reality television pilot

In the name of science

In February of 2004, Luke was involved with a Discovery Channel series pilot called “In the Name of Science.” It documented the construction of a record-setting, 40-foot trebuchet that would launch various flaming and explosive projectiles.

This six-minute video shows the highlights of his work on the show– and the explosions.

With the success of Mythbusters and other similar building shows, a local production company that usually made National Geographic specials decided to try the hand at a building show.

As a result of the audition, new roles were actually created for  projectile builders, so I got to exercise my creativity building objects with pyrotechnic effects to throw– it was a flaming playground – that kind of thing doesn’t happen very often.

We made a metal lathe out of a mag drill and custom stands in order to put a 3-foot long taper on a 3-inch staff. We experimented a lot with fuel mixes in order to keep objects alight in flight.

It was a constantly-engaging project in that we had no supervision, and all they desired was spectacle. Since I had experience working with directors and producers, I was able to collaborate with them and expand on ideas. A lot of great pieces came from that.

Projectiles included:

  • a geodesic dome lined with canon fuse and ping pong balls
  • a 12-foot replica of the Seattle Space Needle
  • half a dozen flammable pianos
  • an exploding Opel Cadet