Are you an aspiring science communicator who wants to make a documentary about your favorite topic? Before you pitch your idea to the tv networks, make sure you have these key tools available:
1. Have Ridiculously Simple Science Analogies For Us Dumb-Dumbs
Explaining the big bang is too hard for simpletons. But you know what we will understand? The universe is like an expanding balloon! Dying stars being collapsed by the force of their own gravity? What does that even mean? Like a tennis ball being squished by your hands! Make sure to pause a lot while using your every-day regular Joe analogies. Otherwise the viewing audience won’t catch up.
To help the simplest of the simpletons, make sure to use exaggerated hand gestures a lot. This is key when talking about objects of celestial scale. Otherwise, we won’t have any idea what you’re talking about.
2. Slow Motion Video of People Playing Basketball or Football
Newton’s Laws of Motion are about motion, but it takes some hard thinking to really understand what motion is. Movement is such a foreign concept to the general public. But, maybe sports is how to bridge the gap! Make sure to describe your theory of science while walking through an active basketball court. Or maybe walk between two players in a football match. Make sure the play is slow motion though – otherwise we won’t understand the motion part of the equation.
3. Random Scene With Orchestral Music Playing In The Background, Interspersed By Video Of The Orchestra
This is key if you’re talking about the historical moment someone made a great discovery. Wave-particle duality of course was discovered with the double slit experiment. The only way to understand the gravity of that moment in history is to have the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra playing some classical piece of music while the narrator describes the experiment.
4. One Of Three Astrophysicists, Regardless Of The Actual Subject
Who to go to for a documentary on geological history? A physicist, of course. On the other hand, how about a conversation about climate change. A theoretical physicist! How about a documentary on the ecology of Yellowstone? Bring out the the astrophysicist!
What if the documentary is not about science? Social commentary? No worries, there’s an astrophysicist to help explain it all for you!
5. Professor Walking Around His Campus Or Sitting In His Office
Getting name recognition on a documentary is pretty cool. But spending 20 agonizing minutes driving to the other side of town for an interview is not fun. Luckily for aspiring science communicators, there’s a great solution – sit in your chair and make the interviewer come to you. This way, you can show off your “book wall” with all those great tomes you haven’t cracked open in 15 years!
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