Man behind the myth

Hyneman appeals to wide array of students with special effects discussion

One of television’s most popular special effects experts visited campus yesterday to talk to Marquette students about testing age-old myths by using elements of technology and science.

Jamie Hyneman, the star of the acclaimed Discovery Channel series “Mythbusters,” came to Marquette to talk about what it’s like to be a Mythbuster. Hyneman has expertise in special effects, robotics and machinery construction.

The event drew over 500 students to the Weasler Auditorium.

Hyneman, who has worked on special effects in over 800 commercials and dozens of films, told students how creating a fighting robot in the early days of “Robot Wars” and “BattleBots” gained him recognition in the television and film industry.

Soon after, an Australian television producer approached Hyneman to work on a show about testing urban legends. “Mythbusters” began airing on Discovery Channel soon after.

Aside from speaking about comical mythbusting incidents, Hyneman spoke to students about finding a career they love.

“Do you ever ask yourself, ‘What is it that I really want to do? Do I want to do something that’s fun?’” Hyneman said. “Why wouldn’t you want to pick something fun to make a living off?”

Hyneman said there is no end in sight for the show, which has taped more than 170 episodes. He and and co-host Adam Savage never have writer’s block “because we are so busy fighting each other,” Hyneman said.

“We’ll run out of myths when people stop believing stupid stuff,” he said.

Matt Brennan, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, came to the Weasler Monday night excited to see Hyneman’s presentation.

“I am a huge fan of the show. I watch it all the time,” he said. “When I saw that he was coming to speak here I really wanted to see him and learn about how and why he got enthralled in science, special effects, and ultimately how he got a vision of his — ‘Mythbusters’ on the air.”

Some students, like Rob DiMare, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, came to see Hyneman’s presentation for class credit.

“Although I had to come here to see a speaker for a class, I’m a really big fan of the Discovery Channel, so you could say I’m killing two birds with one stone,” DiMare said. “I’m really interested in hearing about how Jamie goes about solving myths.”

Hyneman also brought a special treat for the audience members- a video he referred to as “explosion porn.”

The video contained never before seen footage from “Mythbusters,” as well as slow-motion footage of some of the show’s most infamous explosions.

Marquette Student Government selected Hyneman to speak because of how popular “Mythbusters” has been among young adults and college students.

“He seemed like an obvious choice because he simply appeals to everyone,” said MUSG Speakers Commissioner Jessica Herrick, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Herrick said Hyneman’s presentation also had appeal to upperclassmen males and students in science fields, who may not attend as many on-campus programs as other students.

Since its introduction in 2003, “Mythbusters” has become an international success, with broadcasts in 140 countries. The show is currently in its eighth season.