Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, the men behind Discovery Channel's "MythBusters," share behind the scenes stories from their daring, often rudimentary and typically inadvisable tests of myths, rumors and complete hogwash with Kevin Kelly, Wired magazine's founding executive editor.
Hailing from Indiana farm country, Jamie Hyneman is a multifaceted man: wilderness survival expert, boat captain, diver, linguist, animal wrangler, machinist and cook, to name a few. His career has been as equally diverse: Hyneman earned a degree in Russian languages and ran a sailing/diving charter business in the Caribbean for several years before he moved over to the visual-effects industry.
Once he had joined that field and had worked for several special-effects companies, Hyneman found his way to Colossal Pictures' model shop, where he managed the production of models and special effects for hundreds of commercials and movies. Then, 16 years ago, Hyneman took over the shop and created M5 Industries Inc.
Hyneman has worked on over 800 commercials for major automobile manufacturers, soft-drink companies, athletic shoe companies and numerous other products. And in the midst of all this activity, Hyneman's company diversified into toy prototyping and research and development in a variety of other areas as well.
The holder of several patents and the winner of numerous industry awards, Hyneman is also a long-standing Screen Actors Guild member.
Today, while "MythBusters" occupies the majority of Hyneman's professional activity, M5 is active with developing cutting-edge technologies for a variety of industries ranging from defense to green vehicle design. In Hyneman's own words, "At this point, with over 130 episodes under our belts, I feel that we have evolved into different people than we were when we started Mythbusters. You can't go through all the mayhem we have been into on the show without it changing you. I feel like we are just getting warmed up."
Kevin Kelly was the founding editor of Wired magazine and serves on the board of The Long Now Foundation. His books include Out of Control, What Technology Wants, Cool Tools and The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.
Adam Savage has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from ancient Buddhas to futuristic weapons, from spaceships to dancing vegetables, from fine art sculptures to animated chocolate and just about anything else you can think of.
The son of a filmmaker/painter and psychotherapist, Savage has been making his own toys since he was allowed to hold scissors. Having held positions as a projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, interior and stage designer, toy designer, welder, and scenic painter, he's worked with every material and process he could get his hands on - metal, paper, glass, plastic, rubber, foam, plaster, pneumatics, hydraulics, animatronics, neon, glassblowing, mold making and injection molding, to name just a few.
Since 1993, Savage has concentrated on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3, A.I. and the Matrix sequels. He's also designed props and sets for Coca-Cola, Hershey's, Lexus and a host of New York and San Francisco theater companies.
Not only has he worked and consulted in the research and development division for toy companies and made several short films, but Savage has also acted in several films and commercials - including a Charmin ad, in which he played Mr. Whipple's stock boy, and a Billy Joel music video, "Second Wind," in which he drowns.
Today, in addition to co-hosting Discovery Channel's "MythBusters," Savage teaches advanced model making, most recently in the industrial design department at the San Francisco Academy of Art. Somehow, he also finds time to devote to his own art - his sculptures have been showcased in over 40 shows in San Francisco, New York and Charleston, W.Va.
MythBuster Adam Savage recalls being stunned by the results of the "Dirty vs. Clean Car" episode, which tested the fuel efficiency of a car covered in golf ball dimples. "Our thought going in was, 'This is total crap,'" says Savage. "No way."
The results of their experiment actually prompted Ford to test their own version of the "golf ball car."