Hi, reddit. It's Adam Savage -- special effects artist, maker, sculptor, public speaker, movie prop collector, writer, father, husband, TV personality and redditor.

My Proof: https://twitter.com/donttrythis/status/705475296548392961

Last July I was here soliciting suggestions from you guys that we made into a really fun reddit special that aired last weekend (in the United States, anyway). THANK you. You guys came up with some great, TESTABLE ideas, and I think we made a really fun episode.

So in thanks I'm here to answer your questions about that or whatever else you're curious about, now that you're aware that MythBusters is ending. In fact, our finale is in two days! (Yes, I'm sad.) But anyway, I'm yours. Ask me anything.

EDIT: Okay kidlets. I've been at this for awhile now and I think it's time to pack it in. Thanks for all the awesome questions and comments and I'm glad and grateful and humbled to the comments about what MythBusters has meant to you. I'm fundamentally changed by making that show and I'm glad it's had some positive effect. My best to everyone and I'll see you lurking around here somewhere...

Comments: 5682 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

harryvan3995 karma

Have you ever touched Jamie's mustache?

mistersavage4858 karma

I do believe I might have touched it once. I don't even know, the circumstance was probably that there was one errant hair in the beginning. There was this funny point a couple years into MythBusters; Jamie's wife--awesome awesome woman, life long science teacher--came by the shop and she and Jamie are very sweet, they've been married forever, and she was talking to him about stuff that they were doing. But as she was talking she affectionately smoothed out his mustache, which was so freaky for me to watch a human touching Jaime's mustache. It was like "Woah...what is she doing?!!" but you know, that's how they roll and it’s totally cool.

Maddie_N2399 karma

I know you and Jamie used to not spend time together outside of filming Mythbusters. Has that changed since the show ended? Are you friends now that you don't have to see each other so often?

mistersavage4378 karma

Jamie and I have long made it clear that we’re not friends; so we don’t actually get along on a day-to-day level. The other side of that coin is that we disagree about all the little things, but we have pretty much never disagreed about the big things. By the big things I mean directions to push the brand, ways in which to tackle and make a good show; we have a lot of small disagreements about it, but on a big scale we don’t.

The end of the show has not made us closer, I have spoken to him I think maybe once since the show ended, and we’ll see each other at various things, you know we still get hired to do stuff together. There still will be many circumstances in which we’re thrust together or forced to talk about stuff, and that’s fine.

But no, I think it’s just going to go back to the way it used to be, which is probably checking in once a year to see how things are going.

suaveitguy2000 karma

What is your favorite subreddit? Are there any that you don't like?

mistersavage3530 karma

chipmcdonald1852 karma

Where does your energy come from? How much caffeine do you consume?

mistersavage2660 karma

I try and keep it to 1 cup of coffee in the morning, or if I’m going to my local place (Ritual in the Mission) their to-go cups are kinda small, so I’ll have two of those. And that’s about it, I’ve got a cold right now, so I’m drinking a lot of tea, but after noon it’ll all be Throat Coat (which, by the way, is the greatest tea if you have a cold)

As far as my energy, my parents always encouraged me to make stuff. They both gave me an example of a life lived doing the thing you want to do. Both my dad and mom had careers they were very invested in. I was very lucky to see that. They supported me in finding my way. By that I mean they helped me pay my rent when I quit a job I didn’t like; that’s a tremendous privilege they gave to me. I am incredibly grateful for it, and that allowed me to find my place in the world, which didn’t really happen until I moved to San Francisco in the early 90s. By then I sort of found things that I was excellent at, like building and problem solving, and I was able to push those into careers. And when you push the thing you’re really good at into a career it does feel like work, because it’s really hard work to do something well, but it also doesn’t drain you at the end of the day. It’s self-generating. And now with the 13 years of MythBusters (where the best plots were where Jamie and I had the most enthusiasm, and Kari, Grant, and Tory) the best episodes were the ones that we were the most invested in. Our job was effectively to find the thing we were thrilled by and put everything we had into it.

So again, that’s energy generating. I am always looking for things that I find interesting and trying to dive into them. That’s just part of my makeup.

I don’t know if that’s exactly an answer to your question, but it’s sort of an answer to why I keep on doing six different things at once and why it seems to be working right now.

killjoy951674 karma

Do you think that Buster has a vengeful spirit out to get you, Jaime, and the build team? If so, how screwed are you guys?

mistersavage2789 karma

Buster was always the perfect professional. He never complained and he was never late. If he was ever unhappy with me and Jamie, he certainly never let on.

nuonaton1368 karma

Are you planning on making more videos with tested? I'd love to see some model making How-to

mistersavage1480 karma

Yes! Lots more to come! One just came out today, actually, a build I did for my dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UmBKWQ52oQ

nuonaton308 karma

Awesome! I'm very much looking forward to this! Another question if I may, I've got two kiddos now, Both girls. I want to encourage them to become makers, and get interested in creating and exploring. How the heck do I do that?

mistersavage1011 karma

I love this question because my first answer is… don’t ask a white dude. Don’t ask me! Ask them!

Girls are the most natural, critical thinking scientists there are. The trick is to normalize for everybody that they can manipulate their world. That they can actually have an effect upon it.

