Adam Savage

September 30, 2012

I am Adam Savage. Co-host of Mythbusters. AMA

Special Effects artist, maker, sculptor, public speaker, movie prop collector, writer, father and husband.

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Hi. Wow, questions coming fast. Favorite thing about the show is getting to do something different every day.That's why I got into effects, it's why I lasted in that field, and it's the best part of MB. FANS. I love the fan based interactions. Twitter has been a godsend for me with fan contact. We've gotten at least a dozen myths directly from my twitter feed. But more than that, I like how civilized (generally) the conversation on twitter tends to be (for me at least).

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I love that shitty watercolor!

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Let's get the cannonball thing out of the way. Pretty much the worst thing that's ever happened to us on the show. Freaked us all out. Salient points: we are SO FREAKING GRATEFUL AND RELIEVED that nobody was physically hurt. We sat in the guy's house that the cannonball went through and he was so mad (I would be too). I totally understood why. The episode changed all of our safety procedures, strengthened them, like any wake-up-call should. On par, I think our safety record is fairly good (a few stitches, couple of broken fingers from moving safety equipment) for a show that replicates deadly scenarios on a daily basis. We're getting more careful rather than less these days. Perhaps also because we're all getting older.

if i could choose my death, getting smashed by a cannonball would be in the top three choices

That would certainly be quick.

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Holy cow. I totes didn't know that there was a MB subreddit. I'll be checking into that!

"totes" Wow somebody else says that.

Totes magotes!

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Favorite myth is Lead Balloon. No explosions, no fanfare. Just a 14' diameter balloon floating made of 28lbs of rolled lead. The level of problem solving was so crazy fun on that one. That being said, I'm always excited about the story we just did (Indycars last week) and the one we're just about about to do (some more stunt driving myths starting Tuesday).

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By and large Mythbusters is a super fun show to do. It's work to be sure. Like anything you want to do well, you've got to bust your ass to get it right, and it's tiring. Most tv shows have a few months off per year, we shoot MB 45 weeks a year on average. Add to that that I've got 13 year old twin boys and the weeks fill up fast. The other thing that makes it fun is our crew. We've all been working together for the better part of a decade and it's like family. We've all seen each other at our best and worst. They get just as excited about the science, the methodologies and the outcomes as we do.

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For the record I've been lurking on Reddit for years. Maybe like 5 years.

He said he had been lurking, so he may not know how to reply :)

I feel seriously so dumb about the reply thing. I'm used to the format on Metafilter.

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I met Vince Gilligan from Breaking Bad at the Emmys a couple weeks ago. We had a good talk, have some fun stuff in the works. That's all I can say right now.

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My interest in science? When did it begin? My favorite teachers in high school were the science and art teachers. Mr. Frare and Mr. Zimopolous, and Mr. Benton. All of Sleepy Hollow High School in NY. I have ALWAYS had a penchant for taking things apart. It started as a way to look for cool shit to build with, but if you take enough things apart, you start to understand how they work and how to put them back together.

Also: little known secret. The most common way to repair something is to take it apart and put it back together again. For some reason that works like 75 percent of the time and I have no idea why. But it makes you look like a genius when you're 13.

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I've kept tons of stuff I made for the show. I get to make so many cool things. We just did one where I needed a water balloon but I needed it not to break when it got hit. So I sewed up a leather bag for it with a zipper. I used some kid leather that was Hermés orange and this thing is so gorgeous. The Hermés water balloon. That's the latest thing. I have a whole cabinet in my office at MB with my favorite stuff in it. I should do a tour of it for the show...

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Would you rather fight 1 horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

Totally 100 duck sized horses. Ducks are nasty (but delicious) creatures. I'd HATE to meet one that large.

Thank you for the hours of entertainment and laughter...yep this was my day..

My pleasure.

Not so fast. You have a sub-machine gun. Mp5 with 2 32-round box-magazines.

1 horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

I'd still go with the Duck sized horses.

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"You've made a lot of your own costumes and replicas for characters from movies/media. You do this for events like Comic-Con and see if Fans can guess who you are. What was your favorite costume, and which one took the longest?"

My favorite costume is definitely No-Face from Spirited away. One of my favorite movies in the world (watch it, thank me later).
Funny thing happened at Comic-con when I wore it. I had a satchel of gold coins in my robe to give to people I was taking pictures with. But the Otaku (who were the most freaked out and happy to meet No-Face) kept putting the coins back into my hands. Took me awhile to realize that it's because it's bad luck to take coins from No-Face. I got chills. The cosplay that happens at the cons is like a new kind of theater that only the participants understand. I love diving into that world.



