Science Advising in Entertainment


Published on editor/creative director Jovana Grbic recently gave a seminar at Emory University about the role of a scientific adviser in the entertainment industry and tools for scientists to launch careers in film, television and media.

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Science Advising in Entertainment

  1. 1. Science in Entertainment Jovana J. Grbić, PhD Career Committee Seminar Emory University, Atlanta, GA December 06, 2010 ©, all rights reserved
  2. 2. Seminar Overview • A Brief History of Science in Entertainment • ScriptPhD Concept: L.A.B. • Career Planning Advice and Ideas For Scientists
  3. 3. Jurassic Park: Before + After <ul><li>Assumed audience knew or would understand cloning – complex science </li></ul><ul><li>Written by a medical doctor (Michael Crichton) </li></ul><ul><li>Thematic Elements: Reprecussions of bioengineering and technology revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Game changer for future film and television content </li></ul>Jurassic Park – 1993 Universal pictures $900 million gross – still in top ten Dolly the Sheep cloned in 1996
  4. 4. The Dawn of the Internet Internet visualization map for routes of information exchange Number of internet users: 1995-2010 The internet is exploding and there ’s nothing to stop it! Nasdaq Hosts Sites The market might go up and down, but the Internet grows forever • Late 1994: Mosaic released, WWW is born • 1996: The word ‘Internet’ is common
  5. 5. Science is EVERYWHERE <ul><li>Academic, government and industry labs have websites </li></ul><ul><li>Most newspapers/magazines have a science + technology section </li></ul><ul><li>The birth of the blog </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter, Facebook, other social media – news travels fast </li></ul>2008: At least 2,000 science blogs written by PhD scientists (Technorati)
  6. 6. Science + Technology in Entertainment post-Internet <ul><li>More science/sci-fi/technology/medical content on television (and movies) </li></ul><ul><li>Better (more) informed audience </li></ul><ul><li>More sophisticated content </li></ul>The Internet # of Zombie movies (io9)
  7. 7. ‘ The CSI Effect’ <ul><li>The belief that juries demand more physical evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Police collecting more physical evidence, in turn inundating crime labs </li></ul><ul><li>More forensic programs in colleges and universities </li></ul><ul><li>Jurors wanting DNA tests performed more frequently </li></ul><ul><li>The problem? </li></ul><ul><li>About 40% of the forensic science on </li></ul><ul><li>CSI doesn’t actually exist! </li></ul>CSI premieres
  8. 8. Medical Shows Affect Your Health <ul><li>Epidemiological studies conducted by the Kaiser Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Presence of blogs amplifies this effect </li></ul><ul><li>Study in journal Resucitation : Med students copy bad intubations from TV </li></ul>Purposefully embedded a health message in an episode then tested select group of viewers Health on Prime Time Television 947 episodes 33 series 2204-2006
  9. 9. Jovana J. Grbić, PhD <ul><li>Undergrad: BA in physical chemistry from Northwestern University </li></ul><ul><li>Cancer research fellowship: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate: PhD in oncogenomics from The Scripps Research Institute </li></ul><ul><li>Postdoctoral Fellowship: infectious diseases, UCLA School of Public Health </li></ul><ul><li>Current: director + independent writer </li></ul>
  10. 10. My Goals as a Science Advisor YES NO
  11. 11. L.A.B.: The ScriptPhD Concept “ People bring ideas to life” Media+Entertainment Science The Public Building Relationships Exchanging Information
  12. 12. L.A.B.: L earn <ul><li>Scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Watch movies and TV!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Know how your material is being represented </li></ul><ul><li>Make yourself visible! </li></ul><ul><li>Give and write feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple: small bites are easier to swallow for non-scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Writers </li></ul><ul><li>Seek out advice </li></ul><ul><li>Ask SPECIFIC questions and involve the scientist </li></ul><ul><li>Attend a lecture/seminar </li></ul><ul><li>Shadow a scientist or doctor </li></ul><ul><li>Read blogs + tech publications </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate effectively </li></ul>
  13. 13. L.A.B.: A dvise Start a Blog For Your Area of Expertise • Start with short, simple posts • Guest post for other bloggers • Invite colleagues to post on your site • Reach out, interview people, start discussion topics, instigate… Increase Your Web Presence • Let out an occasional Tweet • Set up a site for your lab/research • Write the occasional supplement to scholarly articles Work For a Science Movie/TV Show • V and Castle ; freelance work • Fringe: Neurobiologist Ricardo Gil da Costa • BSG and Eureka : Physicist Kevin R. Grazier • CSI: Engineer Naren Shankar • Grey ’s Anatomy : Dr. Zoanne Clack • ER : Dr. Neal Baer Write Your Own! Michael Chricton Arthur C. Clarke
  14. 14. L.A.B.: B log… <ul><li>Sample Topics Covered Recently in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Splice”: cast + crew video interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Selling Science Smartly”: science in advertising + media series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World Science Festival coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guest posts: Brain Training, Creativity, Genius </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Breaking Bad”: Executive Producer Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-Depth Means: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews (Leading science experts, screenwriters, producers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Panels + Roundtables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Original pieces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The science behind your favorite shows, films and media </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Recognition & Achievements <ul><li>Worked with: Warner Brothers, Disney, Fox, Universal, The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel, SyFy, academic institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Recent clients: UCLA School of Film, Tribeca Sloan Founcation (NYC), screenwriters and authors, ABC Television ( V and Castle ) </li></ul><ul><li>Profiled in the science section of The Charlotte Observer </li></ul>
  16. 16. Screenwriters ’ Resources in L.A. <ul><li>Great starting blocks for information and connections: </li></ul><ul><li>Writers’ Guild of America </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Science and Entertainment Exchange </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hollywood, Health and Society </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Science Network </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Here to help you write creative science! </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Acknowledgements Hosts: Emory University Career Committee, Katie Vance, Monica Taylor, Kevin Grazier Fellow Collaborators/Idea Generators: • Media + Entertainment subsidies (present and future) • Bloggers ( “sites we like” blogroll is a great resource!) • Scientists, Engineers, Innovators, Techologists, Geeks, and Nerds YOU! Engage and collaborate with to expand the conversation about science and technology in entertainment, media and pop culture: • Twitter: @ScriptPhD •Vimeo: ScriptPhD • Facebook: ScriptPhD • ScriptPhD • LinkedIn: Jovana Grbić • Email: [email_address] Presentation and content ©2010 All Rights Reserved.