Daily Dragon: Do you have any favorite science fiction or fantasy?
Tory Belleci: Star Wars!
Grant Imahara: Yeah!
GI: Oh yeah! It’s a Russian series.
TB: It’s a three part film. There’s Nightwatch, Daywatch, and I forget what the last one is called. It’s vampires, it’s science fiction, and it’s probably one of the coolest Russian films I’ve seen in a long time.
Kari Byron: I’ll have to check that out.
GI: It’s really really well done.
KB: I kinda want to be Ultra Violet. She changes her hair all the time. I wanna do that!
TB: What do you mean? You do! [laughs]
GI: I’ve got an old-school one that’s not mainstream: Salvage One . Not a lot of people know it. Andy Griffith and his family build a spaceship out of junk …
GI: … and go to the moon. Yeah, it’s amazing.
KB: How long did that last?
GI: Not long. But really good and not a lot of people know it. When I say Salvage One and people do know it, they’re like “I thought I was the only one who that remembered that!”
TB: What about Red Dwarf (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094535/)? That is so good! It’s English so it doesn’t play here, but on PBS, that’s where I go to see it. Man, the writing on that show was so excellent, but then they tried to do it here in America and they changed The Cat. It was like …
KB: Yeah …
TB: … you ruined it!
KB: Well, I know it’s probably too popular an answer, but I like X-Men.
GI: Movies, comics or cartoons?
KB: Cartoons. I like the cartoon. We have an experiment where we’re growing plants, and I named one of my plants Dr. Jean Grey.
DD: What made you decide to come to Dragon*Con?
GI: Well, it’s a great chance to really connect with our fans. In our hometown of San Francisco, people are like “Oh. Mythbusters. Whatever.”
KB: “Nobody watches TV.”
TB: “I don’t even have a TV.”
GI: But here, everyone is like so into it. It’s really tremendous fun.
KB: It’s good for collection ideas too. There are a lot of people who have myths they want, and we go home with our notebooks full.
DD: Do people just come up to you with ideas?
TB: Usually when they come up to the table. Like this one guy. Apparently he has a car that runs on water, and I’m like “Uh, ok!” [laugh]
GI: He started showing me the schematics. There are some people who come up to the table and they’re like really passionate it. “I have this, and I think you need to see it!” Sometimes it gets a little scary. At another con we were at, somebody brought me a baggie of poison ivy …
KB: And poison oak.
GI: … And poison oak, because he felt that on our show, we didn’t really see the difference between the two. So he brought me this baggie and said “Here. This is for you! It’s fresh. As of Tuesday.”
KB: That was crazy!
TB: [miming] Grant started rubbing it all over his body!
DD: What sort of trouble did you get into at school?
KB: I was a pretty good girl. I was, believe it or not, extraordinarily shy. I’d used to walk to school looking at the ground the whole time and wait for the other girls to invite me to walk with them. I’d walk across the street, just waiting for them to do that. I was not an outgoing person. I don’t know how all of this happened.
DD: Well, there’s the difference between not doing anything and not getting caught.
KB: Well, if that’s the case …
GI: Oh yeah …
KB: … I have a little sister. [chuckles] Yeah, I have a little sister. I tortured her quite a bit.
GI: I was a pretty boring kid, a pretty straight arrow. I didn’t test the boundaries that way. I think I’m making up for lost time now.
KB: I made a stuffed dummy of a person and put it on a teacher’s car and videotaped their reaction, because they thought it was a homeless person. I played a lot of practical jokes.
GI: Actually, you know, when I was really little, like under 8, then I did a lot of scientific experiments, because that’s when science is new and you’re just learning how to use tools. I used to burn ants with a magnifying glass and set fires. I did one electromagnetic experiment where I tried to create a really large electro-magnetic magnet. So you take all the furniture and you push it out of the way, just in case everything gets sucked into the center of the room when you put the magnet in there.
GI: I guess the wire that I had wasn’t insulated, and so once I plugged it in, big flash, a huge sound, and yeah, burned a hole in the floor.
