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Thread: The Pentagon goes Hollywood: Wants scientists to be screenwriters

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    The Pentagon goes Hollywood: Wants scientists to be screenwriters

    USA Today/Christian Science Monitor: The Pentagon goes Hollywood: Wants scientists to be screenwriters

    Gundersen, Barker, and Singer is serious about getting science and scientific heroes into the movies. In fact, they see it as vital to the health of American technological prowess, to say nothing of national security.

    So what they've done for the past three years is convene a three-to-five-day screenwriting class at the venerated American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Called the Catalyst Workshop, it's a lot like other screenwriting classes that have become a cottage industry across the nation. But here's the twist all participants in this one are actually scientists. Hardcore, PhD-laden, lab-certified scientists. Here's the second twist the training was all paid for by the Pentagon.

    [...]

    Hollywood both film and television reflects the problem. But some believe it may also be part of the solution. By writing and producing movies that have more scientific themes and more authentic and appealing science protagonists boosters think the U.S. could encourage more young people to pursue careers in plasma physics, molecular biology, and other fields.

    "If I want to watch sports, I can turn on any one of four to 12 channels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," says Alvin Chin, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a Catalyst alum. "Imagine if science programming had that kind of presence."
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    The Bad Astronomy Channel. . .sounds intriguing. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Jubjub View Post
    The Bad Astronomy Channel. . .sounds intriguing. . .
    If only we knew of an astronomer type person who could write well... Hmm...
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    I still have to figure out exactly why, but the whole thing sounds incredibly stupid to me. I'm more than willing to be convinced otherwise.

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    yeah, just imagine the thrills of a movie that has an Asteroid on a collision course with earth in ONLY 200 years, and the drama and action as a bunch of folks in white lab coats calculate velocities and build rockets with solar sails that are placed on the asteroid to gently nudge it off the killer trajectory.
    plus, i'm sure there could be a few awkward academic love stories in there somewhere, as well.
    oh- and they could show some Senate appropriations hearings, and politicians reading proposals and what not.

    yeah, that would be entertaining..

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    yeah, just imagine the thrills of a movie that has an Asteroid on a collision course with earth in ONLY 200 years, and the drama and action as a bunch of folks in white lab coats calculate velocities and build rockets with solar sails that are placed on the asteroid to gently nudge it off the killer trajectory.
    plus, i'm sure there could be a few awkward academic love stories in there somewhere, as well.
    oh- and they could show some Senate appropriations hearings, and politicians reading proposals and what not.

    yeah, that would be entertaining..
    Why is that the only way to do an accurate film?

    On that theme, there was Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle. It was a disaster story, with the comet striking Earth with no hope of stopping it. It covered the impact and the aftermath very nicely. There were some great visual scenes, like the surfer on the biggest wave ever, literally over LA, knowing that he was going to die soon.

    Or you could do a story with an asteroid that has been determined will strike earth in 20 years, with the major world powers shifting massive resources over to developing the hardware to get out there and deflect it, and all the disruptions going on in society with a new wave of survivalists, end of worlders, and so forth, all building up to the day when we start nuking it out of the way.

    Hmmm, has anyone written that story?

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    Scientifically accurate (relative to most programs, anyway) can be entertaining, certainly:

    ReGenesis, for example.

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