It was natural for me to want to take things apart when I was a kid. My parents kind of encouraged that; they gave me old stuff to take apart. When you take apart enough things, how they go back together becomes kind of clear to you. Every kid is different, I have two boys and my thing is: they don’t necessarily have to be makers, but I’d like them to know how manipulatable the world. Part of that is when they’re enthusiastic about something, I put it in front of them. That’s really important because that’s what my parents did for me and that’s exactly the kind of way I want to privilege my kids’ enthusiasm.

If they’re interested in making anything, go ahead and take them to a class to do that. My mom took me to tons of summer classes in pottery and woodworking - stuff like that. There was a community center near my house in Westchester, New York, that had summer classes and I went and took them all the time. There was a woman who gave art classes in my neighborhood and my parents sent me to that art class. So, it’s like it might not even be that they end up becoming makers, but send them to classes in which they make things with their hands. If there’s any proclivity at all, that’s where they’ll find it.

fuckswithducks1314 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA! What did you end up doing with all the squeaky toys you bought for your "duck bomb" videos? Did you ever actually "bomb" anyone with them? (I'd also like to point out that they were pelicans, not ducks!)

mistersavage1380 karma

The squeaky ducks from the duck bomb video are still in my shop. I have not bombed anyone unwittingly. That is sort of because I don't like pranking people. I know that seems kind of weird, but my inclination is to not prank people. It's simply because it’s very hard to prank people nicely. Now a duck bomb isn't necessarily a bad prank, it's not because I think duck bombing is bad per se, it's just I don't think towards pranking in general.

But, I'm fully aware they are pelicans not ducks. That same company makes pink flamingos, they make pelicans and they make a couple others, but really the pelicans are by far the best. they have the most plaintive cry of all of those screaming, rubberized animals. And interestingly, I have not ever given one to one of my dogs. I just don't want to hear that thing in my house.

bwinton1307 karma

Who's your favourite member of the (former) build team? C'mon you can tell us. Surely they won't read this AMA… 😉

mistersavage987 karma

I don't have a favorite member of the former build team. All those guys are my colleagues and I'm proud to have made a show with them. And that's serious. I'm being 100% serious. They all have their wonderful strengths. They all have their unique thing that they bring to the show. I know it sounds like I'm blowing smoke up your ass, but it's just totally true. I'm honored to have worked with all of those guys on that show.

Dracoola1124 karma

Have you considered a collaboration with the SlowMo guys?
If i remember correctly, one of the members (Gavin) mentioned really wanting to do a shoot with you.

mistersavage1596 karma

Yeah, I believe a collaboration with the Slow Mo Guys is entirely possible. I love the work that they’re doing. They have taught me a lot about high speed photography over the years.

So yes, entirely possible.

MrSHiat937 karma

Any chance Tory, Kari and Grant will be brought back for the finale?

mistersavage1566 karma

Yes! We did a one-hour reunion show with them that airs after the finale this Saturday. It was SO fun. http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/milfbusters/

JJagoda722 karma

Are you having a viewing party for the last episode? Are there going to be tears shed after it airs?

Also what is your favorite myth that that doesn't evolve an explosion?

mistersavage766 karma

Yes! There will be a viewing party with some of the cast and crew during the West Coast airing. I will be sharing as much as I can on my Twitter and Facebook, so stay tuned.

J_Ding687 karma

What myth did you really want to do that production, resources, etc. prevented you from testing?

mistersavage1429 karma

This is one of the most common questions. What myth did we want to do that the production wouldn't let us do? For the most part if we really wanted to do something, Discovery stood behind it. I might have answered this in another AMA, but I'll tell you there are three. There's one about a truck full of liquid oxygen that spills on a road bed and turns the entire road into a bomb. We played enough with liquid oxygen to respect its power and understand that it is some of the scariest stuff on earth. It can literally turn an oily rag into a bomb, and that's not exaggeration. It's terrifying. And to deal with an entire truck load on a road that might explode (or to be honest if we're gonna spend that much money, it has to explode one way or another) what we found was it was dangerous and unpredictable, and that made going full scale really really touchy, so we decided to leave that one.

Another one is upside down race car. But no one stood in our way of doing upside down race car. I should explain. Upside down race car is the myth that a formula one or indycar (two different kinds of cars, I'm totally aware of that) has so much down force because of its construction that it could drive upside down and still hug the road. We've been wanting to do this since season one. And number one, obviously we can't do it full scale with a road. We're not going to build a tunnel. That's hundreds of thousands of dollars, that's well more than the budget for an episode of MythBusters. We could do it potentially in a wind tunnel, but we could not find either a wind tunnel that would go fast enough, or two someone that would lend us their indycar or formula one car and allow us to hang it upside down in said wind tunnel. If said wind tunnel actually existed, be assured that it would cost in excess of $10,000 an hour to operate, and that right there also pushes us way to the outside edge of the MythBusters budget.

