story? She came up to him in Paris train station, and exclaimed “Mr. Bradbury, I love you!” To which he responded, “Who are you?” She replied, “My name is Bo Derek. Mr. Bradbury, will you travel on the train with me?” With a stoic face he recalled replying: “Yep, I will!” The rest was censored.

Other than Be Derek, what was his greatest love? Bradbury turned philosophical. “I am the world’s greatest lover. I love to write short stories. I write them. I love to write novels. I write them. I love to write poetry. I write it. I love to paint pictures. I paint them. I loved directing a film. So I directed it. Those are my greatest lovers. I have loved all these things I have told you about.”

What authors inspired Bradbury growing up? “Edgar Rice Burrows. And Edgar Allan Poe—scared the hell out of me.”

Another fact about Bradbury that many people may not know is his rather illuminating and successful career as a designer and architect. He was asked how he got involved with designing the San Diego city center Horton Plaza. ”I designed a lot of other places all over LA. 50 years ago, the people who were building the New World’s Fair asked me to redesign the United States Pavilion. I helped build Epcot down in Florida. Because of those works, the people of San Diego came and asked for input in building The Horton Plaza at the center of San Diego.”

Aldous Huxley famously said of Bradbury, “You know what you are sir? You are a poet.” When asked who the poets are that have influenced his writing, Bradbury immediately responded: “Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.”

What are the things that keep Bradbury motivated now? “I have more work to do.”

On how his writing has changed over time: “It’s gotten more brilliant.”

As such a fan of Mars, Bradbury was asked how he feels about the ongoing Martian probes, and the real science evidence they have brought back to Earth. “I’m glad we are doing that [research], but we should be doing more. We should be going there in person. Not with a lander, but with a real rocket ship and landing on Mars.” In a rather endearing moment, Weller revealed that Bradbury has never driven an automobile. But he was invited to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where scientists asked him if he’d like to drive the Mars Rover over Mars. So he hasn’t driven on the 405 freeway, but he has driven across Mars! The scientists even gave him a Martian drivers license.

Any futuristic technologies for cities that Bradbury would like to see? “Monorails all over LA and California. Get rid of the goddamn freeways!” As a Los Angeles resident, hear, hear, Mr. Bradbury!

What was the intended audience of Fahrenheit 451 and how does he feel about its rise to prominence as a true modern American classic? “I am not a science fiction writer. All my books are fantasy. But the one book that is pure science fiction is Fahrenheit 451. So I’m glad that I wrote it. I’m glad that you all feel that way about it too.”

Does Bradbury have a favorite work? “All of my books are my favorites. All of my books are my children. I love all my children.”

How does Bradbury feel about digital books? With a cranky grunt: “I’ve already told you that. I don’t like them. I think of iPads and Kindles as books with a computer screen. Real books smell, real books have memories.” We here at would like to give that statement a heartfelt “AMEN!”

Finally, Bradbury, on turning 90 in a few weeks. How does it feel? “It’s been 90 goddamned incredible years!” To which the audience responded by singing him “Happy Birthday.” A surreal, incredible and special moment.

Teching Out on TV

The Teching Out on TV panel (from left to right): Pauley Perrette, Kristen Vangsness, Barrett Foa, and Rich Catalani.

This panel started out with an inundating montage of clips from tech-chic procedurals CSI and NCIS that involved technology of all sorts. It was part awesome and part utterly corny, as words to the song that was spliced in occasionally would find themselves on to the screen. I was afraid that this foreshadowed the panel being just a huge PR stroke for both shows, but I was later proven wrong. Despite the moderator speaking in a loud, fast, incoherent style of mumbling, the rest of the speakers (Anthony Zuicker, creator of CSI; Pauley Perette, CSI; Barrett Foa, NCIS: Los Angeles; Kirsten Vangsness, Criminal Minds; and Rich Catalani, producer of CSI) were very articulate about all aspects of technology on their shows. They strove to make it less a panel about technology on CSI and NCIS and more about technology and how it relates to CSI and NCIS.

The presentation started out with questions about how everyone got involved in their work, and more specifically, how they got involved in technology, or if they even were. Perette studied forensics in college, talking about how, back in her early years, nobody knew a thing about it. She related a story that the first time that her computer was hacked into, she tried to tell the police, but ended up having to explain to them what an IP Address was. Then, after shows such as CSI and Law & Order made technology and forensics mainstream, everyone was a part of a club that they felt they cultivated. “We all became semi-experts,” she said. “It’s been an incredible decade of change. What we’re showing on our show is the grand upmovement”. Vangsness was a tad in the opposite direction: she took teaching jobs in order to support herself, and one of those jobs was teaching PowerPoint to third graders. She now has images of third graders hacking into government installations to post spam of kittens.

