So I’ve been spending a huge amount of time trying to generate awareness among the students and faculty about the newly launched film competition. I don’t know how much traction I’m getting, but we shall see. Lots of poster posting, and giving packets of postcards to colleagues in College departments such as Physics, Chemistry, and the Writing Program, and over in Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, and of course the Cinematic Arts School. I need to figure out a way of getting a foothold over in the various areas of the Keck School of Medicine, on the other campus… It’s open to all students at USC, but I need to make sure I target certain concentrations to maximize chances of getting interested students’ attention.
On Monday I did an interview with a student reporter for the Daily Trojan and that appeared this morning. (Have a read.) I’m a bit embarrassed that they missed out mentioning my colleague and collaborator Anna Krylov, but the main thing is that more people will learn about the initiative though the article. It was fun talking to Jasmine, the reporter. The key thing, for me, is that the collaborative aspect of all of this is forefront, since that’s the most important aspect. As I said in an email to another reporter this morning (which may or may not result in an article, we shall see):
Well, The students we train here at USC are the future creators and communicators of new knowledge. I think that’s one of our primary roles as a University. The key to getting better communication about science in the media, in entertainment, and in all aspects of our daily lives is to through increased contact between those with the knowledge and those with the responsibility to communicate. Right now, most journalists and filmmakers (either in documentary or in entertainment) are not in the practice of working with scientists even when they are doing something involving science – many of them have never even met a scientist – and the same is true on the other side: Most scientists or engineers have no appreciation for what it takes to make a film and communicate ideas either explicitly (say in documentary form) or implicitly (say, through drama), and have probably not met a filmmaker or journalist. They mostly just complain that the “science is not right” in the coverage they see, or in movies, etc. We make major steps to change this sort of situation by training a new generation of scientists, engineers, and communicators that understand and appreciate each others fields more, through collaboration. We’ll make better films that way for sure, and for the students, the sort of contacts that get made at this stage in their careers will likely stay with them into the future.
And… aha! I’d chatted a little over email this morning about it with the Provost, Beth Garrett, who is very supportive of the idea, and she just reminded me that the USC Academy for Polymathic Study would be likely interested in this. As I’ve mentioned before here on the blog- interdisciplinary work is a big focus there! I thought of this last week and then forgot to email them, so this is a timely and welcome reminder!
Stay tuned for more. The site will be updated with details of the competition this evening. Also since I’m not on facebook, I’ve been working with Kadir Diri (a postdoc of my collaborator, Anna Krylov) in Chemistry to set up and maintain the facebook page for the project. He’s set up a discussion section there. The idea is that it might be a place where students can come and let each other know they’re looking for collaborators to make up teams. The rules require collaborative teams, you see.
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):