Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Idea Interviewee: Steve Heminover

When seeking out subjects for a documentary, Steve Heminover is exactly the kind of person you want for your film. He's a member of that subset of scientists who are personable, have good camera presence, and are charismatic as well as knowledgable. There aren't many out there, which is why you see a lot of the same scientists crop up in TV science documentaries. Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and my our personal favorite/patron saint of the show, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Steve Heminover should be added to this list. Our interview with him was delightful, and the camera only seemed to make Steve goofier and more gregarious.
We filmed his interview in his workspace. Steve owns a company called Aura Technologies, which specializes in many things, but mostly does laser shows for Chicago-area events. If you've seen a laser show at the United Center, that's him.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Hey there readers! Been a while, yes?
Apologies for the lack of updates as of late; it's not because we haven't been busy here.
Of course things always take longer than expected, and production of The Big Idea's first season is no exception. The Kickstarter campaign is now set to launch towards the end of July -- a very fun video has been planned for that, so look out for it! 
In the meantime, there's been lots more going on. Last month, we interviewed Steve Heminover (more on him later!), owner of Aura Technologies, which specializes in laser shows. If you've ever seen a laser show at the United Center, that's his work. We talked all about waves, and how they relate to sound and light. He showed us all sorts of cool things, including an Oscilloscope and several lasers, one of which he set a post-it note on fire with. 
This month, we're doing the second part of our interview with Dave Dolak. In March, we interviewed him about dinosaurs and geological history. But being the multi-talented person he is, Dave is also an expert in the science of acoustics (he builds ukeleles like the one he's playing in the sneak peek video we posted of him), so we'll be interviewing him about the science of sound and discuss how various instruments work for the Waves episode.
We will also be interviewing Amy Fowler, owner of Mimi's Garden, who cultivates (wait for it) a garden as well as pollinator boxes for bees. We'll be exploring her garden for the Growth episode as well as discussing the recent honeybee population decrease and how their demise might spell ours.
Finally we are also trying to squeeze in an interview with Amanda Cline, the head pastry chef at The Bleeding Heart Bakery West Town, who's gonna tell us all about baking and the science behind it.
What else...?
-In addition to launching the Kickstarter, the Big Idea is trying to hunt down a Fiscal Sponsorship. This means we would be affiliated with a non-profit and be able to apply for a lot more grants.
-On the non-interview show media front, we are working with the incredibly talented animator and musician Elisabeth Blair on animations for every episode. You can check out some of her other stuff here -- she's working on some amazing original experimental animations for the show that we are absolutely thrilled about.
-In addition to bringing Elisabeth aboard, Rose Jermusyk has completed an incredible poem for the show. We can't print it yet (she's submitting it to several poetry journals first), but in the meantime you can check out her own Kickstarter, which, if you pay her a dollar, she'll take a name you give to her and re-arrange the letters to make a new name, then make a character based off that name and write it into a giant poem she's composing.
-We also have been working on lots of media for the show. Jeremy Mumenthaler and Asif Ahmed are developing poster designs, as well as six icons that correspond to each episode in the first season. These icons will be on buttons, stickers and other swag as kickstarter rewards and promotional material.
-Speaking of poster designs, we are collaborating on a poster contest with the amazing artist Diana Gabriel -- submit a design relating to one of the six episodes (extinction, growth, angles, waves, nourishment, or genesis). Best of each theme gets displayed at Morton College next spring, and best overall gets $100. We'll keep you posted on when that contest launches!
-In the process of locking down for interviews: an architect, a food scientist, an epidemiologist, a midwife, and a hockey player. If anyone knows of a friend in one of these professions, send them our way!
We will be updating more frequently from here on out. Keep checking back!