Bran Ferren has spent four years and millions of dollars constructing the most audacious exploration vehicle ever built. Its mission: Take his 4-year-old daughter camping.
It’s a late-summer afternoon, and Ferren—celebrated inventor, technologist, former head of research and development for Disney’s Imagineering department—is sitting inside a guesthouse-slash-storage facility on his ample East Hampton, New York, spread, drinking his third or fourth Diet Coke of the day. He’s 61 years old and towering, with a wily-looking red-gray beard and dressed in his everyday uniform of khaki pants, sneakers, and a billowy polo shirt. Ferren is the cofounder and chief creative officer of Applied Minds, a world-renowned tech and design firm whose on-the-record customer list includes General Motors, Intel, and the US Air Force; before that he worked on everything from Broadway shows to theme park rides.
PUBLISHED: April 7, 2014
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4546 words)
[Not single-page] An oral history of the TV show "Cheers":
Danson: I'll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley and Rhea were carrying that week's episode, and the guys were just, 'Let's play hooky.' We'd never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, 'You want to try some mushrooms?' I'd never had them, so I'm handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George, and every sixty seconds or so he'd poke me and go, 'Breathe.' [gasp] And I'd come back to life.
Harrelson: I was a little worried about him. It looked like his face was melting. I think I may have been freaking a little myself, but I had to be cool about it.
Wendt: We got into serious trouble for that. I think we thought Jimmy and Les and Glen would have more of a sense of humor about it. We did it because Ted was doing it. He's sort of a reluctant leader. He didn't try to flex his influence. He's just eminently followable.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 27, 2012
LENGTH: 47 minutes (11853 words)
Harmon calls his circles embryos—they contain all the elements needed for a satisfying story—and he uses them to map out nearly every turn on , from throwaway gags to entire seasons. If a plot doesn’t follow these steps, the embryo is invalid, and he starts over. To this day, Harmon still studies each film and TV show he watches, searching for his algorithm underneath, checking to see if the theory is airtight. “I can’t not see that circle,” he says. “It’s tattooed on my brain.”
PUBLISHED: Sept. 22, 2011
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3446 words)
The rules dictated when and where Scott Adams, the chief engineer of the Dilbert comic empire, was allowed to speak. He could neither control them nor predict exactly when they'd go into effect. All he knew was that he'd woken up one morning and found that his voice had turned against him, imposing a set of bizarre restrictions.
PUBLISHED: July 20, 2009
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4762 words)