Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Idea Interviewee: Dave Dolak

Today was our first shoot day, and it went very well! We interviewed the awesome Dave Dolak, and I couldn't be happier to be starting off this webseries with filming him. A super guy, I met Dave back at Columbia when I signed up for his absolutely fabulous class Dinosaurs and More: Geology Explored. There was a little more about rocks than I wished to learn, but it was worth it to learn everything I ever wanted to know about dinosaurs. And Dave even mentioned in his interview that most geologists got their  start with dinosaurs, because let's be honest, who doesn't like them?

When the idea for this show was being developed last spring, I always knew I wanted Dave to be a part of it, right from the start. Dave is one of those great charismatic college professors, goofy with funny ties and a really good sport; the type of professor that would rather have you make a silly video for your final project and seems to enjoy being made fun of (my final project was called "Dolakasaurus sings the Theropods", a coloring book about carnivorous dinos led by a cigar-box-banjo playing dino Dolak). Ya know, the kind of college professor that you hope for when you're in art school but have to take a few science classes.

Not only is Dave a dinosaur expert, but he also teaches a physics of acoustic instruments class and builds his own from stuff like cigar boxes, which he uses to play songs for all of his classes. Even after I graduated I always remembered this one song Dave sings to every one of his dinosaur classes, and I knew I had to get him to perform it for the show. It's a folk song by an artist named Mark Graham called "Their Brains Were Small"; you can read lyrics here.
Today, DP Glen Jennings, sound recordist Michael Capulli and I went down to Columbia to meet Dave. We were lucky enough to be able to use the Columbia College Sci Viz Lab and with some help from the amazing David Morton, who helped us set up the lights and green screen, things ended up going perfectly. We interviewed Dave about dinosaurs and he played that song on a ukelele he built himself! Here's a little sneak peek at that performance, which I filmed with my flip video cam:
Cute song, right? Still deciding on what to put on the green screen behind him.
A few grants are due next week, so it is going to be pretty busy around here. Expect more soon!

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