Foa stopped the discussion at one point to explain to the audience that his show, unlike the original CSI, does not stare at a green screen when looking at his computer tomfoolery. It is all real. Which complicated matters greatly when Perette’s character met Foa’s in a crossover between their two shows. She had to literally teach him on set how to react to a green screen as oppose to a real image. Foa also related how the super-tech that we often think of as fictional and made up is actually real. The CSI writers have access to China Lake, a military outpost where they test experimental technology. Scary, huh?

But sometimes technology cannot save you, and honest-to-God legwork must be put into use. For one CSI episode involving a stampede of ants, they actually had to hire an Ant Wrangler and clean up all the creepy crawlies using a vacuum. CGI was expected to just look too ridiculous. Then, in a devilish sort of irony, the projector broke, so the panel was cut short and went straight to questions. Perette was met with a young woman who was going to major in Cellular Biology in college because of Perette’s performance on CSI.

Thus, the cycle continues.

MythBusters: Panel + Press Room Coverage

How popular are Discovery Channel’s MythBusters? Very. Each year, the group of geeky demolition rock stars, who prove and disprove popular science myths through the scientific method, represent one of the fan favorite panels at Comic-Con. This year was no different. Press pass notwithstanding, we barely squeezed into a sardine-tight hall full of science fans awaiting their heroes’ arrival. Take a look at the picture below:

A packed-to-the-brim house of 2,000 people awaits the entrance of the MythBusters.

As if the presence of television’s most explosive group wasn’t enough, the audience was tantalized two-fold before the panel. First, a montage video introducing the Busters had us cracking up with its over-the-top… what else?… explosions!

Their entrance was preceded by what else, but a montage of some of their greatest hits!

Then, a special guest, Geoff The Robot from The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, stepped out to proclaim his nerdy love of all things MythBusters.

Geoff, the robot from the Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Finally, to ear-deafening applause, Chris Hardwick of one of our favorite blogs The Nerdist (follow him on Twitter) introduced the MythBusters, who announced that they’ve signed up for 7 more years of glorious science. This is a very special Comic-Con for them. It’s the first time all five have come as a group, and it is gorgeous geek diva Kari Byron’s first Con.

The MythBusters all together at Comic-Con--a first for them! From left to right: Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and host Chris Hardwick of The Nerdist.

The first thing the MythBusters wanted their fans to know is just how very real they are. Although they feel like royalty at the Con, when they go back home to San Francisco, MythBusters is far from glamorous. Inside their workshop, which is a workshop and not a studio, they are doing all of the stunts and building themselves. They get dirty, they get bruised, and they do all of the experimenting. Says Adam Savage: “If you see it, we built it.” Although Savage has started getting more involved behind-the-scenes, he explained that the team is so knowledgeable about how to build things, that it’s faster and more efficient for them to do the building than to leave it to someone else. Tory Bellici mused that it would be nice to have stunt doubles sometimes, to which Kari Byron quipped: “They’re not stunts when you fall off.” Did we mention that we love Kari? Jamie Hyneman, who initially signed up for MythBusters because of the allure of getting to try new things, is still having a hard time acknowledging being on TV. When asked what famous people he’d met because of MythBusters, he couldn’t recall one. “President Obama?” nudged Byron. “Oh. Yeah,” replied Hyneman hysterically. Not so for Grant Imahara, possibly the most famous robotics guy in the world. “Craig Ferguson called me the Keith Richards of robotics,” said Grant. “I’m not sure how to take that.”

The audience was treated to a highlight reel of the upcoming season, which promises to have the best, and most extreme, experiments yet. The team revealed some of the secrets. Adam Savage revealed that a scene of a Porsche flipping backwards violently was done to bust an old 1980s myth that classic sports cars are more aerodynamic going backwards than forwards. In an utterly bad-ass bit of reconstruction, the body of a Porsche chassis was cut off, flipped backwards on the car, then raced at 100 miles per hour. Any more questions, kids? A scene showing Kari puking violently (she joked that it was in her contract to have to throw up every year) was explained as an episode testing whether people really do get cold feet when they have to do something scary. For the team, scary meant picking, then eating, two of the most disgusting selections from a table of delicacies consisting of spiders, cockroaches, chicken feet and more. And where does the team get their constant supply of ideas? “Surfing the internet really works!” joked Grant Imahara.

As to whether the team is cognizant of how much they advance science and critical thinking, and actively try to build experiments around didactic aims, the answer is… NO! Jamie remarked that as a whole, the MythBusters are a remarkably curious group. They are curious about stuff, they try to figure it out, and do so in a methodical and logical way. But they never set out to do science. Which, honestly, in the opinion of this website, is why their science is so great.