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I was totally not born cool. Never felt cool. Had a terrible time in school, didn't have a lot of friends (none from 8 until 16 or so). I was generally liked and left alone for the most part (I now realize) but I was very lonely. Spent literally years, YEARS, playing with legos in my room listening to Kasey Kasem's top 40 countdown all through the 70's and early mid 80's. I actually don't think I'm cool now. Just more relaxed with who I am. Tory is cool. Genuinely cool. Kari is cool. Grant and I are less cool. Jamie, he's not even measured on a human scale of cool. It's like asking if Jupiter is cool. relephant

One of my favorite gifs ever.

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"Will you ever revisit the casualties caused by flying wood vs actual cannonballs myth? Because I think you approached that one wrong."

Our reticence to play with cannons notwithstanding, I was just thinking of revisiting that one. I've been reading the Patrick O'Brian books about Jack Aubrey (I'm on the 4th one- the Mauritius Command) and besides them being super AWESOME, they're getting me interested in doing some more Napoleonic Ship's myths.

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"How has it been working with the Tested guys so far and how it did partnering with them first come about?" Will and Norm at Tested are amazing. They're the best partners for a web presence we could hope for. I love sitting in my shop on Mondays doing our video pieces. Our interests overlap so much the Venn diagram is simply a circle. We have more plans for cool stuff over there, but we're taking it slowly, methodically.

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I can't possibly state what my favorite film of all time is. As it is I've got like 30 films in my top 10. Things like Blade Runner Brazil Godfather The Philadelphia Story The Departed Spirited Away Dr. Strangelove 2001 Terminator 1 and 2 Raiders Star Wars and Empire (are there any others?) Citizen Kane The Abyss Hellboy Pulp Fiction (anything by Tarantino) Beginners The Thing Master and Commander Alien Aliens Godfather Apocalypse now

etc. etc. We're planning a whole film podcast for Tested, but still compiling our lists.

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Funniest myth: We were testing a myth about a drunk who convinces his blind friend to drive him home. We tried it with each other (one blindfolded one giving directions), and then got a blind guy to do it. He was better at driving than either Jamie or I. See when we close our eyes, we try and map the world on the darkness but a blind person has no such preconceptions. So then we got Jamie drunk and the most amazing thing happened. Jamie's directions made the blind guy drive LIKE A DRUNK PERSON. We were pissing ourselves laughing in the chase car. Never saw that coming. Jamie of course was oblivious and wondering what the hubbub was.

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Holy grail of movie props: I've long wanted a full sized Ark of the Covenant from Raiders. It's a lot of work but I think about it from time to time. Also I need to finish my Iron Man Mark III armor. Can't wait to get that one done.

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The Top Gear guys and us are in a mutual admiration society. We love them and their show and vice versa (from what I've heard, we've never actually met). I'd love to do something with them at some point, and honestly that seems like an inevitability, but nothing is in the works right now. They're like a sister show to us, aren't they? Love what they do. My cameraman Soz is OBSESSED with them.

Not sure what Adam is answering, but isn't he referring to Top Gear US? It'd make more sense since they are part of the same network I think (Discovery owns History and TLC right?) I don't get the impression they'd work with the Top Gear UK guys.

Nope, Top Gear UK.

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Favorite explosion is definitely water heaters. I do a whole piece about how much I love them in our Behind the Myths tour (shameless plug: We're coming to Florida soon! Orlando on Oct. 12, Tampa on Oct. 13, and Jacksonville on the 14th. There's truly nothing so cool as the deep thud of a water heater explosion.

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The most foul smell on the show wasn't the pig in the Corvette. No, it was the human turd that I washed off the lip of Jamie's loading door. Didn't smell until I broke the seal by hitting it with a high pressure hose. Worst. thing. ever. On humid days we can still smell the big buried in the sidewalk outside of Jamie's shop.

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Latest movie prop I'm working on: The Oscillation Overthruster from Buckaroo Banzai. One of the great cult films of all time. I just received an accurate case for it from a run on the RPF (that's the Replica Prop Forum I'm also working hard on finishing one of the space suits (Kane's) from Alien. That's the culmination of 10 years of work.

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Jamie and I have disagreements all the time, but none that threatened the show. On the big things (integrity of our brand, what we should do, how to proceed, money) we've remained shockingly aligned. As long as those things are in synch, everything else is relatively minor. That being said we drive each other batty every day.

Adam just doesn't understand reply... Or he's trolling us hard

Holy crap you're totally right. I didn't understand Reply. Sorry for being an idiot.

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.

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.

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).

Post proof please.

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.

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.

Your point is completely correct. A lot of their myths are marked as busted, when they should have been marked plausible. I understand though, that for the sake of the show, if they can't replicate it then they shouldn't mark it as plausible. Maybe they should scrap myths like that though, I don't know. I doubt people watching these videos are going to take them as fact and relax their safety procedures causing something like this.

