A Ticket to Tinseltown

Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1241
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1241a

Remember that killer idea for a science-based, blockbuster movie that you had in graduate school? Its time may have come.

The American Film Institute is offering a 2-day workshop to train researchers who can help Hollywood get the science right (afi.com/education/catalyst). The 12 individuals chosen will receive a crash course on movie and television writing from seasoned professionals. And best of all, it's free, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, which is putting up $300,000 for a 3-year project aimed at improving the scientific content of films.

The workshop is a worthy effort toward “demystifying Hollywood” for scientists, says marine biologist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson. But don't quit your day job. Collaborations between scientists and moviemakers rarely yield scientifically accurate films, he says, because “the scientists spew out science, and the screenplay writers pick and choose a few things that sound interesting.”

The deadline for applications is 9 June.

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