Hollywood and science

Robert Scoble interviews science blogger and author Jennifer Ouellette about the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a "recent initiative by the National Academy of Sciences, was set up to build a new kind of social network of scientists and movie directors." Worth a watch:

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It would be nice if this worked and 'Hollywood Writers' realized that writing really gripping scientifically accurate films are possible.

By Oscar Zoalaster (not verified) on 26 Aug 2009 #permalink

Great interview. It is not often that you hear the word 'nascent' used in a conversation.

Oscar Zoalaster, yes indeed, but it can also help Hollywood filmakers (the whole industry, from producers, screen-writers, directors to visual effects technicians) appreciate that "really gripping scientifically accurate films" are not only "possible" but can be more PROFITABLE.

It's also important to debunk the myth that science is hard on two fronts: 1. That an attention to scientific accuracy and integrity in a film is more difficult and costly to pull off, and 2. That the viewing public is not really interested in accuracy or finds science too hard to digest. Unfortunately, these myths are still held by a majority in the industry.

For decades the industry has operated under the principle of "cheating the audience" (the attitude has even been taught in film schools!) and that cynical estimation of their audience's capacity to respond to anything more sophisticated than stimulation, sensation and the gratification of action shows. It turns the viewing public into little more than a consumer resource which financially supports the industry. Excessive weight is placed on the index of "popularity", and the viewing public is consequently forced to subsist on a steady diet of candy and sugar-water...basically, because everybody does it that way.

It should be no mystery that the public is so grievously illiterate in science. Not when the most emotionally powerful and influential media are a primary source of information about the world they live in.

Nobody suggests that the industry shouldn't be a commercial enterprise, but if that aspect of the industry was truly serious about converting the talent, craftsmanship and artistry at their command into increased profits, they would drop their blind adherence to the myths they currently operate under. Raising the standard of excellence can only have a beneficial feedback effect on society as well as liberating the film and television industries of the tyranny of cynicism which has communicated itself to the public. The "art" of film would then be freed to do what it has always done best: educating, inspiring and enlightening the mind of the public - yes, at a considerable profit presently undreamed of by most film producers.

The SEE program is excellently conceived to address these problems as well as fostering the crucial cooperation between science and the entertainment industry. It's a program that is long overdue, and Jennifer Ouellette at its helm virtually guarantees success.

By astrounit (not verified) on 29 Aug 2009 #permalink

Ahhh...the dumbing down of America. Can we de-evolutionize? That's how I feel about the country I live in...everything is SO easy that we become lazy, fat and completely bored with our lives that we watch "reality" TV that is far from reality.

emotion is what draws people in and makes them stay...not science. If they can present science in a sexy way...I think it'll be a win-win

By e cigarette (not verified) on 04 Sep 2009 #permalink