Pressure — it’s something under which you either thrive or fold.
Adam Savage of Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters,” which begins its 14th and final season Saturday (Jan. 9), learned he fell into the former category early in his relationship with co-host Jamie Hyneman.
It was the early ’90s and Hyneman had just hired Savage for his own San Francisco special effects company to work on commercials. It turned out to be a trial by fire.
“Commercial special effects is very different from film special effects,” Savage tells Zap2it. “In film special effects, everyone is specialized. You’ve got your mold makers, you’ve got your painters, you’ve got your builders, you’ve got your riggers. And you’ve got time in film; you’ve got seven months, 10 months, a year.
“In commercial special effects,” he continues, “you’ve got six hours, you’ve got two people and they’ve got to make a waterfall work for a director who’s screaming. It is no time, no money, no materials or resources; you’ve just got to get it done and it is an amazing training ground. And you either fall in love with it or you run screaming from it.
“There is no middle ground. And I immediately fell in love with the tension and pressure.”
And thus a career was born.
“It’s funny,” Savage says. “I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying pool hustlers because I played seriously for a while, and one of the things that typifies a real hustler is it doesn’t matter what the sport is, they just happen to get cool when the stakes are high. … A hustler is a hustler and the game doesn’t matter. And in a similar way, I think the people who do well in film are the people who like the pressure and are cool under pressure.”
“So for me, that’s where I found a challenge I found satisfying.”