Lastly, there is an episode that we were going to do in the last season, but we didn't have time to complete, and so I had to let it go. It's a Native American myth, supposedly, that if you wanted to go duck hunting, you would float pumpkins in a pond that the ducks frequented and get them used to pumpkins floating around them. Then when you were hungry and wanted duck for dinner, you would put a pumpkin on your head and swim over to the duck that looked, I guess the tastiest, and the duck would not notice you because you're just a floating pumpkin. And then according to a hunter friend of mine you could reach out and pull the duck right under. Now we weren't gonna pull the duck under on camera, or at all because of, you know, cruelty to animals. But I did want to find out if I could swim up to a duck dressed as a pumpkin and capture it, because that would be amazing! Unfortunately, a couple of the episodes in our last season ended up being so difficult to shoot that we put those difficulties into the narratives, and thus we ended up with narratives that were fat enough we didn't need this secondary story. Pumpkin duck hunting was always going to be about a 12-13 minute story, not a very long one. And like I said, we ended up with enough narrative that we didn't need that, so I took one for the team and chucked it. So I'll never get to know. Maybe someday I'll get to know, but not on MythBusters.

FearlessGT533 karma

Hi Adam! What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

mistersavage1091 karma

I can't single out a single thing. I will tell you that I was at TED a couple weeks ago doing a talk, I was speaker, and after my talk, one of my all time heroes came up and spoke to me. I got to talk to Harrison Ford for a few minutes. Harrison Ford is very important to the person that I have become.

We all have little phrases that run through our brains as kids and as growing adults of the way we want to be. Indiana Jones is a key filter of the kind of man I decided I wanted to be when I was a young lad. He was a lovely person to talk to. That was thrilling. The kind of access you get to other people that you admire when you're given a little bit of fame is thrilling! And then, you know, some of them can be crazy, that happens too. But more often than not, you find yourself meeting on a common plane.

Also meeting scientists and other makers of things, you know. People like Tony Fadell from Nest invented the iPod, one of my design heroes. There's countless number of people we've brought on Mythbusters. Scientists far from thumbing their nose from what we're doing found something simpatico in our approach, in the way we've found joy in the process of not knowing and discovering and getting past our bias to come to an answer that made them treat us like peers. I have to say that's really the highlight.

ionicwake500 karma

Adam, in the gummy bears as rocket fuel myth, how many gummy bears did you and jamie eat?

mistersavage883 karma

You don't want to know. A LOT.

Chonny97459 karma

How's your day going?

mistersavage563 karma

Great! Thank you. Yours?

Multicalibrador345 karma

Now that mythbusters has ended, what will happen to your workshop and all the things you've build over the years?

mistersavage576 karma

I still have my shop. M5 is Jamie's shop. As for the things built on the shows over the years that were at M5, they were given away, mostly. I have some of them, Jamie has some, the production company has some, and the crew has some.

aqswdeeeee318 karma

What was the first myth you busted?

mistersavage521 karma

Does creating a fireball in M5 with Jamie in 2002 while taping our demo for Discovery Channel count? https://www.facebook.com/therealadamsavage/videos/vb.1009761719037011/1160629483950233/?type=2&theater

KendallBlakeCruse310 karma

Thanks, Adam, for this AMA!

Would you rather try to bust a myth related to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz?

mistersavage1519 karma

Well, the first question I’d ask is “Is there anything true about Donald Trump?” I mean, he’s nothing BUT myth.

So, when you’re talking about busting myths, you’re talking about reaching an objective truth, which is a very difficult thing to do. Obviously, even within scientific confines, it’s really difficult to do, which is why we repeat experiments and why conclusions are so difficult to come to. And why facts are so rare.

But when you’re talking about an object truth, you’re in the opposite universe than politics exists in, because politics are all about relative truth. “I’m speaking this truth to this group, I’m speaking that truth to that group” … “I want everyone to vote for me, so I’m going to lie to everybody.”


Which is why I love Bernie so much, because I feel like he gives really consistent answers to everybody, it just sounds simple when he talks. I don’t see him doing all these mental calisthenics when he’s answering questions. There are certain things that we disagree on, but for the most part I feel like he’s just giving the genuine, straight dope as it’s coming from his head. It might not be the truth, but it’s the truth as he’s thinking about it. And he even seems to me like someone who’d change his mind if you brought him evidence to the contrary of something he firmly believes.

So, I know you didn’t ask me who I liked, but I don’t think you have to look very deeply into my history to figure out that Bernie would be my guy.

Blue_Outlaw296 karma

Thanks for everything over the years!

My question - what technology are you most excited about becoming more easily obtainable in the next few years?

mistersavage500 karma

I love rapid prototyping and 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D Routers, all the techniques; it’s very exciting what’s happening. But CAD/CAM (the drawing of something in 3D and then the translation of that into some machine language that outputs out of your 3D printer, laser cutter, whatever) still sucks. Everyone knows that it sucks. Translating something from your head out onto a screen in 2D so it can become 3D is still really, really difficult. There are a lot of people doing amazing work on it. I love what AutoDesk is doing in that they’re trying to make it more intuitive. And when that worm turns, when CAD/CAM becomes genuinely, naturally intuitive, that’s when I think things are going to get genuinely exciting.

Right now the 3D output tends to be rough for consumer level machines (it’s getting finer and finer; we’re covering a lot of that on Tested.com) but these two paths of both the output being refined more and using recycled materials is really exciting, alongside the translation from people’s brains into their computer out to the machine; that’s really thrilling.

