You know how Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) famously ran up the stairs at The Philadelphia Museum of Art? Well, it turns out that Sly's heroic run and fist pump has a fun back story, inspired by an inventor and his future wife. When the couple were shooting a test reel for the inventor's latest invention – the world's first Steadicam – his then girlfriend did a light jog down and back up those stairs. When the test reel hit Hollywood, Stallone and his team took notice of the smooth movements that the invention provided. Only a few months later, they tapped Brown to shoot the same scene with his secret invention, but this time with Rocky framed through the lens. The result: the Steadicam became an indutstry staple, and the Art Museum's steps became the must-see (and must reenact) setting for nearly all Philly-bound tourists.
Last night at NextFab (Philly's biggest makerspace), Garrett Brown – one of the more prolific and accomplished inventors of our time – shared his extraordinary journey with a roomful of excited onlookers. The inventor of the Steadicam, SkyCam, DiveCam and many more, Brown inspired with stories, images and video clips showing his incredible journey. Told with humility, humor and grace, Brown's story kept the audience smiling, laughing and engaged throughout the night.
It was one of the most inspiring stories of invention that I have heard. I couldn't help but feel like the world is full of possibility and wonder. Whether he was showing scenes from his work with movies like "Rocky", "Return of the Jedi" and "The Shining" or he was talking about his long-time work with our mutual friend, Tony Sacksteder, Brown made it abundantly clear that he has had a lot of fun along the way.
I was thrilled to be in attendance, fielding questions, then later talking with him in-person. What a wonderful night!