In this episode, their attempt at replicating it actually was pretty weak though. I'm not sure how big the cables on your ships are, but I imagine they are larger than the ones on the show which were 3/8" and 5/8". More importantly though, they didn't actually load the cables to their max causing them to snap. They simply loaded them to 30,000lb and cut it. When cables snap, it's because they are overloaded, which means there had to be at least the rated strength which in the 5/8" wire used on the show was 40,000lbs. Had they loaded it to that and beyond it's very possible it wouldn't have broken until 50,000lbs or higher, which would have probably had different results.

I can only imagine that those cables on an aircraft carrier are much bigger and rated for much more of a load. If one of those cables failed I am certain it would be disastrous for anyone near it. Hell, here is a story of a girl who had her feet severed by a cable at an amusement park, so we know it can happen.

I always wish the Mythbusters could get into more detail and test further, but I understand it's a show for entertainment, and there is a budget. The important thing is that everyone continues to be cautious when working with stuff like that because even if it doesn't cut someone in half, it is likely to kill them. Also important is that people don't take Mythbuster test, or anything they see on TV, as fact. There are always more variables and many more test that could have been done.

A point: We're talking about cables that WHIP. Aircraft carrier cables are so large it's like getting hit with a steel girder. And cables can sever any part of you if they're under tension and you're between them and something hard. The myth is that a cable under tension can whip around at such a speed that it can slice flesh. I dispute that we didn't fully test it. We tested it with every grade of cable (up to 1" IIRC) that could be found on a regular boat and tensioned them up to 85% of their breaking strength and sliced them. Dented pigs was all we got. There's plenty of first hand accounts of people getting things severed by ropes, cables etc. That's not what we were testing. We were testing the whipping action. Myth busted.

As a fisherman I've never been worried abut being "sliced in half." Hit in the head and having my skull crumble like a cheap soda can is what worries me.

And that is what would happen.

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.

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.

Hey Adam, I know you've got experience with movie props and special effects, and I've had a question that I've been dying to ask somebody in the industry.

Who makes the signage for movies, and how can I get a job doing it?

I started working in a sign shop last year and I've fallen in love with signmaking. It was only after I knew how much work went into something as simple as a suite sign that I realized that signage plays an extremely important role in film.

Room signs set a location or function as a plot point, i.e. "Electrical Room" on the door a bad guy is sneaking through. Vehicle lettering on prop news station vans or prop police cars keep the continuity and the immersion of a film going. Even in locations that are only briefly shown like the inside of a bank or grocery store, all have custom-made signage.

Somebody has to design, fabricate, and install all of that, right? Do prop houses fabricate their own, or outsource to the work to sign shops in the area? Would a background in signmaking help me get a job in a prop house?

Eric Haven does the blueprint signage. He's one of our Associate Producers and an accomplished comic book artist. The main signage in the episodes is usually done by my cameraman Scott Sorensen or me.

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.

Hey Adam,

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.

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.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love Duct Tape?

  1. 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.

Have you ever seen Jamie Hyneman without a beard?

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's your single greatest achievement in life?

Raising my kids and meeting my wife.

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.

Do you forsee a moment in which myths to be busted will become less and less? Or do you believe that the amount of myths will keep flowing or even increasing as time keeps going on?

We still have about 200 good stories on the master list. And it grows every week. I'm dying to replicate a study I read recently that men get stupider when women are around.

What's your favorite book?

I've just been reading a ton of Michael Chabon and I love LOVE the Yiddish Policemen's Union. Raymond Chandler is my favorite author. I read all of his books about every 5 years. Seriously . I love Hundred Years of Solitude.

It was great running into you at LAX a couple years back, thanks for being nice and taking a picture!

Of course. Part of my job.

What is the funniest thing Jamie has ever said?

I can't repeat it here. Jamie has a dark dark sense of humor.

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.

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.

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 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).

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.

Are you just trolling with the not hitting reply?

Nope, just a noob.

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'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'm a huge fan of both you individually (love those Man Cave videos!!) and Mythbusters too. I've been watching the show for yeeeeeaaaarrrrsss now. I'm in college now and I just want to say how much your show made science a lot more fun when I was in middle/high school.

Thanks for answering, again huge fan.

5 years- still doing MB and also producing other tv. Good tv. Hard to say with MB and it's longevity. Our ratings are still great after all these years. Crazy. No idea when this train will stop. As for getting back into fx? No idea. Could happen. I miss it sometimes that is for sure.

First of all, thanks for doing this. You've been a great influence to my curiosity and need for knowledge.