I think that when kids can see something that they want to make, and they invest themselves in wanting to make it extant (my whole life has been spent doing this: thinking something in my brain and putting it in my hands) when a kid can see that that can happen, it wakes up this whole other portion of possibility for them.

That’s a world that should be open to every kid.

TakeItForStaring277 karma

Did you ever fear for your security (or your life) in the show?

mistersavage778 karma

I feared for my life all the time on MythBusters. You know, you work through a stunt to try and do it so that you know you'll be safe, but when you're sitting at the top of a water slide in a greased latex wet suit, you can't help but wondering what you haven't thought of. I'll leave it at that.

DayOfReckoning47262 karma

Hi Adam, I feel like your show is the new generation's "Bill Nye." Have you ever been influenced by him during your life?

mistersavage393 karma

Of course! I grew up with Bill Nye. I grew up with Mr. Wizard. Bill’s amazing.

We do different things; Bill is a master science communicator and explainer. He understands the science that he’s talking about on a level that’s even deeper than he’s revealing. I mean, he’s a really, really great intellect. And also, brilliantly funny. I’m jealous of him for both of those qualities. I wish I was funnier and I wish I was smarter.

And yet, we have different shows. Bill’s show is a science demonstration show. He explained a concept, and then he would demonstration how that concept works. We were a genuine experimentation show. We would investigate a concept and figure it out on the fly, but much of the time we really had no idea what the results of one of our tests was going to be. That’s an inherently different narrative structure.

I’m really grateful for Bill for inspiring me at a young age of the idea that science could be fun. And so, absolutely - he’s been hugely inspiring.

kerkers250 karma

Hey Adam! I remember you burnt your hair once, did you actually have a date? How did that go...how did she like your new style?

mistersavage494 karma

Yes, the day I burned my eyebrow I did have a date.

The date went great, thanks for asking.

Tronvillain241 karma

Do the ducks still call to you?

mistersavage312 karma

All the time.

wild_west_beef_jerky235 karma

Do you play any video games? If so which ones are your favourites?

mistersavage346 karma

I play Millipede! I have one in my shop. It's a great stress reliever. I actually did a video on Tested about it once: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kZBrZ3jsmU

Jar_Lar228 karma

Hey Adam, do you have a favorite gas station snack?

mistersavage1086 karma

Do I have a favorite gas station snack? It's funny because I know my wife's right off the top of my head. She likes the Lays Barbecue potato chips. That is absolutely what I better walk out of the gas station with because it's just road trip food.

For me, it's got to be sour patch kids, and really specifically the sour patch watermelons. I don't know why, but those don't carve up my mouth as much, and I don't know anyone else's experiences, but I find a wide variance in sour patch kids quality. And by quality, I mean chewiness. Specifically, my perfect sour patch kid is not super chewy, but it starts to dissolve the moment I'm chewing on it. And you can artificially induce this by putting a pack of sour patch kids in your pocket for an hour and when they're warm they are easier to eat.

I am a deep expert in sour patch kid consumption. But right out of the bag they can be everything from super chewy to super dissolving, which I find sort of annoying. And so the sour patch watermelons tend to be more consistent. I'm amazed at the specificity I was able to bring to the sour patch kids.

cat_attack_207 karma

Hi Adam, I'm a small-time woodworker to make some money while I'm in college, and watching your builds has inspired me quite a bit. I'm very grateful for that.

My question: If there's one tool in your workshop that you couldn't go without, what is it?

mistersavage506 karma

I can’t say there’s one tool I couldn’t do without. A good knife is maybe the most important thing to have nearby.

If you’re a woodworker and you don’t know about forstner bits, get some forstner bits. They’re this tool I was late in learning about (I probably had been working with wood for like five years before someone showed me a set of forstner bits)

They’re basically big, fat drill bits, but they carve in a way that allows you to almost machine wood, even if you don’t have a milling machine. They’re amazing. A full set of good forstner bits can start around $35-$40 on Grizzly.com.

A good table saw and some sleds to use that table saw are amazing. Lately I’m obsessed with the YouTube channel of Matthias Wandel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Matthiaswandel); he’s this guy who builds pretty much everything with a table saw, a drill press, and a band saw. One of his latest builds is a full, working, wood turning lathe, using only wood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCt3LooUVsQ) He’s got a wonderful amount of ingenuity. So, in terms of using a small amount of tools to get a lot of effect, go check out his channel.

Sonic_Boom98190 karma

What is your ideal sandwich?

mistersavage433 karma

Reddit actually asked me that once and they did a really cool graphic for it! https://upvoted.com/2015/10/22/perfect-sandwich-adam-savage/

torgis30181 karma

Hi Adam!

Do you have a few minutes to talk about Rampart?

mistersavage468 karma

Not only do I want to talk about Rampart, but I’d like to talk ONLY about Rampart, and not about previous drug use of Woody Harrelson, or even sexual congress that he might have had or might not of had with someone in his deep past.

thezionzion154 karma

Do you wish you could pull off the beret as well as Jamie can?

mistersavage244 karma

Yes. Who doesn't?

nihad15149 karma

How much per sentence do you curse?

mistersavage485 karma

When the cameras aren’t on, I’m cursing all the time. I have a very dirty mouth. It’s just how I communicate with the world. It’s interesting raising children too, because at a certain point you realize “I can’t not curse around these beings” It’s just not in my nature. And then they start to curse, and when children curse it’s just…it’s just gross.

