Why should I use The Science & Entertainment Exchange?
As a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), The Science & Entertainment Exchange is uniquely positioned to provide the “best of the best” in any science field imaginable. We’ve got the experts and the expertise. We also streamline the sometimes chaotic consulting process, matching you with the perfect consultant and ensuring all your questions are answered quickly and accurately.
How much does this cost?
Our services are free. We do not charge the entertainment industry for our services. In addition, in most cases the consultants themselves do not expect to be paid for the advice and information they provide. Our goal is to promote the natural synergy between creative and engaging entertainment and intriguing and inspiring science. Also, while the scientists gladly volunteer their time, they do have full-time jobs and their own research to conduct. If you think you will require a great deal of their time, we suggest offering compensation in appreciation of their valuable time.
The Science & Entertainment Exchange is a project of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which is a private, nonprofit institution whose leadership deemed this project important to science and to the future of our citizenry. Their resources are currently covering the expenses of The Science & Entertainment Exchange and they are in the process of securing additional outside funding.
What specifically do you mean by “science” in The Science & Entertainment Exchange?
Well, because science is all around us - a part of pretty much all aspects of our everyday lives - it is used very broadly to cover a host of questions. We are open to any and all inquiries about how something might work - including nature - and we can likely find someone to help you with anything from physics to robotics to climate change to what an alien living inside a cave on Mars might look like.
What media (TV/film/video games) is appropriate for consultations? What stage of development is appropriate for consultations?
Our scientists are available to consult on film, TV, and video game projects in any stage of development. This might include brainstorming concepts with writers for pilots, tours of laboratories and facilities for art directors and producers, script supervision, on-set consultations with actors and directors, or anything in the realm of scientific possibility.
In general, it’s great to reach to reach out to us early in the project.
Walk me through the consult process.
It’s pretty much one-stop shopping. Send us your query, tell us what you need. You can call or email The Science & Entertainment Exchange with questions no matter how general, specific, or complex about any aspect of science. We will help determine the level of help you need, whether it is just a single question that can be answered via email or a longer consultation that requires a phone call or face-to-face contact. We will then find a scientist who can answer your questions, help clarify a concept, or brainstorm solutions. We will arrange for you to make direct contact with the scientist and touch base with you during the process to confirm you are satisfied and have the information you need.
What if I need immediate assistance?
We’ll do our best to help you as soon as possible. However, we’ll have more flexibility on who we match you up with if you’re able to plan ahead.
What if the real science doesn’t fit into my story?
We understand that story trumps science. The idea is not to stifle your creativity, but feed it. We do not lecture, we engage in dialogue in order to help you. But you might be surprised by some of the ridiculously cool, and unexpected, storylines provided by real science. Science is not a wet blanket; indeed, it is a source of inspiration, a wellspring of untold stories and rich characters, a veritable muse.
What if I need a scientist to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
We understand the need for discretion and confidentiality. The Science & Entertainment Exchange has a standard NDA form for prospective entertainment industry clients that can be amended in conjunction with your studio’s legal department. We also explain the document and its necessity to our consultants. However, The Science & Entertainment Exchange does not function as anyone’s legal counsel and therefore makes no recommendations, leaving the decision to sign the NDA up to the individual signatories.
What if I want to hire a scientist to provide my production with technical consulting?
The Science & Entertainment Exchange can help you identify the best candidates, but we cannot negotiate payment or a contract. You will need to discuss hiring terms directly with the scientist, independent of us.
I’m working on my first project. Can you help me, or do you only help established industry professionals?
We can help! Contact us with your questions and we will get you the answers, just like we would for any production seeking help.
I’m with a special effects company and we need a bit of help creating a more realistic action sequence in outer space, can you help us?
Yes! Contact us and we’ll match you up with a great scientist.
I’m writing the next Grey’s Anatomy. Do you have scientists and doctors that can help me?
For medical-specific queries, we often partner with the Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society to cast as wide a net as possible within that community of experts.
I’ve got a great script/story idea/concept for the big screen. Can you get me a meeting with a studio?
No. Our job is to connect you with science and engineering experts who can help you with project development. Anything else is beyond the scope of our mission.
So, what’s in it for the National Academy of Sciences?
Plenty. In fact, we see The Science & Entertainment Exchange as a means to a critical end and look forward to the opportunity to help get more accurate depictions of science and scientists in TV, film, and video games. TV and film have been responsible for instilling a sense of wonder in worldwide audiences for a century, and by helping the entertainment industry we can perhaps help to inspire a new generation of scientists by firing their imaginations with what is possible in science.