Interview about Science and Film

cuatusc_interviewI did an interview last week Tuesday with the channel CU@USC. It is a chat show, and so I did the sitting on the couch thing and so forth. All very amusing…

…And hopefully useful. I am spending many hours each day building awareness for this year’s USC Science Film Competition, an annual project you might remember me starting back in 2011, and stressing over a lot. And then again in 2012. It continues to survive for another year. This is year three, and although it has given me many grey hairs, I fight on, because I think it is of value to get students from all fields, whether scientist or engineer, writer or filmmaker, journalist or artist, to learn to collaborate in the art of telling a story that has science content. (Actually, learning to collaborate to tell a story about any issue of even moderate nuance is an important skill, science or not.) Anyway, the interview material is now up online and so you can have a look here. (The site uses flash, so might not work on some devices.)

I speak about the competition and also my own take on bringing science to film both fact and fiction (which for the latter especially is probably different from many others in that I don’t think it is always productive for a scientist in a film project to be thought of as just some sort of “fact-checker”. That’s often a missed opportunity…and frankly the fact-checking is often far too late in the process to make any real difference. Also… science isn’t really mostly about facts! It’s about process… and story…) Anyway, go and see it to see what I’m talking about. No point me repeating it here especially since nobody seems to have the time to read these days anyway.

I talk about these things with the interviewer for half the show, and then for the other half, Simon Wilches-Castro (SCA student) comes on and talks about his experiences collaborating with a Dornsife science student, a Thornton music student, and a Dornsife writing student to make his film! (It was the one about fractals that won an honorable mention and the best animation prize.) Scroll to timepoint 16:20 on the film if you want to skip my babble.



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