An interview on Making with

Brent Bushnell & Eric Gradman

CEO and CTO (co-founders), Two Bit Circus

About Brent

Brent Bushnell is the CEO of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based experiential entertainment company. Most recently the team launched STEAM Carnival, a modern re-imagining of the midway to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering, art and math. Previously he was the on-camera inventor for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He was a founding member of Syyn Labs, a creative collective combining art and engineering to create high engagement for large brands and bands including Google, Disney and responsible for the viral hit Rube Goldberg music video for OK Go that garnered 40 million views on YouTube. In his spare time, Brent mentors teens in game development and entrepreneurship via programs such as Spark and NFTE. He publishes at and @brentbushnell Eric Gradman is an inventor & entertainer who makes others see technology as magic. He has a colorful history as a circus performer, professional whistler & roboticist. For 15 years he has designed and built cutting-edge technology products including 3d-touch displays, virtual reality systems, satellite control systems, intelligent robots, concept cars, assistive devices, and crazy games that will blow your mind. He is at the forefront of a revolution in personal manufacturing tools that make inventing accessible to all. He is cofounder of Two Bit Circus: a Los Angeles idea factory making entertainment more enriching and education more fun. He is one of the brains behind the STEAM Carnival, reimaginging the carnival with robots, lasers, and fire. Eric is on television: as an on-screen inventor for ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, a talking head for Outrageous Acts of Science (Discovery Science), and as a special guest on several shows including Invention: USA (History), and The NEXT List (CNN). His interactive artwork has been exhibited at LACMA, Sundance Film Festival, The Leonardo, Mindshare.LA and the TED Conference.

What is Making?

Making is creativity at its best. It’s where problem solving, imagination, and a practiced set of skills come together to produce something new. Making is also very much about un-making, or in other words, understanding how to deconstruct something. So many times we’ve taken something apart in order to understand how it works, and from there developed new ideas around how to rebuild it, or create something entirely new! 

Who are Makers?

Makers can be anyone with a curious mind and capable hands. They get a thrill from understanding how things work. It’s not about telling, it’s about showing. 

Why is Making important?

The act of making takes great ideas out of your head and puts them physically into the real world where you can touch them, test them, and make them even better. It gives these ideas a life and purpose, sharing intellectual wealth and development with the whole world.

What is an exciting example of Making and why?

We're really fascinated right now by online design tools like CAD and Blockly. Right now, practically anyone can go online and download a design, customize it, program it, and cut it out. You don’t have to be a designer to design, so more and more people have the option to make their own cool stuff rather than having to buy some generic item at a store. 

How is Making transforming education?

We have to connect learning with doing. Often kids are taught ideas, theories and facts, but they’re not given the opportunity to then test these out in a real way meaningful to them. Making requires hands-on learning and project-based learning, two highly engaging approaches that apply new knowledge directly to a task at hand. What would you rather do: be asked to learn something with no immediate connection or outcome, or be presented with a project you’re really excited about and then led through the skills development and knowledge required to complete that project? It’s an easy answer! That interest, excitement, and immediate application makes knowledge sticky, and that’s what making does for education, it makes it stick. 

How can Making change my community?

Different people make different sorts of things. However, the process of making is an activity that can bring diverse members of the community together through shared experiences, helping one another, and even making together. 

How does Making solve big problems?

Making brings more people to the table as creators of a world we want to live in, versus consumers of a world we observe. Big problems require a lot of people throwing time and talent at moving the needle, so the more people activated and invested, the better shot we have at big change.