MAKE:television invited GeekDad to their premiere event in Minnesota this week. GeekDad John and I played with some of the projects they built on the air, met the host, John Park and got a preview of the series. It was a fun evening and a fitting start to a great program.
MAKE, the magazine, is dedicated to developing a culture of, well, Makers, people who create gadgets, art and whatever strikes their fancy. The TV DIY genre is littered with shows pushing products you’ll never buy and building things no one wants. MAKE:television tries to remain accessible to a wide range of viewers. It distinctly encourages people to try the projects at home and posts the instructions on the web to nudge even the least tinker-talented to attempt a project.
John Park has contributed regularly to the magazine and has been guiding his own kids in the GeekDad way. He hosts the show in the same friendly way he greeted John and I. Marathon shooting sessions in Minnesota exploded burritos all over the workshop and drew blood during the filming of the cigar box guitar segment. There’s minimal product placement, unless PVC is a brand. The average viewer can probably afford to build most of what they make.
Along the way, they introduce viewers to some hugely talented Makers, from Ted Goessling’s french fry cannon and William Gurstelles ballistic handiwork to the Steampunk gospel according to Jake von Slatt. I previewed several episodes, but viewing clips with an audience made me appreciate the humor in the show. The Maker Channel clip we watched with Junji Koyama amazed the audience. I know my kids would rather play a tune on their vegetables than eat them most of the time. The producers resisted making freaks out of the Makers, allowing their creativity to come through.
So, if you are already actively making, you can catch the show for a few tips and techniques. If you’ve considered yourself allergic to power tools, it just might cause you to rethink your tinkering skills and start that trebuchet. Try your local PBS station or look for one of the ubiquitous webby options.
Thanks to Nick and Heidi at TPT for inviting us, to Dale Dougherty and John Park from Make for sharing their vision with us and Robert Stephens of Geek Squad for sponsoring season one and giving me the phrase "Minnesota is the Russia of America"