<< Portico: Getting Discovered

9/14/2005

Getting Discovered

I spent most of today with a camera and production crew for the new Discovery Channel show Dr. Know. It's sort of a medical version of Mythbusters. I was chosen to represent the typical heavy computer user; someone who spends a lot of time starting at a monitor, and who is known to play games for hours at a time without much rest. The idea was to find out if prolonged exposure to monitors (or televisions) could do harm to the human eye.

The crew and staff were very professional TV people, but I think I learned more about television production than I should have if I ever wanted to see the industry as some sort of magic.

First, they weren't really that interested in capturing the real me. The science is the star of the show. I was just a prop. My responses weren't scripted, but I was prodded to do things with and at my computer that I never would in real life. Any gamer who sees the episode (sometime in 2006) will notice them immediately. I put up a bit of a fight when they wanted to see me pretend to use the computer in the bathroom, but, they reminded me, they want to keep the show light and a little exaggeration makes the point better than me holding forth about my regular habits.

Second, television production is boring. It was to me at least. Take after take after take. Look here, don't look there. We went to an opthamologist's office and I spent most of the time sitting reading magazines, since I was only needed for a couple of brief shots.

In short, the whole day will be edited down to a few minutes. I knew this was likely. I'm no pollyanna. So why do it? I was asked to. My day was free. I haven't been on TV since my high school quiz team a decade and a half ago. Mostly, I thought it would be interesting to see how these light science programs are made.

I'll let you all know when the episode airs.

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