How do you guys pick which myths to test out? What's your favorite myth that you've tested? What sort of projects do you do outside of the show?

We pick myths based on our curiosity. A great position to be in.

You did the show on curiosity about living forever. Is that something you would want?


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.

What's your least favorite part of testing a myth?

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 feel your pain thru the screen (Jamie's too) when you have to do these ridiculous scripts for those...also my least favorite part...jump right in!

It's the convention that's tough, we do the best we can. For the record, I write most of those scripts.

What is a hobby you have that not many know about?

I play a mean game of pool. Back in my 20s, I played for a couple hours a day for about 3 years. Then I didn't play for 20 years and just got a table in my cave. I've dusted off the old cue and started playing again.

Hey Adam, I just wanted to say I think getting together with the Tested guys was an awesome thing. Those videos from inside The Cave are consistently fascinating and inspirational. Any videos or features you'd like to do for the site that you haven't had a chance to do yet? Side question, what does Norman Chan smell like? Hopefully Lilacs.

We have a lot of plans for Tested. Keep an eye out (though our best stuff ends up here regularly. I'm always chuffed when it happens.

When I found out you were friends with Jon Coulton, I flipped out! How did you guys meet?

We met through the inimitable Paul and Storm.

[No question]

Wow guys. This has been amazing. It's been 90 minutes and I still have some work to do IRL. Cooking a lasagna for my father in law tonight and cleaning my shop. I'll check back in a couple of hours from now.

LAST UPDATED Oct 1, 2012 / 11:39 AM, EST / 8:39 AM, PST (Tables are finally complete! Woo!)
Why do an AMA now? 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.
AMA IS NOW FINISHED Okay Reddit. I'm wrapping it up. I've had a blast. This has been so much fun. Sorry for screwing up the reply thing early on. You guys have been great. My lasagna worked out great. My sister in law made some amazing gazpacho, and my wife made a terrific Garlic tart. Sleep well redditors! Let's do this again in a year. OK? Adam out.
Total number of responses: 154
Types of Questions Link
Favorite/Worst/Best/Etc. link
Myths and Mythbuster Stuff link
Personal Life link
Miscellaneous link

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.

I just want to take a moment and let you know that not all of us think you are too stupid to figure out the reply button. I'm sure you've been here long enough to understand that these people are just karmawhoring.

edit: phrasing. I do not accuse adam of karmawhoring. I'm sure he has better things to worry about than his imaginary internet points.

Thank you.

I like that you wanted to answer questions about Woody Harrelson's movies. Crappiest AMA ever.

Yeah, I was toying with the idea of putting that in my opening AMA, but decided against it.

What's your favorite food/restaurant?

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.

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.

Mr. Savage could you make love to all of us here on reddit and if you can, would your wife be okay with it?

She would not.

How much does the honorary doctorate mean to you which you received last year from the University of Twente for your contributions in popularizing science?

Tons in terms of accolades from people I admire. Now THAT was humbling.

what is the one of the crazy experinces you had off camera?

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.

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.

Did you get bullied much as a kid?

A little. Not much more than anyone else.

Where did you get your awesome olive green jacket you've worn in older episodes. Looks like it has armour/padding in it?

That's made by my friend Beej.

I love that jacket. I have two. One in gray, one in Green.

What's your favorite hair/beard ensemble you've sported through the seasons?

I'm most pleased with how it all looks now. I'm very happy in my 40s. My wife likes this look to. And I like looking good for her.


I can't possibly pick one. Though having Hellboy's coat comes close...

Hey Adam I'm a HUGE fan especially from your talks that are posted on htttp://

I was wondering when your next keynote / talk will be? I anticipate them every year and find them quite inspiring.

As you are so experienced I was also wondering what you think the best thing to do is once finishing University (I am 20 and finish my three year Motion Graphics degree in under a year)

Do you recommend looking for a job as soon as you finish or to take your time and experience life a bit more than school e.g. Travel etc?

You seem to be so experienced in different areas I thought you might be a good person to ask.

Keep being inspiring <3

Not sure. I'm working on a couple of TED Ed talks. I'm very excited about them. Kinda like this one:

As for advice, I can't answer that for you. Everyone is different and I went up a lot of wrong roads to get to the right place. So does everyone. Keep doing something that teaches you, don't work for fools, stay frosty.

Tory loves Kari, right? He loves her and it hurts him, yes?

You must be thinking of Jersey Shore.

Which myth was the most difficult to attempt to bust?

Breakstep Bridge. The engineering on demonstrating a fatal harmonic in a bridge is diabolical. We definitely bit off more than we could chew on that one.

If you are interested I have an idea for a myth I would like to see busted. The myth that mosquitos can carry AIDS from one person to another.

