CLAYMAKER, COSMOS, AND TEAMWORK

I’ve always been fascinated by outer space.  Even the language used to describe it – the final frontier, the great beyond, the cosmos, an endless expanse of sparkling planets and stars, celestial bodies – inspires me.  And when I think about how, for now, it is only here on Earth where a harmonious unity of water and light can sustain life, the wonder and mystery of outer space become that much greater.

MOVIES AND THE MOVING COSMOS

Given this curiosity–which I can trace back as early as first grade when I first learned about the Apollo missions and the science that put man on the moon–it probably comes as no surprise that movies about outer space and its perils are a huge source of inspiration for me.  InterstellarThe MartianApollo 13, and Gravity: these films all portray the hostile vacuum that surrounds our relatively meager planet.  They are a sobering reminder that our existence is infinitesimal in space and time.  They perpetuate the curiosity in our children for a future generation’s exploration into the great unknown.  And of most importance to me, they depict hallowed teamwork and individual perseverance.

And again, brilliance is within reach when the team works together.

— Clay Greenhaw, CEO

THE CONTROLLING IDEA

In Apollo 13, a moon-bound spacecraft suffers catastrophic disaster: 200,000 miles from Earth, an explosion leaves three astronauts with a loss of electric power and limited life support to return home from Earth.  Faced with unprecedented odds, Flight Director Gene Krantz and Commander Jim Lovell demonstrate true, visionary leadership and work with their crews and teams of scientists to safely return home.  The astronauts’ unwavering will to survive and the mission control’s refusal to fail in adversity are truly out of this world.  When the crew of the “failed” Apollo 13 mission does safely return home, it chokes me up every time.  A team of countless individuals worked together against the clock and the odds to use the Lunar Module as a life raft and then invented carbon dioxide filters and power-up procedures to return the crippled Command Module.  It’s no wonder that Gene Krantz collapses into his chair and sheds a tear when the ship finally deploys its parachutes and splashes down – brilliant performance by Ed Harris, I might add.  I think the controlling idea of this film is that you can achieve brilliance when you work together.

WORKING TOGETHER AT CLAYMAKER

I work in live television with crews of 50-80 people, and again, working together is paramount to achieving success.  Obviously we’re not working to save the lives of presumed hopeless astronauts, but we are working together. Collective perseverance is what sees us through to our final destination.

I think for me, a broadcast control room channels NASA vibes: smart and dedicated people, lots of gadgets and gizmos and a mission to complete.  It brings me back to childhood memories of exploring space.  And again, brilliance is within reach when the team works together.