And yet there’s an age when it becomes ok.

Sure enough, when my boys were like, 15 or almost 16, it was just time to stop asking them not to curse. They curse just as much as I do now. I can’t say that I’m proud of that. Look, I feel like words shouldn’t have as much weight as they often have. So, I feel like cursing is a way of taking their power away.

mistersavage143 karma

Okay kidlets. I've been at this for awhile now and I think it's time to pack it in. Thanks for all the awesome questions and comments and I'm glad and grateful and humbled to the comments about what Mythbusters has meant to you. I'm fundamentally changed by making that show and I'm glad it's had some positive effect. My best to everyone and I'll see you lurking around here somewhere...


kb7rky140 karma

Hi Adam, it's Doug Graham (aka KB7RKY) from the MythBusters Fan Club (MBFC), and the First Church Of Buster (FCOB) at this end. I'm honored to have had a small part in shaping the Mythbusters legacy; to have taken part in your one and only Mailbag Special (I'm going to be forever known as the “Here I am! HI!” guy, catapulting paintball fill at the model boat), and especially honored to count you and the entire MB cast and crew among my many friends. It was especially great to have seen you and Jamie in Spokane, WA, last December. I was beyond thrilled when you said you remembered who I was :D

I do have a few questions, and I hope you can answer them, but first, I hope you're feeling better...I know you were initially sick when you first announced this AMA.

Now, my questions:

  1. What were your thoughts when Mythbusters, in general, was just getting started? Did you ever think the show would be as popular as it has been?

  2. What were your thoughts when Mythbusters started to gain in popularity, ie: Was there ever a time, in the entire 14-year run, when you thought, “Okay, this is it. We're done, we've tested every myth we can think of/the fans have”?

  3. What were your thoughts when you and Jamie stared down the inevitable end of Mythbusters, and, now that the final episode is mere hours away, what are your thoughts now?

Finally, after seeing “Buster's Last Ride” on the Discovery site, I need to ask...just how many whacks did it take for you to break the champagne bottle over Buster's head on the rocket sled? And, was that a ballistics gel fist he had?

And now, for my promised farewell speech:

...well, I really can't think of anything poignant to say, except to quote Shakespeare, who is a far better wordsmith than I am:

"And whether we shall meet again I know not. Therefore our everlasting farewell take: For ever, and for ever, farewell, friends! If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why, then this parting was well made. "

It is with a very heavy heart that I say, "Fare thee well, Mythbusters, and thank you...until we meet again"

Your friend:

Doug Graham

mistersavage389 karma

Did I think the show would be as popular as it eventually became? Absolutely not. I mean, again this wasn't my concept. I came to this show as hired talent in the beginning and figured out my job on the fly, and my understanding of what that job was changed over the years. But because I came from behind the scenes, I mean I have some acting and performance training in my deep background as a high school student, but as a film crew member--model maker, rigger, all that stuff--I know that the rule of entertainment is that it's super fickle and the bottom can drop out any second. So every year that they renewed MythBusters for the first five or six years, I was like "Really?! Cool!" and we'd get another year to do this. In the middle there, the middle few years, I was like "Okay, you know, I feel like we can pretty much expect another year, that's great." and then at this point it felt like I'm not sure they're gonna renew it another year, that's when we worked with Discovery to shoot this final season.

So, never expected it to do as well. Never expected that we would become part of the cultural lexicon. We never intended to make a show that was educational for kids, that was fun to watch for the whole family. Seriously, none of that was on our radar. We were just telling stories of a couple of guys satisfying their curiosity in as rigorous a fashion as we could achieve within the confines of making a television show. The idea that I would then learn deeply about how creative the scientific method was, and how to tell stories about building rigorous methodologies is not something I ever expected. I'm astonished by how far and wide and deep MythBusters has gone around the world and in our culture and in me.

I've never thought we were done testing myths. At the end of the first three pilots we shot in the summer of 2002, Jamie called me up about a week later and was like "So that was fun" and I was like "Yea!" He's like "I don't know really where it could go. I mean, I think we pretty much did everything. Do you want this Impala?" which is the Impala we used for rocket car, and I was like "I can't store it, I don't have a garage," and he was like "Alright, I'm gonna sell it. Well...talk to you later." and then we hung up. We didn't talk again really until after the show aired, which was January of 2003, and then Discovery awarded the show, I think less than two weeks later. It was amazing how quick it was. And again, I think we were talking at some point and Jamie was like "I don't know what we're going to do because I think we've sort of answered everything." And it wasn't like I had this long list of things that I thought that we were gonna do, but we had no idea where we were gonna go. We didn't realize that film was going to provide all these wonderful movie stunt physics that we could test. Social media really didn't have a whole other world at the beginning. Things like Facebook or Twitter or Reddit weren't extant back then and part of the popular culture. Viral videos weren't a thing, and that's a massive amount of stories that we did. So that sort of gives you an idea about how the narratives that we built changed over the years.