GI: So, I waited many many years before I tried another electro-magnetic experiment.
KB: Well, you didn’t get into trouble over it, but tell them about your inspiration, your grandfather.
GI: Oh yeah! My grandfather was one of those guys who are like a jack of all trades. He was like a cook and a gardener, mechanic. He’d sit around the house and wait for things to break. “Toaster? I got it!” Then we’d disappear into the garage with the toaster. He had one of those garages with all the nuts and bolts everywhere, just like Jamie’s shop, actually.
KB: I can just see little Grant Imahara with his grandfather …
GI: And yeah, then he’d like [makes motions of fiddling] and somehow get it working again.
KB: So cute! [laughs]
TB: We used to do this thing at night where we’d pour gasoline across the street, and then when an oncoming car would come, we’d light it, and there’d be like a 2-foot or 3-foot wall of flame, and the people would freak out, and they’d just like [makes swerving motions and noises].
KB: Ya think? So yeah. There’s the trouble!
GI: Tory is the designated troublemaker on this team! That explains a lot.
DD: What are the worst jobs you guys have ever had?
KB: Um, processing. Serving evictions.
GI: Is that like a bounty hunter?
KB: Sort of. It paid really well, and nobody expected me, because I was a little girl. One guy chased me out with a gun, and I was done. It was a horrible job. You know, you do what you can to make a living, but that’s not worth it.
TB: I think my worst job was probably when I worked for a hotdog stand in Golden Gate Park …
TB: … for a day.
TB: I was there, and the guy was showing me the ropes, and he was really serious about it: “You gotta make sure you’re doing the buns right, and you make sure that your dogs are cooked!” The girls would walk by: “Oh! Look at the talent! There’s a pretty good view here!” and I was just like “What am I doing?” It was like one day, and I was just “You know what, I don’t think this is going to work out for me.
GI: I’ve had a pretty good string of different jobs, working on the model shop. I used to do a lot of office jobs in college, like work-study, but I think Mythbusters is the best and the worst job I’ve ever had.
KB: Good answer!
GI: On the other jobs, I didn’t have to smell anybody’s feet, or breath. I didn’t have to vomit in front of a lot of people.
KB: There’s a lot of pressure on this job. It can get really stressful.
GI: Adam said, when I first started, “There is no dignity in television.” Once you realize that, it gets a lot more fun.
KB: I think that’s the back of our next t-shirt: “There is no dignity in television” [laughs]
DD: How has the model building on projects like Star Wars helped you with Mythbusters?
TB: Well, at ILM they’d just come to you, and give you a drawing or an idea and just send you off to go do it. There weren’t any micromanagers going “Do it like this! Do it like that!” so for me, it just taught me how to really figure stuff out. They just hand you something, and you’re like “There’s just no way I can build this. I have no idea how to build this.” You just slowly figure it out. That was a good training ground at ILM on how to think for yourself, how to solve problems and build whatever they ask you to build.
GI: I had the electronics going in, but I learned the mechanics at ILM. They had machinists who had been working there for 25 years, all the way back to Howard the Duck. I’d say “How do I do this?” and they’d say [slow, gravelly voice] “Oh, well, here you go, Grant. You just do like this.”
GI: [laughs] Yeah, they talked like that. “Aw. You don’t wanna to it that way.” Over the years, I gained experience with mechanical design and machining and built my entire robot on all the equipment we had at ILM. It was like on-the-job training, and I use that today.
TB: The hours he’d spend in his shop after work! There’d be like a group of model-makers building robots for the wars, and it was the last week until the finals. There’d be all these model makers trying to finish their robots.
GI: There’d be more work going on in the shop after hours than during business hours!
DD: Now that you’re logging more camera time, are you getting recognized when you go out in public?
KB: Mostly at times when I’m in hardware stores. I don’t know why hardware stores. Hardware stores and airports.
