Remember the scene in Back to School where Rodney Dangerfield’s millionaire character hires Kurt Vonnegut to help him write a paper about the works of Kurt Vonnegut? Or the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen pulls Marshall McClune out of nowhere to settle an argument with some idiot outside a movie theater? If only that happened in real life.
But wait a minute, I forgot, it does happen in real life now that the Science & Entertainment Exchange is up and running. Hollywood professionals really do have that kind of quick access to top experts across all areas of science.
That’s right, the Exchange is like a giant talent agency whose A-list clients work for free. And the Exchange is about more than just coming up with convincing technical jargon for Jessica Alba to spout so we’ll believe she’s a nuclear physicist! Actually, that may not be the best example because, as it turns out, Jessica Alba really is a nuclear physicist, kind of like Harrison Ford is a carpenter in his spare time. In fact, I understand they’re currently collaborating on a really lovely walnut-paneled plasma fusion reactor. But here’s my point. Scientists are visionaries, not to mention the fact that we need them to save us from all the real-life looming disasters that are so much fun to watch in movies. To be honest, I’m only in this so that when they invent stuff my family gets it first, but I digress.
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.
Still, I’m a little concerned. The Exchange offers so much, I feel like my Secret Santa just gave me a ride on the space shuttle when all I got her was a Pollo Loco gift certificate. In other words, with the Exchange working really hard to bring a little more science to Hollywood, maybe we should try to ante up and bring a little more Hollywood to science. So here are some possible ways we could help scientists and even things up a little…
GIVE THEM NOTES. Think of how much we’ve all benefited from receiving endless pages of development notes from a movie studio or TV network. Let’s replace the scientific community’s antiquated “peer review” process with a Hollywood-style system that allows even the most acclaimed veteran scientists to receive helpful feedback from 19-year-old summer interns.
STAR POWER. Stop green-lighting research just because it promises to revolutionize our understanding of the universe or cure deadly diseases. The important question is: whose name is above the title? Theorems should always have big-name scientists attached, like Stephen Hawking! Bill Nye! Or that mathematics guy from A Beautiful Mind. Science, like Hollywood, should finance scientists based on how their last experiment did. Perhaps they could even pre-sell the foreign rights to new research to help minimize the risk.
TARGET TEENS. Okay, maybe Pluto’s NOT a planet. But what’s that going to mean to the average snowboarder? Will mapping the human genome make freshman girls hotter? Let’s not forget the most important science of all: demographics.
MORE SMACK DOWNS. Say what you will about the WWE, they keep those wrestling fans involved. How? Cage matches. Behind the scenes scheming. Simmering rivalries. What if a couple of Nobel Prize winners were holding a press conference and suddenly they started breaking folding chairs over each other’s heads? Or smashing atoms or something. Not that, but something like that. I’m just brainstorming here. Why not pit scientists against each other? Maybe a show called Fe Chef. (Fe is the symbol for iron – get it?). Or Who Wants to Marry a Cell Biologist?
Great stuff, don’t you think, and these ideas just scratch the surface of possibilities. With more time I’m sure my head of development will be able to do even better. Anyway, we’re here to help, and we want this to be a two-way street. This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.