My thoughts about staring down the inevitable end of MythBusters have gone through many stages. All of the stages of dealing with death, I would think. Anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance, etc. and I owe a great amount of thanks to Paget Brewster. Paget is a friend/acquaintance of mine through the Thrilling Adventure Hour theater players. In January of last year we were doing a thing here in San Francisco as part of San Francisco Sketchfest, and Paget said to me "Oh, sweetie, your show is going to end in a year? You better get ready, because it's really going to fuck you up." And I was like "Seriously? What?" and she was like "Yea, I was on my show for 6 years." She was on CSI for 6 years, and she was like "When that ended, I found it really destabilizing and intense, and just when you've been doing the same thing for this long, get ready. It's going to affect you in all these ways you're not planning for."

And it was a great gift that she gave me by telling me that was coming down the pipe. Because we started the last season, and it wasn't like we felt super elegiac about MythBusters ending at that point, and it wasn't until really--that was January we started filming that season--it wasn't really until September that the light at the end of the tunnel was clear, like "Wow, we've only got like 9 weeks left." "8 weeks left" "7 weeks left". And thing that made me most sad is that I realized that I wasn't going to be making this show with these people. The MythBusters crew is the best working reality television crew in television. I'm not exaggerating, and I won't even qualify it. Those guys are incredible. They're my family, and we all effectively grew up together. Many of our people started off like a farm team of researchers and runners, and became producers and directors of photography, and became the best at those jobs. And looking around and realizing that this was the last time that I was going to be showing up on set every day and making up how to make this show every day with these amazing people, that's the part that I found the most difficult and the saddest.

You know, when I finally got back from our stage tour in December of 2015 and settled into the holidays, and then post-holidays when I settled into my unemployment, that affected me in a totally different way. It helped me understand how deeply I had identified with being "the guy with the television show." and now I'm not the guy with the television show, and that's fine. It's just hard to see how much you attach your identification with the thing that you're doing until you're not doing it. And even though I was ready, I was like "I'm ready, I'm ready for life without this show, ready to see what it’s like, ready to deal with the difficulties.” It doesn't even help knowing that the difficulties are coming. It's still difficult. It's still difficult because transition is tough. I mean if there is one thing about humans that's constant it's that we hate change. And it's weird because we seek it, we love change, and yet it's always destabilizing. I mean some people love it, I get it. Some people are going to post and go "I love change!" I get it. But I think most of us find moving our houses difficult. Changing jobs difficult. The things that we do and the ways in which we live our daily lives, they really do help us define ourselves to ourselves. And when those change, it starts to help illuminate the fact that our personalities are completely illusions. And it's a pervasive illusion, but it’s an illusion all the less. There, I just got Buddhist on your ass.

I think Buster's fist on the rocket sled was cast urethane rubber. And as for how many whacks of the champagne bottle, I think it took four or five. Which if there's several cut into the show, that's how many it took. We're not gonna cut any of those out because it's nothing but hilarious that it takes a while to smash a bottle over Buster's hard head.

Edit: Fixed the year, thanks!

chipmcdonald124 karma

What were/are the best model kits to bash for greeblies? Tamiya Tiger, Revell cars, etc?

mistersavage147 karma

Tamiya! They make great kits.

Kafk4103 karma

Hi Adam. Longtime fan from Norway. If you were to buy something for $30 or less. What would you think is an item would give you the most joy?

Is there a dream project you've not yet done, but would like to?

mistersavage137 karma

That's interesting. My first thought is like a Criterion Collection DVD set of one of my favorite films. That's about what they cost, and I love the Criterion Collection because they are for film geeks like me. That's not necessarily an object, that's media I'm consuming, so I recognize I might have stepped outside the citadel of what your question is hoping to encompass.

I love me a good sketchbook. These days I'm keeping my notes in a series of sketchbooks, and I have multiples. Each one is a different project that I'm working on, or a different mindset that I'm thinking about, and I'm able when I have an idea to pick it up and put it in the notebook it belongs in. I used to buy these think notebooks, you know, like 3/4 of an inch thick, like the moleskins and stuff. My problem with those is I would fill the first 50 pages and then stuff would be so jumbled I'd never be going back to it because it would be like, one page is a build I want to do, and another page is a movie idea i've got, or some sort of narrative, it's all over the place. This allows me a nice granular attack on each project so that when I open it up, there's all my thoughts within this one thing. But the perfect notebook, I have not yet found it. My guess is though, when I do, it will be under $30. Look, maybe I'll have to make it. That's also possible.

bubblegumnex102 karma

Hi Adam!

Where there any myths that seems like a great idea but then turned into a miserable, unsatisfying chore to do?

Conversely were there any myths that you didn't think would be great but turned out to be a lot of fun?

mistersavage128 karma

Both of those things happened a lot. I would tell you the rocket special in this last season (it aired a couple weeks ago) was a real ass-kicker of an episode to get right. We ran into difficulties we did not expect. They ended up taking us far longer to solve the problems than we expected. It was a real grind, especially because working in the Mojave desert in 105 degrees; just not easy to work under those conditions.

Stories that seemed like they were going to be tough but turned out to be really fun? Nah, you know - we started every episode with “I can’t wait to get our hands on this”. I loved where the vacuum cleaner car lift ended up, that was awesome that it didn’t work the first time. We were a little bit like “ahhh…”, but once we started on the second attempt we felt pretty confident we had something and that ended up being great.