At this point, the team shared fun and hilarious inside stories from their Comic-Con experience and tidbits from back home in San Francisco. Adam recalls being shocked at two geeks that came up to him at an autograph table with their baby, wearing a onesie that said “Proof that nerds have sex.” Despite his uncomfortable laughter, the duo then asked him to sign their baby! Another fan went up to Jamie and remarked: “I’ve been watching your shows since I was a little girl and now I’m a PhD!” We’re pretty sure Jamie was kidding, but Adam still poked fun back at him. “You’re old!”

Just in time for next week’s Discovery Channel Shark Week, Adam recalled a fan coming up to him a few months back with what the fan was convinced was a brilliant suggestion: “Dude, you know what you should totally do? You should totally prove that, like, punching sharks will make them go away! Seriously, dude, it would be awesome! You’d just punch them.” A brief pause from Adam. “8 months later, there we were, knee deep in sharks, punching them in the face…”

Kari revealed that she filmed the show up to her 10th month of pregnancy. She pointed out that it’s a myth that pregnancy only lasts 9 months. (BUSTED!) She was worried that her baby would never come out. Replied Grant: “With all those explosions and gunshots outside, I wouldn’t come out either!”

Finally, to a fan that asked whether the team is ever scared of an experiment as too dangerous, Jamie reminded him that danger is a relative term. Nothing the MythBusters do is any less dangerous than driving down a freeway at 70 miles an hour. The trick is to good engineering and survive by doing a good job.

The new season of MythBusters premieres in the fall. Find coverage of their Comic-Con panel and clips from the new season on the MythBusters website.

The MythBusters (and Geoff) chilling with us back in the press room after the panel. Aren't they all beyond adorable??

We got to spend even more time hanging out with the MythBusters (and Geoff) backstage in the press area to get even more scoop about the show. We all wondered about the research process that the team undergoes. First and foremost, Adam proclaimed that they “don’t ever get things tested because they’re too dangerous.” There’s nothing the team is afraid of, and no length of time is too long to wait for a payoff. The research can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years. The team searched 19 months for a lead layer thin enough to do an experiment properly. By contrast, the poppy seed drug testing experiment took two hours. They ate poppy seed muffins at 9 AM, and tested positive for heroin at 11 AM (well into the next day).

When asked about their terrific rapport, the team reiterated that they very much enjoy each other’s company and socialize quite well. All of the process, from picking to carrying out experiments, is totally collaborative. Secondly, the team shares a bond because they know each other quite well. “It’s not like we’re a science show boy band,” joked Adam. Most of them have known each other and worked together well before MythBusters began. Unlike other shows, MythBusters goes on for most of the year (46-47 weeks) because the building portions of the segments are so time-consuming. The most important thing to Jamie is a strong sense of respect that trickles down all the way to the show’s loyal crew of 23 people.

For the future of the show, Jamie revealed an interest in looking at the dichotomy of destructive things that do good work as well, steam being high on his list. The team never gets inspiration from movie trailers or clips if there’s no story there and they’re not worthy of a myth.

Adam revealed the interesting fact that somebody actually bought the Corvette which had been fouled by a decomposing pig to prove that a decomposing body can destroy the inside of the car. Adam now associates the smell of cleaner with that episode, which makes him sick to this day. Was that the team’s least favorite experiment, wondered Grant picked the ear wax candle experiment, jokingly calling it the “seasickness experiment.” Tory picked the chili pepper cure experiment. (“Burns on the way in, burns on the way out!”), while Kari picked the water torture episode. The most destructive experiment to this day, much to the chagrin of OSHA and safety regulation organizations of San Francisco, was the Civil War rocket, tested with a wax core. The team thought they had a proper bunker in the shop, but unfortunately ended up setting fire to their ceiling!

On any potential Discovery Channel crossover shows, Adam revealed that he’d like to go out into the wild with Bear Grylls (and so would I!) while Kari revealed that she would not like to do a dirty job.

And for the highlight of my personal day…

The Nerdist and The ScriptPhD giving a thumbs up to geekdom!

Last, but not least, is our official Day 3 Costume of the Day. We chose this warrior for a simple reason. He braved the chilly convention center without a shirt, yet with a completely covered head. Now if that isn’t upside-down thinking, we don’t know what is!

Our Day 3 Costume of the Day

Incidentally, you can find much more photographic coverage of Comic-Con on our Facebook fan page. Become a fan, because this week, we will be announcing Comic-Con swag giveaways that only Facebook fans are eligible for.


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4 thoughts on “Comic-Con 2010: Day 3”

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