Tales From The Industry, XV – Coincident Science Bloggers

Well, that was a bit of an odd day. Let me explain.

hollywood center studios

An email and then a call with a producer at Comedy Central last week led me to the (historic) Hollywood Center Studios today. I was to do an appearance in a little comedy “bit” that will be part of a show to air next year. They wanted scientists for a fun piece, but I won’t say what they were doing with us since I don’t know if they’d like it revealed before airing (probably not). It’s a new show too, with some very well known and smart comedians on it. I’ll tell you more when I can. All I can say is that it looks as though it will be a refreshing take on the scientist image for a change.

There was a lot of fast thinking on one’s feet to be done, since there was no script (of course) and so everything was improvised. I hope I did not get too much muddled in the process…

I love lucy plaqueSo I’m not telling anything really, which must be annoying. Sorry. But here’s the odd thing. I showed up, and was being directed to the studio/room where the shoot was taking place and, rounding a corner, ran into another person leading someone in the other direction. It was another science blogger that I know. I’d just been wondering earlier today about how he was doing, and there he was! He was in the same shoot too, and was finished with his part and was on his way out. Who am I talking about? I’ll let you guess – see if you’re keeping up with the relationships in this tiny corner of the blogosphere: He’s the co-blogger of a co-blogger of mine.

Well, a little while later, I talked to the producer some more and she mentioned who else was on the shoot. Yep, more coincidences. Oddly enough, an ex-co-blogger of mine and his science blogging partner were appearing too: they’d be along in another half hour. It’s doubly or triply odd since just last night I’d said hi to them over email after not having had contact with them in a long while*.

How very odd.

To complete things, since I was in the area I decided to end the day out with an early evening showing of the new Coen Brothers’ film “No Country for Old Men”, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel. It is a film I’ve been waiting to see for some time (I love the Coen Brothers’ work). Excellent, chilling, odd – highly recommended (though quite violent, if you’re not used to that sort of thing). Wonderful acting, photography and dialogue. Definitely left a bit of a chill on me, I have to say. Avery affecting piece of film-making.


*You may submit your answers to who all these people are by using initials if you like.

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12 Responses to Tales From The Industry, XV – Coincident Science Bloggers

  1. Eric says:

    I’ll bite. I’d say your encounters were with CM, SC and JO. Not entirely sure about the first, but my next guess would be someone from The Panda’s Thumb, and there are way too many of them to try to figure out who it might be.

  2. Alejandro Rivero says:

    since I don’t know if they’d like it revealed before airing (probably not)

    Hmm if they explicitly invited bloggers, you are a bit ingenuous if you think they are not considered publicity in the internet. And this implies they have considered the risk of airing the plot.

  3. Alejandro Rivero says:

    mistake in 2: they are not=they have not

  4. Clifford says:

    Alejandro – Thank you.

    You are “a bit ingenuous” to assume that I have not already discussed this with some of the production staff. Here’s a little information about the typical internal structure that you might take into account: The people who do the research and find the participants are not the same as the people who might care about whether details are out there or not… totally different department. As you know, I’ve contributed to several programs now and this is the usual set up. Typically, the program details are preferred kept close until nearer the air date. I try to respect that until I know otherwise. Other bloggers may choose differently and that is up to them.



  5. Clifford says:

    Also… you’re assuming that they picked bloggers for this… not… we just happen to blog. It is essentially coincidental that so many of the participants (not all) blog… it is nothing to do with the program.



  6. Elliot says:

    I think it is entirely possible they picked “specific” bloggers not based on the free publicity angle but based on a perception of how they might come across on the medium.


  7. Clifford says:

    That’s exactly the impression I got from the comedy central people I spoke with. Once we were found (by various sources), our blogging was useful as a flag (i.e., we are scientists who like to communicate), but was not the intrinsic reason we were contacted.



  8. Alejandro Rivero says:

    Now you mention it, yes, probably your past record of contributions to several programs can counterweight any worries of confidentiality breaking.

  9. Elliot says:

    I’m sure in due time all will/can be revealed.


  10. Yvette says:

    Or perhaps the producers were just lazy, so when they were looking for scientists the blogs were the first things to come up on Google? 😉

    Sounds like a very… tantalizing show. Looking forward to it.

  11. Clifford says:

    Hi Yvette,

    As I understand it (from talking to some of the people involved) it was more like I described above.

    The show should be fun!*



    *assuming the right editing, and so forth… see earlier post a few posts down on such issues. But I think I trust these guys…

  12. Athena says:

    That’s great news! Nice coincidences too. Wish I had cable so I could see it. I’m sure you were excellent.

    Regarding the movie, thanks for the reco. I like chilling and affecting movies, and I’ve really enjoyed all the films I’ve seen Javier Bardem in.