CR3ZZ97 karma

I have never been on time to an AMA before...

Adam, what are you doing today?

mistersavage143 karma

Welcome, CR3ZZ! What I'm doing today: I'm got some meetings today after this AMA. I'll probably pop back into this AMA later today and answer more questions, too. And I still have a cold, so I'll probably go to bed early again if I can.

ackthbbft93 karma

Hi Adam! Why do I always seem to find out about AMA's about 3 hours too late?

mistersavage126 karma

Don't worry. I'll be popping in and out of this AMA all day, between meetings.

kuhndog585 karma

Do you remember telling me that you love me last time you were here? Follow up, do you mind that I have been putting that on my resume?

mistersavage181 karma

No, I don’t mind telling you that I love you last time I was here.

You know, I met this great pair of kids in LA a few years back. They’re like the niece and nephew of this good friend of mine. They were awesome when I met them; they were dressed like little Gatsby characters. The boy was wearing a Seersucker suit, if I remember correctly. These kids were like 7 and 9.

They were so fun to talk to that when we parted I said “When you tell people about meeting me, you’re allowed to say that I’m a good and close friend of yours.” and I hear a couple of years later that they are absolutely still doing that, and I think that’s great.

KawaiiPotato1580 karma

Cats or dogs?

mistersavage195 karma

Dogs! I have two rescues: Huxley and Maggie. They're the best. https://twitter.com/donttrythis/status/690216936773300225

woodswag78 karma

Do you ever get the point in a project where you decide you aren't going to finish it?

mistersavage110 karma

Rarely. I certainly get to stopping points where I don't know what the next step is going to be, but at that point what I will do is I will box it up with all of its notes and all of my research on it and put it up in my loft until such time as I've thought about it and know how to attack it again. I certainly regularly come to points in a build where I don't know how to proceed, and in that case I'll put it aside for a while. I think at any given time I've got 15 or 20 of those sitting around.

hunbun2559 karma

What is something that us regular folks, don't know about you?

mistersavage185 karma

It's hard to know. I don't know how much research you've done, haha. I like to cook, and my main food I'm really good at cooking is eggs. I make a mean soft scrambled eggs, and also a pretty darn good omelet. I juggle. I can play one song on the piano. I ride a unicycle.

Oh! Here's something you didn't know about me: In 1919 my grandfather, who was a pilot in world war one was on a bender with his best friend in New York City, and at 5am they were in Washington Square Park drunk as skunks, fat with cash from having left the war, and apparently according to my dad, my grandfather's best friend Pare Lorentz, Pare and my grandfather bribed 2 milk truck drivers--and at this point milk was still delivered in a horse drawn carriage--bribed 2 milk truck drivers 5 bucks each, which in 1918/1919 was a lot of money--and they had a chariot race up 5th avenue in a pair of milk trucks while drunk. How about that?

I mentioned the full name of my grandfather's best friend because Pare Lorentz was actually a really important new deal filmmaker and did a lot of films for Franklin Delano Roosevelt about the depression and about the dust bowl in particular, and along with his composer, Virgil Thompson, was a really important early american documentarian filmmaker.

chipmcdonald48 karma

Were you as fast at doing model builds when you first got the job at ILM as you apparently are now?

mistersavage78 karma

Yeah. The thing is when I first thought I wanted to work in special effects, I did not have any usable skills at that point. So I was like 23, and I thought “oh, I want to work in special effects!” – I didn't know my ass from my elbow. I didn't know that I didn't know!

But cutting my teeth on 200 television commercials in Jamie's shop for 4 years...that gave me the skill set and the mindset of working quickly, working elegantly, working efficiently...that was a great skill set to show up at ILM with. And when I showed up I was darn fast and it was a lovely niche to fill. It afforded me a bunch of projects that I wouldn't have normally gotten.

mrwelchman46 karma

what's up adam. love mythbusters. love your work on tested. thanks for working to make both of those as great as they are.

a few quick questions not really related to those... i know from twitter you're a haruki murakami fan. favorite book of his? also, any plans to go back to the nitty gritty of working on special effects teams for films now that you likely have a bit more free time on your hands?

again, thanks for everything!

mistersavage93 karma

My favorite Murakami novel is still 1Q84.

I’ve read about half of his books twice, and I also still have a super special place in my heart for A Wild Sheep Chase. It’s definitely because it’s so inspired by Raymond Chandler, who’s my all-time favorite novelist. But 1Q84 is staggering good; it’s an amazing, amazing book.

If you haven’t read it, you’re welcome.

honeybunchesofaots28 karma

Really wish you would've talked about Hamilton more on Still Untitled. Have any plans to see it soon? I'm dying to see it someday.

mistersavage35 karma

I will see it in a few weeks. Can't wait!

RealVanossGaming21 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10, how soft is Jamie Hynemans beard/mustache?

mistersavage11 karma

I can’t speak to how soft Jamie’s mustache is – if I touched it, it was so briefly – I don’t want to know how soft it is!

whatisthematterwithy18 karma

Have you ever studied Goethe, Adam? I've always been curious about this, after watching some of your better videos on Tested.

