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Cheeseburger Footprint Goes To Hollywood

Capturing the CameraScenes from a day in Colorado:

I'm sitting on a camera suitcase on a grassy hill along highway 25, a few miles south of the Wyoming border. Cars and trucks whiz by at 80 miles per hour or so, while I'm instructed to gaze at the old-fashioned (but still functional) oil derrick a few dozen yards away. I'm pretending to take notes... on what, I'm not certain, so I end up just drawing the derrick.


I'm at a burger joint in Denver, using a wooden ruler to measure the burgers on the grill for the camera.


The cattle in the field watch me warily, moving away as I approach. Cued by the director, I pull on a latex glove with a snap, then look back at the camera with a "mischievous grin."


I'm informed as we break between scenes that: firstly, the producers at National Geographic told the director that, while looking at the script for Six Degrees (the global warming special for NGTV), they were most looking forward to seeing the cheeseburger footprint segment; secondly, my segment was being filmed in between filming NASA's James Hansen and filming RMI's Amory Lovins. No pressure.


DerrickMore at the derrick. After sitting in one spot for about 20 minutes, I move to the other side of the camera, take the same position, and gaze off in the direction that the derrick would be if I were back where I started; this will give the illusion that the camera has moved to the other side of me, I'm told.


Retrieving the Stuck EarbudThe sound engineer swaps his earbuds for headphones as we start, then lets out a shout: one of the earbuds has broken off deep in his ear. The crew scrambles around, looking for a set of tweezers or something to extract it. Within a few minutes, the director's assistant manages to use a set of needle-nosed pliers to remove the offending object.


We spend nearly three hours filming me at the burger joint. The majority of scenes are of me skulking around "surreptitiously" taking notes of the burgers being grilled, including one point where I'm asked to hide behind a counter, then slowly lift up to appear behind a tray of burgers, and one point where a worker finds me in the meat refrigerator, then slams the freezer door in my face.


I can't decide whether the crew thinks that I clearly don't take myself too seriously, or that I clearly don't have any sense of shame.

Six Degrees will be on National Geographic TV in February of 2008; the 12 hours or so of filming (including about an hour of interviewing me) will be boiled down to about 3-4 minutes for the show.

(More pictures from the day here.)


Awesome. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. It's great to see this story is still getting some traction, too.


PS - When do we get the post on the footprint of this 12 hours of filming? ;-)

Just three to four minutes? Really?

Sounds funny and odd, I like it. I think you are photogenic enough to work well on camera, and can't wait to see the result.

This hamburger thing is great, but it would be cool if you were able to come up with another hook of some sort to popularize yourself... (existential risk maybe? ;) because this is a wave that you can potentially ride for a long time.

One more thing: I know that your flickr photostream consists of you taking pictures with a camera mostly, but keep in mind that we mainly look at it probably with the expectation of seeing pictures of YOU, Jamais Cascio, on it! So maybe you should hand the camera to people around you a little more often. Give the people what they want, y'know? :)

Too cool, Jamais! It appears that the show's producers are taking a comedic approach for your segment while still getting the basic message across. Hey, if it works for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, why not for National Geographic!

How does it feel, Jamais? A little surreal, very important, surprising...? This looks like a meme catching hold, and I'm curious if you've got observations from the inside about how the process works.


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