Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style (Paperback)
""You think too much You mother F@$#%&* think too much You're nothing but an arrogant, pointy-headed intellectual -- I want you out of my classroom and off the premises in five minutes or I'm calling the police and having you arrested for trespassing." -- Hollywood acting teacher to Randy Olson, former scientist" After nearly a decade on the defensive, the world of science is about to be restored to its rightful place. But is the American public really ready for science? And is the world of science ready for the American public? Scientists wear ragged clothes, forget to comb their hair, and speak in a language that even they don't understand. Or so people think. Most scientists don't care how they are perceived, but in our media-dominated age, style points count. Enter Randy Olson. Fifteen years ago, Olson bid farewell to the science world and shipped off to Hollywood ready to change the world. With films like "Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus" (Tribeca '06, Showtime) and "Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy" (Outfest '08), he has tried to bridge the cultural divide that has too often left science on the outside looking in. Now, in his first book, Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker. In "Don't Be Such a Scientist," he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. In a book enlivened by a profane acting teacher who made Olson realize that "nobody wants to watch you think," he offers up serious insights and poignant stories. You'll laugh, you may cry, and as a communicator you'll certainly learn the importance of not only knowing how to fulfill, but also how to arouse.
About the Author
RANDY OLSON is the writer/director of the feature films Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus, (Tribeca '06, Showtime '07), Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest '08), and author of Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style (Island Press '09). His work focuses on the challenges involved in communicating science to the general public and on the current attacks on mainstream science in fields such as evolution and climate science. He is a former marine biologist (Ph.D. Harvard University) who achieved tenure at the University of New Hampshire before changing careers to filmmaking by obtaining an M.F.A. in Cinema from the University of Southern California. He is an adjunct faculty member with the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at USC. His production company, Prairie Starfish Productions, is based at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles. DORIE BARTON has been a professional actor in the film and television industry for twenty years, and a script consultant and writing coach for fifteen. Her work as a consultant and coach has led her to story development work with screenwriters, filmmakers, novelists, literary managers, and production companies, working on independent and studio projects, and both narrative and documentary films. Her work on camera as an actor has included several television series as a regular and recurring character, numerous guest star roles, and work in independent and studio pictures. She is also a multi award-winning stage performer, and has been a member of the esteemed Evidence Room theatre company since 2001. She holds a BFA from the renowned California Institute of the Arts, created by Walt Disney to provide artists with a well-rounded education in all art forms. BRIAN PALERMO is an actor with a wide range of performances in television, film, and top comedy venues. Palermo graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. He has been a performer, director, and teacher with The Groundlings, Los Angeles' premiere comedy theatre for over 15 years. On the other side of the camera, Palermo was a staff writer on the animated series Histeria! for Warner Bros. and has written scripts for Disney's The Weekenders and Dave the Barbarian. He's also written and produced promotional commercials for Fox and The Disney Channel, among others.
"Don''t Be Such a Scientist is a stinging critique, yet it''s also a funny, heart-felt account of one scientist''s efforts to make non-scientists care about the natural world."