Goethe was an 18th century German polymath, born in Frankfurt in 1749. He died in the small city of Weimar in 1832, after having lived through the Seven Years War, the American and French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars. When he was born Germany was still a Feudal confederation of minor aristocratic duchies and independent city states. When he died the first railways and telegraph wires were being laid.

Goethe himself, from 1775 until his death, was the political administrator of a small little state called Weimar-Saxe, situated in the center of what is only today called Germany. The diverse nature of Goethe's interests and occupations during this period represents one of the most profound manifestations of Humanism in the history of ideas.

Goethe, during this time,

  • 1. Worked as administrator of the University of Jena (where Fichte and Schiller taught as professors),
  • 2. He was managing director of the Weimar Theater
  • 3. He taught drawing at its art academy,
  • 4. He was an honorary professor of Botany at Jena,
  • 5. He was Privy Councilor to the Duke, Karl August,
  • 6. He chaired Wiemar's highway, war and mining commissions,
  • 7. He was Weimar Court Librarian

Not only that, but in his leisure he also found time to write one of the most sophisticated bodies of work in the history of literature, one that includes classics like Tasso, Egmont, Wilhelm Meister, and Elective Affinities.

The volume of primary sources about his life, written both by Goethe and those who knew him, makes him probably one of the most well recorded individuals in the history of humanity. I own a volume of letters written about him by those who met him, and it contains letters written by Schiller, Madame de Staël, Talleyrand, Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn and William Thackeray, among others. He met Napoleon, saw Mozart preform as a child, and was witness to both the Siege of Mainz and the eruption of Vesuvius.

Goethe knew more than 7 languages. He was a passionate, and accomplished collector of both art and scientific specimens and experiments. Among his immediate contemporaries and associates were the world famous naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, who greatly inspired Darwin, one of the earliest practitioners of what is today called Theoretical Physics, Friedrich Schelling, the founder of modern Anthropology, Gottfried Herder, not to mention Schiller. Since Goethe's death (and life even) figures from Thomas Carlyle, to Nietzsche, to Freud have obsessed over him, both the beauty of his art, as well as the complexities of his development as a human being and what it meant for the history of Mankind as a whole.

Now, I ask if you've ever read him because of how you remind me of him, how Goethean your approach to seeing things is. You share with him a great zeal for collecting, and you have a similar mania for ensuring that your collection is ordered and complete. You also are very aesthetically minded and oriented, you appreciate at once the beauty of both beautiful works of art, as well as, 'beautiful' scientific proofs and engineering solutions. In fact I think I once saw you talking about the necessary relationship between art and science in a video of a talk you gave.

You also have the same tendency to abstract and generalize your own problem solving algorithm. You speak at great lengths about the general way in which you approach your own collecting and building of things, and once you arrive at this principle, you then apply it to everything else that you do and immediately recognize the implications it has for your whole understanding of the world and your own place in it.

Goethe did something similar, in his books. His worldview was extremely dynamical, not only were we machines who were affected and compelled by the world around us, but we were also actors within it who compelled it to change and grow. The give and take of this relationship continued on throughout human history until, like evolution, it reached a complex, dynamic, and every changing harmony.

You can see this readily in his Italian Journey, a book he wrote about his travels through Italy. In it you see his great mind work over, in a way that is at once both scientific, and artistic, the world which he finds himself surrounded by. And you see him shape his own understanding of his environment as if it were a painting and he was Rembrandt. He patiently and cheerfully observes the climate and weather, the geology and topography of the landscape, the various and diverse kinds of plants that grow there, and he connects these things together with the greatest taste and artistry to form a vivid and holistic mental painting of the world. And at the same time, he studies the fine art and architecture of Italy. The greatness of the work is the connection that Goethe makes between these two things, and how he applies what he learns while he's studying to be a painter, to the way in which he scientifically conceptualizes the external universe.

If you'd like to learn something about Goethe there are some very fine books about him. "Discovering the Mind" by Walter Kaufmann, "Conversations with Goethe" by Eckermann, "Lotte in Weimar" by Thomas Mann (which is a very intricate, and somewhat critical, historical novel), "The Disinherited Mind" by Erich Heller, "Culture and Society in Classical Weimar: 1775 to 1806" by W. H. Bruford, "A Study of Goethe" by Barker Fairley, and a great, recent (and still ongoing) biography by Nicholas Boyle called "Goethe: The Poet on the Age"

mistersavage17 karma

Holy shit! I am familiar with just the barest outline of Goethe, apparently. Thanks for the incredible post and the book recs! I'll get them and have a read!

milo9616 karma

Are you still missing an eyebrow? I really enjoy the show, favorite episodes are the exploding cement truck and the rocket on the rail. From a young age I've been hooked to the show and it has given me a strong interest in science and the such. You and Jamie have been people I looked up to and as people who I wish to be as talented as.

mistersavage28 karma

Nope! Thank goodness.

pawnstomper7 karma

Why are you here doing an AMA? Be honest now, think deep.

mistersavage11 karma

I love doing AMAs. I do at least one a year, sometimes more, and post pretty regularly (other times I'm just lurking). As for doing it today, I wanted to thank reddit for their contribution to last week's MythBusters, and I was in New York until last night.