Yeah, I don't think we'll be testing that one soon...

how did you get interested in special effects?

Since Star Wars came out when I was 11. I read EVERYTHING I could about it and always wanted to work at ILM. When I finally got there, and met and became the colleague of some of the guys I'd been reading about since I was a kid, it was amazing.

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.

I've got a big question, who's voice narrates the show? His voice is amazing.

His name is Rob Lee.

He's a Canadian living in Australia narrating an American tv show.

Mr. Savage, I would just like to say thank you for hosting mythbusters and kindling my interest engineering and making stuff. If it wasn't for you and mythbusters I probably never would have gotten involved in battlebots or decided to peruse a degree in engineering.

Thank you


You're welcome! A thousand times welcome. Good luck!

What is your favorite pizza topping? If its pepperoni, tell us your second favorite ^

Delfina Pizza here in SF has a Salsiccia (sausage) that I live for. We order from there at least twice a week. Best. Pizza. Ever.

I want some of those awesome glasses you wear! What brand and style do you wear?

They're designed by Gillian Kaplan from Specs in the City in London. Model Doron BK in gloss (they make a matte too).

Do ya like comics man? You should check out BPRD and Ex Machina if ya havent

I have all the BPRD comics. They're awesome. I also read everything by Alan Moore, Frank Miller.

Hey there Adam! Can we see your ZF-1!?

When it's done you can.

Can you ever grow a better beard than Jamie? For science.

That's a subjective question. My beard IS better than Jamie's.

Can you guys please do a Breaking Bad episode?

Yes we can. I love that show.

I am tired of watching ancient aliens proclaiming humans could never have built the pyramids. Do you guys have any plans to test this and prove it forever that the pyramids was indeed built by humans?

We have several stories on our roster that touch on this: Moving Easter Island heads, moving stonehenge, and pyramid blocks. They're intense, but we'll eventually do that as an ep.

I love you especially the Youtube channel stuff. My 9 year old daughter says she wants to be on your show for her birthday, Dec btw. My 11 year old daughter ask what or who inspired you to be where you are today?

My parents. They always supported my interests. I was able to use my dad's charge account at the town hardware store when I was 12. Later, when I moved into NYC, he allowed me to use his account at New York Central Art Supply. What a great store.

Just wanted to say I love you guys and Mythbusters. I wish you guys could make more shows!

We make 23 some-odd per year, often 24. That's the most we can do and keep the quality (and our sanity). New ones start airing next week though!

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.


I posted proof up there somewhere. Check my twitter feed. I'm donttrythis on twitter.

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.

What system do you use to decide wether or not to test a myth?

We call it arguing. Seriously, sometimes it's super obvious what to test. Sometimes we need to plot it out to see if there's a good show in a story. Sometimes we'll start with one idea, and then INSIDE that idea is a better one.

When is the next season?!??!?!?

Starting next Sunday.

Did you know that Mythbusters would become as successful as it is today?

Nobody ever knows that. Every season our ratings stay up I'm surprised. I can't believe how well the show has done lo these many years.

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a mythbuster? P.S. You’re awesome.

Special effects. I'd probably have tried to become an effects director like John Knoll or Bill George (two of my idols). Art director.

Special effects. I'd probably have tried to become an effects director like John Knoll or Bill George (two of my idols). Art director.

P.S. Thanks.

You guys seem to have a lot of fun on the show (I'm very jealous), so what was the most fun you've had doing a myth, and which one was it?

P.S. Huge, HUGE fan, you guys are awesome!

Flying with the Blue Angels was a high point. I drove an Indy Car last week. Not bad. Hand feeding an octopus (that fell in love with me) was also unforgettable.

Hey Adam, thanks for doing the AMA. From my very non-extensive research it seems that the last movie you did work for was The Matrix Revolutions, my question is are you going to do anything involving films in the near future?

No, the last movie I worked on was Terminator 3. I (and my team) built the particle accelerator miniature set (seen through the window of a hallway and the control room).

Hey Adam! Me and a few of my friends like Mythbusters, and we think it's a great opportunity to talk to you, and we wanted to ask you some questions: What made you start Mythbusters? Were you and Jamie friends before the show? What are your best and worst moments from the show? And do you plan on coming to Australia anytime soon?

I'd love to come to Australia. I know we're big down under, and I love Australians.

Jamie and I were cordial professional colleagues before the show. We are the same now, though we see each other more often now.

Hey, do you remember that huge baseball-glove-shaped chair that used to be in the kids section of the Tarrytown Library?

I loved that chair at the Warner Library. Is my dad's mural in the kid's section still there?

