Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hosting Supernatural Investigator

I'm hosting a 17-part half-hour documentary series for Canada's Vision TV entitled Supernatural Investigator. It premieres Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and runs every week until Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

Each week, a different investigator take an open-minded but skeptical look at an intriguing case -- such as the supposed abduction by aliens of Betty and Barney Hill, the mysterious death of Harry Houdini, and the US government's clandestine research into remote viewing.

I was thrilled when the producers asked me to audition for this, and even more thrilled when I got the job -- to my astonishment, beating out some very significant names ... ;)

I spent this past weekend recording my hosting segments (the introduction and farewell for each show). It was two grueling days, but the resulting footage looks fabulous. No static cameras for these guys! We had lots of dolly shots and dramatic lighting.

Director Maurey Loeffler was terrific at making this non-actor feel comfortable, director of photography Kiarash Sadigh gave us an amazing look aided by Blain Thrush and Bart Bialasik, Greg Carson came up with an awesome set, Jason Brown made the lighting look fabulous, William Lam looked after continuity, and Leo Franco was always there as production assistant when we needed him.

Producer/production manager Paul Nandrajog was on top of every detail, Derek Oxley rocked as our sound man, Menaka Mallikage did a great job with the scripts and on teleprompter, and Olga Kirnos was fantastic about attending to my makeup throughout both days.

Five different documentary-production companies across Canada produced the episodes, and the packaging (and my hosting) is being produced by Toronto's Front, whose president, Jeff Rustia, brought the whole thing wonderfully together. Joan Jenkinson from Vision TV was terrifically encouraging as she sat in on the first day of our shoot -- and, of course, Carolyn Clink looked after all sorts of details on the SFWRITER.COM Inc. side of things.

I have a day left to do in a recording studio, laying down narration tracks; three of the 17 episodes have a narrator -- moi.

It's shaping up to be a terrific series, and I'm very proud to be part of it.

See this entry for a link to more photographs from the shoot.

(For anyone who keeps track of such things, this actually wasn't my first TV hosting job. Back in January 2000, Gill Deacon and I cohosted a terrific two-hour documentary for Discovery Channel Canada, entitled Inventing the Future: 2000 Years of Discovery, and these will be my 246th through 262nd television appearances.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



At November 18, 2008 1:23 PM , Blogger Josh said...

Any chance this'll run anywhere in the U.S.?

At November 18, 2008 1:29 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

It's the kind of show that they will try to sell all over the world. I'll post here if I learn of any other markets it will be airing in.

At November 18, 2008 6:34 PM , Blogger Maurey said...

It was a pleasure working with you Robert. You were a natural in front of the camera. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product.

All the best,

At November 18, 2008 7:59 PM , Blogger H Don said...

Be sure to let us know when it's out on DVD.

At November 19, 2008 11:31 AM , Blogger Stephen Kotowych said...

Dude--you're Leonard Nimoy! :)

At November 19, 2008 11:36 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...


Heh heh. Or Arthur C. Clarke. ;)

At November 19, 2008 1:46 PM , Blogger yofed said...

It sounds very interresting... too bad I live in the Maritimes, it is going to be too late for me! *sigh*

And, no, I don't record shows because I end up forgetting about them!

At November 20, 2008 2:48 AM , OpenID WTL said...

Congrats, that's fantastic. What are the viewing options for those of us who cancelled cable? iTunes distribution?

At November 20, 2008 8:12 PM , Blogger TimothyPilgrim said...

I'll be looking for the show, but I have to say the name is unfortunate and so is the network. I'll reserve judgment until I can watch it, but I have the icky feeling that it's not so "open minded" because of those two things. I hope I'm wrong.

At November 20, 2008 8:25 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Why on earth would you have an icky feeling about something you've never seen even one minute of? In other words, Timothy, despite what you just said, you actually haven't reserved judgment. :)

Some of my best TV experiences have been on Vision (and I say this as a guy who has been on just about every major TV show in Canada -- W-Five, Canada AM, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, you name it.

For instance, I've twice been the guy in the hotseat on "Test of Faith" with Valerie Pringle (where someone goes up against three people who want to argue with them).

The first time was about the ethical implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial life, and I was up against one of the Vatican astronomers. The second -- back in 2003, way before the current crop of books on this topic -- was me arguing that organized religion was in fact a great force for evil in the world.

And Vision gave me a full half-hour -- just me, no host or interviewer -- in 2003 on "Credo" to talk about my views about the role of religion in society, atheism, etc. (and they still repeat it with some frequency -- somebody told me they just saw it).

Oh, and I'm on another Vision show this fall, an episode of a series about the future that's devoted to science-fiction's predictions; the interview was absolutely first rate, and very intelligently done.

At November 21, 2008 7:23 AM , Blogger TimothyPilgrim said...

I was most unaware of your prior appearances on Vision Rob. It's just that every time I flip through the channel there is some faith-based program on, or Michael Coren. At least he has added a voice of dissent to his chorus of speakers now.

Like I said, I will reserve judgment until I can see the show, which I think is the wise course of action. It could be that I'll absolutely love the show, and knowing your writings, I feel there is a good chance for that.

Too bad I'll have to wait until the end of January though.

At November 21, 2008 9:31 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

I've been on Michael Coren's show, too, back when CALCULATING GOD came out, and it was a great experience. As I wrote in my journal for that day, "One of the best interviews I've done."

At December 20, 2008 4:09 AM , Blogger Mac said...

Hi! I'm the "investigator" for the "Life on Other Planets" episode, which focuses on astrobiology and SETI. I had no idea you were the host. Very cool!

At December 20, 2008 9:52 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

H, Mac. Yes, indeed! I was very pleased to see that you were involved. :D It looks like it's going to be a grat series!

At January 27, 2009 5:56 AM , Blogger CDM said...

You say you have an "..open-minded but skeptical look..." at the topics. How can you be both? Do your preconceived notions about any of the topics you cover come into play during your investigations?

At January 27, 2009 7:38 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Open-minded: "Having or showing receptiveness to new and different ideas or the opinions of others."

Skeptical [via skepticism]: "A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind."

-- American Heritage English Dictionary

At April 21, 2009 12:56 PM , Blogger Steve said...

Robert - My son and I have enjoyed your books. We're with you too about religion being the worst enemy of humanity. The one episode of Supernatural Investigator I wanted to see but missed was "What Killed Joe Fisher". I'm trying to find it to watch but no luck yet. I believe therein lies the answers to everything else, including aliens. I put up 5 videos about this on Myspace http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.viewVideos&channelid=124452154


Post a Comment

<< Home