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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

Featured Entertainer

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Featured Entertainer: Jerry Zucker

The Exchange is celebrating its third anniversary this month, and to commemorate the occasion (and more than 350 consults!), we will be featuring interviews with the people who made the program possible. This week, Jerry Zucker (director, producer, and Advisory Board Vice-Chair for The Exchange) shares his thoughts on The Exchange’s success, plus why he finds science fascinating and his words of wisdom to aspiring filmmakers and scientists. (Not to mention, a good dose of his trademark humor!) 

Featured Entertainer: Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson finds inspiration on the open road. The screenwriter drives at night to spark his imagination, and with the screenplays "Hard Candy" and "Devil" under his belt, you have to wonder what other ideas come to him during drives in the dark. Nelson recently let us in on his current project (inspired by a drive at night, perhaps?), plus his thoughts on science advising for screenwriters and the common ground between science and entertainment.

Tell us about your background. What sparked your interest in screenwriting?

Featured Entertainer: Valerie Weiss

Today’s Featured Entertainer, director Valerie Weiss, could also be a Featured Scientist. Weiss’s passion for both science and filmmaking started in high school, eventually leading to a Ph.D. in Biophysics and an award-winning sci-fi short. Weiss also founded the Dudley Film Program at Harvard University and served as its first Filmmaker-in-Residence.

Featured Entertainers: Glen Whitman & Rob Chiappetta

To be clear, Glen Whitman and Rob Chiappetta, executive story editors on the hit Fox series Fringe want viewers to know not all of the science on Fringe is accurate. But it is as accurate and grounded in reality as it can be for a show that takes on parallel universes, mind control, and super-sized viruses. The series depicts science by imagining how far it can go, which has called for a few science consultants from The Exchange.

Featured Entertainer: Sarah Newman

Sarah Newman knows how lucky she is to spend her workdays talking to experts in pandemics, nuclear security, and other topics. As the Research Manager at Participant Media she works to develop companion campaigns to films with important topics, such as Contagion and infectious disease. We caught up with Newman recently to ask her a few questions about her role at Participant, how films can get people engaged in science, and what science topic she wants to see more of in film and television.

Featured Entertainer: David Grae

David Grae did not intend to use science on the hit series Castle, but as the supervising producer and writer explains it, the science kept coming up. No stranger to seeking expert advice (Grae previously worked on Joan of Arcadia, which had a religion and philosophy advisor), he called up The Exchange for some science help. Recently, Grae took some time to answer a few questions for us on his writing background, his first big break, and what inspires him.

Tell us about your background. How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

Featured Entertainer: Tom Johnson

Actors act. Directors direct. Producers…. If you have ever wondered what exactly it is that producers do, you are in luck! The Exchange recently chatted with Tom Johnson, Texas native and Head of Development for Flashpoint Entertainment, about the role of a producer, how films are developed, and why he decides to bring certain stories to the big screen.

Tell us about your background. How did you become Head of Development for Flashpoint Entertainment?

Featured Entertainer: John Nein

With a background in film and a secret enthusiasm for science, John Nein, a Senior Programmer at the Sundance Film Institute, seems to have found himself in the perfect line of work. Each year, Nein oversees the process for the Sloan Foundation Prize at Sundance, a prize awarded to an outstanding feature film with a science theme or depiction of a scientist as a major character.

Featured Entertainer: David Goyer

He may have been a “classic nerd” but now screenwriter David Goyer is the embodiment of cool. The brains behind Blade, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Goyer somehow turned a childhood love of comic books into one of the most enviable careers in Hollywood. But what’s really cool about Goyer?

Featured Entertainer: Tom Schulman

As a philosophy major at Vanderbilt University, screenwriter Tom Schulman had no intention of working in the film industry. But then, one fateful semester, a professor assigned a film project instead of a term paper. What followed is a long and successful career in film. Schulman is the brains behind Dead Poets Society, the hysterical comedy What About Bob?, and the dark comedy Eight Heads In A Duffel Bag.