Monday, June 01, 2009

The X-Change Files

As I posted about last fall, The Science & Entertainment Exchange (TS&EE) is a National Academy of Sciences-sponsored program that aims to connect scientists and engineers with film and television industry types. Now they've added a blog to their site - the X-Change Files - that discusses science and Hollywood fiction. What makes it unique is that the contributors provide a pretty good mix of science and entertainment industry perspectives: Jennifer Ouellette is director of TS&EE and a long-time science writer, Lawrence Krauss and Sidney Perkowitz are physicists as well as popular science writers, Matt Partney is a writer for CSI: Miami, and Jerry Zucker is a producer (along with his wife Janet), director (Ghost), and writer (notably part of the team that wrote Airplane! *). The blog is still getting off the ground, but it looks like it should be interesting. As Jerry Zucker wrote:
The really great thing about these scientists is that because their brains are exactly two-and-a-half times the size of the average person’s in the movie business (although in fairness, that also includes talent agents), they are actually more creative and therefore much better at coming up with science-related ideas for movies than our so-called “creative community.” I don’t mean to offend anyone but as much as I loved Slumdog Millionaire, it’s no Viagra. Often, science gets tacked on like wallpaper in a story, but when it’s really integrated into the narrative it can take things in surprising new directions. And thanks to the Exchange and the National Academy of Sciences, research just became much more fun.
It will be interesting to see what will come of it.

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* A confession: Airplane! has always held a special place in my heart, mostly because it so accurately portrayed my own occasional drinking problem.
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