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Has any course ever at Karolinska brought in such a mix of interesting speakers? Well, this course certainly did it!

Session 4 featured Mattias and David, who did an amazing job in introducing us to science appearing in the movies and on the TV.

Mattias, a TV producer of science and children shows for SVT, first gave us a theoretical overview of how he builds a story for a science show. First of all, “what is the story?” He emphasized that you need to define its start,
middle and end. Second, you need to “get to know the audience and the readers”, get inspired and tell people what they want to hear. Third, you need to figure out “why do you want to make this show?”. Next, think about how to visualize the science and the concepts for the audience. For this purpose one can see movies, get to know video games, look at social media to get in touch with the audience in order to understand how they think and what they are interested in. Also important for a show is to not position yourself but rather let the reader draw the conclusions. Finally, the trick is not to lower the science but to lift the audience! During his theoretical lectures Mattias also showed us clips from his shows for SVT.

In the second part of the workshop we did a mash-up exercise to get inspired and train our storytelling, guided by Mattias.

collage

David gave a fantastic lecture inspired by his book “Lab coats in Hollywood”. During the class we scanned different examples of interactions between science and cinema, successfully studied by David. Filled with behind the scenes, anecdotes and curiosa, David captured our attention for an entire afternoon.

“Accuracy vs. Authenticity” is a hard balance to create, but when it works, it usually gives rise to a successful sci-fi story. A great example of successful collaboration is the movie “Jurassic Park”, where the scientist consultant and the film producer worked together to make “movie science” plausible but not necessarily accurate. However, accurate science can happen when it is only important to filmmakers e.g. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

After discussing the notion of entertainment constraints, we did “Spot the constraint” game. Were we examined some movie science and see if we can spot the constraint which led to these being inaccurate.

Destination_Moon

Destination Moon (1950)

Try out yourself: this screenshot is from the movie “Destination Moon” (1950). Producer George Pal said, “we understood that there was no water on the Moon”. Why then depicting the moon with crevices as there had been water? What is the kind of entertainment constraint that unable them to make it accurate?

David lecture conclusion was that scientist and filmmaker collaborations work best when the scientists and entertainment professionals clearly respect each other’s expertise. And always keep in mind movies affect popular perception of science.

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