TB: One of the cooler things was one night I was with a bunch of friends and we were going to this club, and they were meeting me there, and they couldn’t get in. I walked up and the bouncer was all “Hey Tory! From Mythbusters! They’re with you? Ok, you can all go in.”
TB: My friends are all looking at me like “Who are you?” and I’m like “Yeah! Who am I?”
TB: That was one of the cooler moments.
KB: I had a pizza boy hug me once. Scared the heck outta me! He was like “[gasp!]” He put the pizza down and grabbed me and I was like “Aaahh!”.
GI: I’ve had pizza guys go “You work on Mythbusters!” “Yeah.” “I watch your show every day!” although we’re not on every day!
KB: I think we are now.
TB: Are we?
GI: Kari and I were in an airport once, and we’re sitting there having something to eat. People were coming up to us and saying “Oh, we really like the show” and asking for autographs and taking pictures. There was this guy standing off to the side, watching all of this. He comes up to us and says “You know, I don’t know exactly who you are, but apparently you’re famous. Are you rock stars, or tennis players?” We were like “Rock stars?”
KB: Uh … yeah! [laughs] I liked the rock star/tennis player link. [laughs]
KB: That’s the look we had going that day.
DD: Tory mentioned yesterday that his IMDB profile was incorrect.
GI: Hijacked? Yes!
DD: Have you had similar issues with that?
KB: Oh, yeah! I’ve got so many imposters on MySpace. I think IMDB said I’m like 5’9”. Not true!
GI: Yeah, my profile has been hijacked. I didn’t lose to David Hasselhoff as sexiest man in America. I did not play at ewok, but it’s so hard to get that stuff changed! They don’t believe you. And yet somehow, someone was able to hijack it and put all this other stuff up there.
KB: I know! I don’t really read that stuff as much any more because it infuriates me that someone has taken the time to try and screw me up. It’s just better not to know.
DD: Who gets the most fan mail?
GI, TB: Kari [pointing]
GI: We’ll be doing safety meetings and while we’re supposed to be listening, Kari will be autographing card after autograph card.
KB: Mostly to prisons and army.
GI: And Boy Scouts.
KB: I get a LOT of prison letters!
DD: Do you have any projects outside of Mythbusters?
GI: Uh, maybe … [laughs] I do electronics consulting on the side.
KB: I have a clandestine project that you will find out about later.
TB: I have some TV scifi shows that I’m trying to pitch, some scripts I’m trying to make, some features.
GI: Yeah, Tory and I want to create the All-Ninja Channel: All Ninjas, All the Time!
TB: You heard that here first! It’s an exclusive!
KB: All the pirate people are going to be mad now.
GI: That’s ok.
TB: I don’t care about the pirates.
TB: I like ninjas!
KB: Well, the pirates can come talk to me!
GI: By the time you see the ninjas it’s too late!
KB: Yeah, but the pirates have better whiskey!
TB: That’s the thing. If you wait long enough, they’ll be drunk and they won’t be able to get you.
KB: Actually, my job right before Mythbusters, I was the Johnny Walker spokesmodel in San Francisco, so I’ve got a taste for the Scotch. I can actually taste it and probably tell you what part of the country it came from.
DD: Any future plans for coming to Dragon*Con?
GI: Sure, if they’ll have us back.
KB: Yeah. But next time I might drive here. That air flight was a bit of a nightmare.
DD: Any favorite charities or organizations you’d like to Dragon*Con goers to know about?
TB: Habitat for Humanity (https://www.habitat.org/).
KB: I don’t have one in particular. I’m pretty across the board.
GI: I mentor a team of high school students in robotics. They’re in a very tough inner-city area. That is what I try to do, to give back a little.
KB: If anything, I’d say I focus on Breast Cancer Research. I’ve had a lot of close experience with breast cancer victims
DD: Any final words for Dragon*Con?
KB: Don’t try anything we do at home! We want to stay on the air!
TB: And if you do, don’t blame us!
DD: Thank you for your time, and have a wonderful time here at Dragon*Con.