Forest Gibson: "Going Far Beyond Your Normal Reach"
Forest Gibson is a Seattle-based video producer and filmmaker. Forest and the company that he works for, Cinesaurus, have a knack for producing videos that get shared on the web and social media. Cinesaurus' clients include GAP, YouTube and the online humor network Cheezburger. One of the company’s biggest successes was the parody video released in the summer of 2012, “We’re NASA and We Know It.”
Forest Gibson, director of “We’re NASA and We Know It,” was one of those kids who was really into exploring space. He watched all the "Star Wars" movies, followed the adventures of Captain Picard and the Starship Enterprise, and admired the stories of that motley crew of space explorers on the sci-fi series "Firefly." Just like their TV and movie heroes, Forest and his lawyer father aimed for the stars.
Lots of homemade missions began on the Gibson’s neighborhood launch pad in Yakima, Washington. Forest loved watching the rockets he made fly up into the skies. He describes it as “this kind of awe of making something going far beyond your normal reach.”
But when Forest’s middle-school-math skills weren’t up to NASA standards, he put his astronaut dreams aside and became a filmmaker instead.
Along with launching rockets, Forest also loved to take pictures of his toys and make stop-action videos out of the images. He was the "video guy" in high school, always recruiting friends to make short movies. In college he organized festivals featuring short films.
Last summer, when the NASA Curiosity rover landed on Mars Forest rounded up a group of friends and made the parody music video “We’re NASA and We Know It.” Forest and his team put the video together in the week following the Curiosity landing. They made costumes, built sets and shot the video around Seattle’s Westlake Center. The parody video features normally serious NASA scientists and flight controllers singing, dancing and "geeking out" over technical details of the rover mission and NASA traditions.
The video was hugely popular the moment it was released. It’s been viewed by over 2.5 million people on YouTube. The video found its way onto the "Today" show and National Public Radio. NASA even tweeted the video to more than 2 million followers. Forest was ecstatic.
And things got even better when he received an email from NASA telling him astronauts were listening to “We’re NASA and We Know It” while prepping for their spacewalks.
Forest could hardly believe what he was hearing. He might not have made it to space, but his video did. And his relationship with NASA, and with space exploration, doesn’t end with the video.
Forest is now receiving invitations to work with NASA and companies like Planetary Resources, a Seattle-based asteroid mining company. Forest says they want to work with him “in storytelling and making videos and marketing and doing social media — all of these things that are in my background and aren’t traditionally connected with space in any way. It was just mind blowing! It opened my eyes to the possibility I really could be accomplishing my dream.”
This story originally aired on December 17, 2012.