In most scientific tests and studies, there has to be multiple tests and retest done before stating any sort of conclusions. I know that being a tv show really prohibits that sort of set up and the show really seems to be more about seeing what results are possible, but has there ever been a myth that you wished you could take the time to test more thoroughly?

Criminy, lots of them. I'll say this, because we are forced to do very few iterations for each test, we work hard to build good methodologies. We don't necessarily stand by our results, but I'll stand by our methodologies.

Why did you quit WWE wrestling?

The 'roids.

What is your favourite hobby?

Depends on the day. I have so many to choose from.

How do you feel working with jamie, is he as amazingly strange as he is perceived

Yes. They broke the mold when they made him. One of the universe's own prototypes.

Why do you do so many accents on the show myth busters?

Because I'm a ham.

Mythbusters is awesome!,I watch it all the time,your show is funny and also very interesting.

How long does it take for you to film one episode?

We film an ep in about 9 days. The other team also takes just about that amount of time.

Would you every retry the rocket car myth where the rockets exploded upon ignition? Also did you ever get your $10,000 back for those rockets?

Yes we will retry the rocket car myth. That's all I'll say for now.

Can you talk about some memorable experiences in your film fx career?

I had been called in by my supervisor to build, paint and light a Jawa Hangar for the Episode II trailer. They needed it done in a day, and I was fast. I was in the paint booth later that afternoon, putting some rust washes on the roof and Steve Gawley ( came in and said that it looked great, and how was I doing it? I explained that I was copying the paint job from the Sand Crawlers (which Steve had freaking painted back in '76!) and he said that mine was great, could I show this other painter how I was getting the effect. Working with guys as generous and cool as Steve, Lorne Peterson, Larry Tan, and everyone else at ILM was dreamy. I loved every day there.

Are there any myths (that don't involve explosions) that you want to test but are not allowed to because of network intervention.

Not really.

Of all the crazy myths you have busted what was the best thing to set fire too?

Hmmm. That's a good one. I liked dousing the car with gasoline and lighting it. That flame moved FAST. Totally scary. Good thing i was wearing a fire suit.

I live a town over from Dublin ca, any way I can watch u film when ur in the tri-valley?

Insurance says: you can't. Sorry.

You're A DAMn SAVAGE! Today's my b-day...can you wish me happy birthday?

Happy freaking birthday!

First of all, I'm pretty sure you know what you're doing here, so I find it very entertaining that you are not using the reply button. Also Mythbusters came to my university once, and I want to thank you for all the things you guys do for the fans (like this).

As for a question... Would you ever want to do an episode in space? I'm in computer science, but it's actually one of my secret dreams to be an astronaut. You guys should come up with some cool experiments/myths that can only be done in space, and see if you can convince NASA and one of the private space agencies to send you up to the ISS.

I would TOTALLY do an episode in space. I would LOVE to do that.

Quick question about the grease fire explosion... It's bothered me for years...

Okay, the grease fire explosion was something along the lines of "Pouring a cup of water into a grease fire will cause a 30 foot fireball". And you guys busted that because it didn't reach 30 feet... It only reached 25 feet.

But there was that exploding pants myth that didn't cause an explosion, and you guys said "Well, most people would consider that to be an explosion!" and then confirmed the myth.

So, I guess to sum it up, isn't 25 feet close enough? It still was a big-ass fire ball that most people would say "Yeah, that's probably 30 feet".

Other than that, I love your work! Especially the stuff with Tested. I love seeing all your props and stuff, pretty cool shit.

It might seem pedantic, but we were following the rules according to the parameters we'd set. I agree with you however.

Hi Adam!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start building/modding/bashing together technology to make cool new things?

I didn't grow up learning things like soldering or basic construction/electronics, so I'm trying to teach myself now because I want to be creative and fix different annoying problems in my life/make cool things

Instructibles. Make Magazine. Web based instruction is great nowadays. And get into theater. Theater is the greatest training ground ever. Theater is the first art form to re-emerge intact following an apocalypse.

First I would like to say thank you for being a huge inspiration throughout my life. The show helped reinforce the idea that unsatisfied curiosity is experience and knowledge lost.

My question is have any of the experiments done on the show been used as evidence for an accredited scientific study?

Yes indeed. Our episodes have been part of published papers about 6 times. The most recent one is the one in which we made a sewer and used a methane explosion to make manhole covers fly 150 feet into the air.

what would be the sci fi invention that in real life would completly change the way we live (ftl something, AI....)?

Oh faster than light travel to be sure!

Mr.Savage I have seen many videos where you go on stage and tell people about your obsession with the maltese falcon and things of that nature, so here's my questions.

1: How is the Falcon project going? in the last video i saw (if i remember correctly) you got to spend some time in a room with a real maltese falcon, have you made any progress?

