So, my latest foray into television documentary land premiered on May 10. For my co-host and expedition buddy, Steve Arnold, the Meteorite Men debut was the culmination of almost seventeen months of work. We have done a lot of other television—Discovery Channel, Wired Science for PBS, Cash & Treasures for The Travel Channel, Naked Earth for National Geographic, and so on—but this was a first for us, our very own big budget one-hour special, devoted almost entirely to our favorite topic: scouring the earth’s surface for fallen space rocks. And there was some hard science and gemology thrown in for good measure.
Filming "Meteorite Men" on location in Kansas
The ratings were good, and Science Channel has now aired the pilot about 15 times. Once or twice, I turned on the TV just to watch the opening credits. It is fun and slightly disorienting to see yourself live on the box. Well, I say I was only going to watch the opening credits, but don’t you know, I ended up sitting there and watching the whole thing over again anyway. I found it difficult to turn off my own show and go do something else.
That one-hour episode had always been intended as a pilot. Since it was was well received we hope more episodes will follow. In fact, I receive emails or phone calls from my friends, colleagues, and customers, pretty much daily, along the lines of: “Any news about the show?”
Looking for weird stuff in weird places. It's what we do. Camo is optional.
Quality adventure television is complicated, time consuming, and expensive to produce. Although I’ve been involved in similar projects in the past, I was amazed by the attention to detail and the level of perfectionism demonstrated by our production company, LMNO, through the long months of development. I am a perfectionist, and I do appreciate that quality in others.
What will happen if Meteorite Men goes to series? Well, Steve and I will have to come up with a super-secret list of places where we can go and hopefully find meteorites. Actually, we have already compiled such a thing and believe me a lot of people want to know what is on that list.
The trick is to pick sites that are interesting in terms of geography, scenery, or history (or all three), where we also have a decent chance of finding space rocks. As Steve is fond of saying: “You can’t go to the meteorite hunting aisle of your favorite mega-mart” to get that kind of information. We have to figure it out on our own, using knowledge accumulated through years of research and adventuring.
In order to maximize our production budget and “put every dollar up on the screen,” as some TV and movie makers like to say, we may take Meteorite Men on the road, and film a series of episodes back-to-back. That would cut down on all kinds of expenses, including air fares, vehicle rentals, and travel days for the crew.
So, here comes the question: If such a thing were to happen, would the Logical Lizard’s esteemed readers enjoy an exclusive “on the road” account of the making of a TV adventure series? Speak up please!
Photographs by Geoffrey Notkin and Caroline Palmer © Aerolite Meteorites. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission.