Cosmos Possible Worlds: Kara Vallow Speaks

Cosmos: Possible Worlds producer Kara Vallow recently sat down with TVGrapevine to discuss the new season and her amazing career.
Tell me about yourself and career.
I began as an animator, I went to art school in New York (I am originally from Philadelphia). I have been working in animation production my entire professional life.
 
What kind of work do you do on Cosmos?
I was brought on to develop a style for the animation for the series and to put together a team and produce the animated sequences. The animated segments in Cosmos serve the narrative portions of the series; they tell the stories about historical figures and their contributions to society. 
 
What attracted you to the project?
To work on an iconic show that that changed the trajectory of my own life after watching the first season in 1980. Also, the opportunity to work with Ann Druyan, and to help bring a science show to wide audiences at a time when we are facing an unprecedented rejection of science. When I watched Carl’ Sagan’s Cosmos in 1980 with my family, something clicked in for me. The scientific methodology, determining what is an empirical fact and what is not an empirical fact, that’s what I took from the show as a kid. That lens of skepticism has formed the basis for my intellectual life. feeling very human and connected to each other and to one of the better minds of our oft stupid species has managed to put forth.
 
What are some challenges of working on the show?

The biggest challenge was trying to come up with a style of design and a style of movement that would seamlessly transition from the live action location shots and the CG shots and that would be worthy of Cosmos. I also had a very limited budget to work with, so that is always a challenge.

What are some memorable moments from working on the show?
Basically every story session we had with Ann Druyan, where she walked us through the script. Her unique voice is why Cosmos informs in a way that is so beautiful, without being condescending. Her writing and her ability to tell these stories, as if she had been there, it is straightforward and uncompromising but almost poetic, so inspiring. The ability to tell these stories and explain the methodologies, but doing it in a way that moves you…is so much more effective than anything else. Ann said, “you cant lie your way to Mars”. The stories we tell in Possible Worlds, they all work in service of this idea.
 
What was it like working with Seth McFarlane?
I’ve worked with him for over two decades so it runs the gamut. We’ve had a great run together.
 
What can we expect to see this season?
Stories about heroes in history who risked everything in the service of science that you may not have heard of, because their stories have never been told, wonderfully realized by Ann. It is an invitation for people  people to discover for themselves these stories, and also the astonishing advances we have made in the past few hundred years. 

What else are you working on? 
I’m writing a book about working in the television comedy business from a feminist perspective and I am developing an animated show about a family in the near future, after the climate apocalypse. 

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I have a ham radio license?

What are you watching on tv these days?
I am not watching TV these days but I’ve read some amazing books. “The Overstory” by Richard Powers, “House of Glass” by Hadley Freeman are two of them.

Anything else you want to share?
Sorry I am so boring!
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