2: Do you have any new and interesting projects of the same nature that you can share with us?

The falcon is stalled. Some of my projects lie dormant for years before I take them up again. You never know.

Anything I'm working on will eventually find it's way to I'm working on an animatronic alien head.

I like to believe that everytime Adam doesn't click reply, someone is paying him a nickle.


That's totally why I did it.

Marry, Fuck, Kill: Grant, Jamie and Tory. Go.

Now THERE is a game I'm not playing. Wow. I don't even want to think about this.

What's your favorite Jamie Hyneman quote?

"Whirlpools and whirlpools and whirlpools..."

I'm a mustache and beard enthusiast. How do you and Jamie keep your facial hair so shiny?

No idea what Jamie's routine is. I shave and trim every other day or so.

A few questions: How do you guys plan your myths each season? Is there a large planning session before each season?

The water tank myth: Most beautiful explosion on myth busters. When you guys where removing the safety features did you guys think " Okay, this is going to explode, we just don't know how"

Keep up the great work! You Malteese Falcon story was great!

We plan about 3 months out. 4 times a year we spend a week plotting stories (they never end up following our original plot, but we get close enough). I agree about the water heater. We did know how. What we didn't know was WHEN.

What were you guys doing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week?

I can't tell you THAT. I drove an Indy car though. That was cool. Our two drivers, Ryan Briscoe and Logan Gomez were both awesome drivers and excellent guys. I hope we meet again.

Couple of questions here.

Firstly, do you prefer manual or automatic? I've noticed you freely driving both on-air, and you've never shown your personal car, so it's hard to tell.

Secondly, have you ever considered testing the F1 myth that they can drive on the cieling at anything above freeway speeds? If so what's stopped you from doing so?

Thirdly, do you have any plans on revisiting the 'tire fire' myth? I've personally set a tire on fire via brakestand before, all you have to do is keep spinning it after it blows out and it will eventually catch.

I'm old so I like automatic for driving around town. Standard for tricks.

Upside-down race car is one we've been wanting to do forever. All we need is a F1 or an indy car that we will be allowed to hang upside-down and a wind tunnel that exceeds 250mph. We've tried forever. Haven't found one yet.

[No question]

Dudes (and dudettes), the in-laws arrived and we're cooking. I'm out of here for a few hours, I'll answer some questions later on tonight. The questions are great! See you later.

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.

Tell us what you really think of Jamie.

I seriously am glad for the partnership with Jamie. He may drive me nuts but nothing in my life has been as fruitful as our collaboration. The best partnerships thrive on being able to resolve conflict, and we have that. And also, like I said, we never disagree about the money. Given that half of all humanity is totally insane about money, I'm truly grateful that neither of us are. We've agreed to turn down several very lucrative offers over the years because we didn't like some aspect of what we were being asked to do. We don't get residual payments for Mythbusters. What we're being paid is pretty much what we're gonna get. So all we end up with at the end of all this is the legacy of what we made, and our integrity. We're both committed to the same ends regarding both.

What do you have in your pockets right now?

Wallet. Iphone. AA Flashlight (I use it multiple times per day). Keys to house, shop and car. Leatherman (on the belt).

What kind of Letherman? I just bought the "wave" because I didn't like the updated version of my "kick".

It's a charge, but I have a few so I'm not sure.


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.

Hi Adam!

  1. Is there a myth you would love to test, but can't because of budget or other reasons?

  2. 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.

Hey Adam, First off i am a massive fan of Mythbusters and I have been watching it since the beginning and only recently I found out about! You are a great inspiration to me and others alike keep up what your doing! :D

I have 4 Questions for you today and I hope you can find the time to answer them!

1-If you had the unlimited time and unlimited resources what movie would you make and why?

2-Have you ever played any video games if so what's your opinion on the medium?

3-How is Jamie outside of the show is he as he appears?

4-What is your favourite band?

  1. I'd make a good sequel to Alien.
  2. I'm not much of a video game guy. I love the form, appreciate the genius and ingenuity that goes into making them and playing them, but I'm must not that into them. I played about half of Riven. When that little girl showed up I nearly jumped out of my seat. Thought this was a whole new ball of wax. Then I got to the point in the game where you were supposed to remember how everything sounded, and got so mad I quit.

I played Unreal Tournament at ILM. Every day at lunch was basically a LAN party in the laser-cutting room. My specialty: climbing high with a sniper rifle and picking everyone off.

  1. Yes.

  2. Impossible to say. I'm a beatles man. I love Jeff Tweedy, Ryan Adams. Bernard Fanning, Miranda Lambert. Love Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Ciba Matto. James Taylor, Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Kanye, Hans Zimmer, Peter Gabriel, KT Tunstall, Sheryl Crow. Liz Phair, Mumford, Shawn Colvin. There's something in my iTunes library to offend everyone.

