The Carl Sagan Tribute Series was not, in any sense of the word, planned. Before delving into the exhilarating journey that is Carl’s book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, I stumbled upon the audio-book version. I was thrilled to find that, for a good portion of the book, Carl narrated it himself. I later discovered a breathtaking video, transforming one of the chapters into a video, music and all. But it wasn’t until I came upon Michael Marantz’s wonderful rendition of the closing chapter that I became truly motivated to make one of my own.
I started working on “A Universe Not Made For Us” and, as is often the case when I am motivated to do something, it became a mild obsession until it was, in my mind, absolutely perfect. The process of making my videos is as follows:
- Select a chapter to use, listen to and read the chapter a number of times, mentally noting excerpts to include and excerpts to cut out;
- Begin trimming down the chapter to around 10 minutes, ensuring a consistent narrative and content for which I will be able to find matching imagery;
- Look for and overlay music which fits not only the tone of Carl’s voice, but the content of the chapter as well;
- Export the voice and music to MP3 format, and listen to it over and over again and mentally note imagery that will fit with each part;
- Begin compiling and overlaying imagery and finally turning it into a video;
- Watch the video a number of times, employ the services of my family and friends for feedback (THANK YOU!); and
- Implement any last-minute changes and post online!
As you can tell, it takes a lot of work to prepare each video, using such a meticulous process. The hard work is, however, entirely worth it knowing that I have been able to touch so many people with Carl’s work. As I’m sure is the case with many people, Carl changed my life, so anything I can do to evangelize, so to speak, Carl’s work and, more generally, the scientific enterprise is well worth it.
I didn’t expect to get anywhere near the reaction I did to A Universe Not Made For Us. It was beyond my wildest dreams that the video would exceed 100,000 views. Though, on further reflection, I shouldn’t have been so surprised - it is a testament to Carl’s unique and wonderful way of conveying the wonder and beauty of the natural world.
The outpouring of support resulting from my first video led me to create the second, Consider Again That Pale Blue Dot. While this video didn’t quite reach the viral status of the first, I was still thrilled that it was still able to touch so many people. It wasn’t until I began producing the third video that I decided to make it a series. I will continue the series until I have run out of the content from which I make the videos - so don’t worry about me disappearing. For as long as people watch the videos, I will continue making them.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this project. It warms my heart to know that there are so many kind souls out there who appreciate the true beauty that is Carl’s work and the magnificently wonderful natural world we are so lucky to be a part of.