ORIGINS OF THE METEORITE MEN
After appearing in numerous
one-off meteorite hunting television shows for PBS, Discovery
Channel, the History Channel, the Travel Channel and others, long
time friends and expedition partners Geoff Notkin, science writer
and owner of Aerolite Meteorites, and world famous meteorite hunter
Steve Arnold were eager to take their unique blend of adventure,
science, and humor to a wider audience.
During the winter of 2007 Steve and Geoff were contacted by Ruth
Rivin, executive producer at prominent production company LMNO,
in Los Angeles, California to ask if they would be interested
in pursuing a television series idea. After a few months of talks,
producer Elizabeth Meeker flew to Tucson for a one-day desert
shoot with Steve and Geoff in February, 2008. The resulting demo
reel landed the Meteorite Men and LMNO owner Eric Schotz an invitation
to fly to Washington, D.C. and meet with senior executives at
some of the world's top cable networks. Steve and Geoff turned
up in the lobby of the Discovery building in full field gear,
and carrying a backpack containing ten thousand dollars' worth
of meteorites. It was quite the show-and-tell.
METEORITE MEN PILOT
The Science Channel liked what they saw and ordered a one-hour
special. Both LMNO and the Meteorite Men wanted to create something
outstanding, so the best possible team was assembled to make a
riveting adventure show. Veteran TV producer Bob Melisso was brought
on board to work full time on the project. Randall Love, a cinematographer
of exceptional talent and experience who has worked for Lucas
films, Disney, Pixar, the BBC, and HBO among others was hired
as Director of Photography.
LOCATION IN KANSAS AND ARIZONA
After months of pre-production, shooting was set to commence in
late September. Bad weather at the Kansas location forced a last-minute
reschedule, and the entire crew stayed a heartbeat ahead of appalling
weather all through the week of shooting. Primary location work
was completed at the Brenham strewnfield in Kiowa County, Kansas,
in addition to a top secret location where the Meteorite Men have
been working for the past couple of years.
With three 4WD trucks, two ATVs, two giant metal detectors and
enough other assorted hunting equipment to keep a small army occupied,
the Meteorite Men covered hundreds of acres of ground and filmed
in plowed fields, forests, rolling hillsides, abandoned farms,
on unmarked dirt roads and in howling Kansas winds. Elizabeth
Meeker returned to work with the team, as did jib operator Scott
Jolley, who had worked with the Meteorite Men on an earlier shoot
for the Discovery Channel. With three cameras in operation, every
detail of the Meteorite Men's hunt for space rocks was captured
in high definition.
The cast and crew worked long days. With the threat of bad weather
always present, the team wanted to make the most of every day.
Most mornings everyone was on location before sunrise, and were
still filming as the sun began to disappear behind low Kansas
hills each evening.
VISITING THE METEORITE COLLECTION
AT ASU, TEMPE
Additional shooting took place at the Center for Meteorite Studies
at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, in the company of
expert meteoriticists Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa and Dr. Laurence Garvie.
Steve and Geoff drove some of their finds to ASU where they were
examined by the top academics, and in some of the most amusing
segments in the show, Geoff and Steve get to explore ASU's famous
collection room—just like two kids in a candy store. They
also got to play with the multi-million dollar Ion Beams for Analysis
of Materials (IBeAM) equipment in ASU's underground warren of
state-of-the-art labs. The IBeAM bombards specimens with accelerated
ions to determine their chemical composition. Steve and Geoff
were not very surprised to learn that they had found real
meteorites during the shoot!
Post production work continued through the winter of 2008 and
well into 2009. Steve and Geoff supplied a wealth of personal
photos, maps and documents from their personal archives to add
detail to the show. When the crew returned home after the final
shoot, they had to sort through over seventy-five hours of footage,
and somehow edit it all down into a one-hour show. The debut of
the Meteorite Men pilot was May 10, 2009.
MEN SEASON ONE
After the success of the one-hour pilot, Science Channel commissioned
six new one-hour Meteorite Men episodes from LMNO Productions.
Primary location shooting was completed in November of 2009 and
the new season premiered on January 20, 2010. Season One consists
of six one-hour episodes; five were filmed in the USA and one
in Canada. TV veteran Kathy Williamson joined the team as Executive
Producer at LMNO, and directed three of the episodes; the other
three were directed by Bob Melisso.
Season One locations included the Odessa meteorite crater in
Texas, the famous Gold Basin strewnfield in northern Arizona,
Whitecourt crater and Buzzard Coulee in Canada, and a search for
the legendary Tucson Ring meteorite, as well as a visit to the
world famous Tucson gem and mineral show. Science segments were
filmed at ASU Tempe with Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa and Dr. Laurence
Garvie; at UCLA with Dr. Alan Rubin; and at the University of
Alberta in Edmonton with Dr. Chris Herd.
Season One of Meteorite Men won a Telly Award.
MEN SEASON TWO
Season One of Meteorite Men won a 2010 Telly Award in
the documentary category, was described by the media as "a
hit series," and in the spring of 2010, Science Channel ordered
eight new one-hour episodes. Season Two dramatically raised the
bar, with Steve and Geoff traveling 65,000 miles to hunt for meteorites
on four continents. Season Two features exotic and challenging
destinations such as Chile's Atacama Desert, the Australian Outback,
and Sweden's Muonionalusta strewnfield, north of the Arctic Circle.
Paul Teutel Sr. and the motorcycle crew at Orange County Choppers
designed and built a spectacular off-road bike for the Meteorite
Men and it was featured in several episodes. Season Two of Meteorite
Men premiered on November 2, 2010 on Science Channel and
has also aired overseas.
Season Two of Meteorite Men won a second Telly Award.
MEN SEASON THREE
Season Three of Meteorite Men premiered on Science Channel
in the USA on November 28, 2011. The amazing all-terrain, amphibious
Hyrdratrek Rockhound returned, and the Meteorite Men
unveiled The Mule, their tough go-anywhere special expedition
vehicle [pictured at left].
Emmy Award-winning cameraman Per Larsson came on board as director
of photography for the third season, and the guys had the opportunity
to revisit a couple of their favorite locations, including Whitecourt
Crater in Canada, and the ancient Muonionalusta strewnfield, north
of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. They also broke new ground in
Russia, and Poland and trekked across some of America's most spectacular
scenery in search of remarkable space rocks.
Meteorite Men continues to air in new markets around
the world and has been seen by millions of viewers in the United
States, Canada, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Sweden,
Norway, Germany, Poland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific
Rim and many other countries.
Steve and Geoff continue to work together any make numerous public
appearances each year. Together or individually, they have appeared
as keynote speakers at the Northewast Astronomy Forum, NewSpace
for the Space Frontier Foundation, Stellafane, National Metal
Detector Day and at many other events. Geoff is currently starring
in the educational TV series Stem
Journals and new adventures await!
Geoff Notkin of Meteorite Men is an award-winning author
and columnist and his books Meteorite Hunting: How
to Find Treasure from Space and Rock
Star: Adventures of a Meteorite Man capture his
lifelong fascinationg with meteorites and Meteorite Men's long
and amazing career. Order both books safely and easily from our
Meteorite Men shop.