I would like to share this photo of me with you guys on the exploding bumper myth. This was one of the best days of my life and I will never forget it. Thank you

That's awesome. Thanks for sharing that.

is there a story behind Jamies Beret?

The Sombrero was too cumbersome.

i'd just like to say thank you for all your amazing work and that it made my entire year being able to go up on stage with you during the behind the myths tour (raleigh, nc). i'd been going through quite a rough year and it really made my 19th birthday spectacular.

I'm so glad that happened. I hope your year got better.

Why are there 34,000 downvotes?

They see me rollin', they be hatin'.

Adam, I've enjoyed your show for years now. Its almost a dream that you might actually be able to read words that I myself have wrote. I am a true absolute fan of yours. It goes further than MB, however. I've watched some of your public speaking, specifically about troubleshooting. I love how your mind works and it fascinates me. There might actually be another human being that comes close to having a mind that operates quite like mine.

With that all being said, my one true question I ask most of all my elders and idols is... What is the one most important piece of advice you could pass on for success or life in general?

Do what you love. Stay obsessed. Try everything.

Hello Adam, I've wondered if you have a group of scientists or engineer consultants that you consult to for testing and engineering cool shit. Or are you really just a 2 man team? We won't judge you or your show however you answer.

We consult with a ton of people. We have a bunch of regulars that we consult, but we also reach out as far as we need to.

Is savage really your last name? If so, cool.

It is. It's a good Irish name.

I've often wondered whether you guys leave out information in myths such as "Beating the Breathalyzer" due to security and law enforcement concerns. Do you ever get any pressure to not air an episode because it may reveal sensitive information or help people commit crimes?

Nope, it's all there. We're not in the business of helping people commit crimes, we certainly obscure certain pieces of info sometimes. But the breathalyzer is all there.

Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

Is that even a question? Coca-Cola!

Hi Adam! Just wanted to let you know that I'm so grateful for the show, and I've learnt more from you guys than I could have imagined. Thank you. As for a question; do you film the blueprint segments before, during or after you've filmed the bench tests, builds and large scale experiments?

Usually after.

how did you like UNT, I sat through your meet and greet there, you quite the amusing fellow

The crowds in Texas are always off-the-hook. UNT was great.


It's OK, I'm still here.

I'm probably late to the party, but I'm still gonna try to post my rather insignificant question here. Adam, you're probably one of the coolest, most loved guys in the history of the Internet, and as such, you've been immortalized in an infinite number of ways (gifs, memes, fan videos, etc etc). What is the funniest thing you've seen about yourself on the web? And the creepiest?

Ahh criminy. I've seen some amazing caricatures on Deviant. I love the walrus dancing gif. Weirdest: once I explored Rule 34 (look it up) and read some Jamie/Adam slashfic. To be clear I read about a paragraph. I will never erase what I read from my mind as mind bleach doesn't exist, but there you have it. That's the low point. I'm sure that there's worse than the 300 some-odd words, but I'll never know. Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker.

Aaah! Late to the party, but just wanted to say, as a machinist/welder in training, what you do (especially prop-making) is my dream. You're awesome!

Do you ever do any CNC machining? Or just all manual work?
(And have you ever made any of the Doctors' Sonic Screwdrivers?)

I've done both, but mostly manual. I have not made a Sonic Screwdriver.

What's your favorite animal? Please I need to know, even if it's made up, thanks!

Dog. I have two dogs. They are the best beings in the world.

I am a student in Orlando and am excited to see that you are coming to the UCF arena. Being in college you would be amazed that cash is short on hand. I'd like to know some things you plan on discussing so I can get an idea if its worth what little cash I have.

Okay MonroeMoose , For you only, and you alone, if you don't think it's worth it, I will personally refund your tickets. Deal? You can email me, my email address isn't hard to find.

[No question]

Okay Reddit. I'm wrapping it up. I've had a blast. This has been so much fun. Sorry for screwing up the reply thing early on. You guys have been great. My lasagna worked out great. My sister in law made some amazing gazpacho, and my wife made a terrific Garlic tart. Sleep well redditors! Let's do this again in a year. OK?

Adam out.

It's been like a week since this has been posted. You won't see this, and I don't even care. You guys on mythbusters are the reason why I want to pursue a career in science and change the world with it someday. Thank you and everyone at MB for inspiring me. You've made this girl know what she wants to someday do with her life and I can't express how much you guys mean to me.

I did see it. You can't even guess how much messages like this warm my heart. Cheers to you and I hope for every success for you.


This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Adam Savage conducted on Reddit on 2012-09-30. The Reddit AMA can be found here.