About cvj

I'm a professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department, and the administrator of the Science Film USC blog and the USC Science Film Competiion. Email me at johnson1 [at] usc [dot] edu if you are a USC student wanting to join the list of people looking to start a team to enter the Science Film Competition. You can also post thoughts about film ideas here, and of course you'll get access to the email of other users.

Submitting Your Film

The deadline is almost here! Remember it is 11:59pm on 15th February 2014. That is this coming Saturday! You are no doubt wondering about how you submit your film. I will be announcing this to registered teams shortly. There will be two emails coming.

(1) The first will be about formats for the films. That will arrive today (Monday 10th), so look out for that.

(2) Tomorrow (Tuesday 11th) the details about site where you will upload your films will be given. I will also give you details about the information you need to provide in writing along with the hard copy version you will also submit. I’ll tell you where to take that hard copy, and when. Keep an eye out for that email too.

All the best,

-cvj

Happy Holidays, and Happy Filmmaking!

Dear Teams,

I hope that you have a good break. Many of you are planning to work on your films over the break, so I wish you the best of luck, and have fun doing it! Feel free to post here on the blog a little bit of how your filming went. We’d all love to know. Don’t forget some of the tips I gave in a previous post.

Above all, have fun collaborating, and enjoy the process of making your masterpiece!

I wish you well.

-cvj

Vimeo Tips, Planning, and Getting the Science Right!

Hi Everyone!

I hope that you are well into planning your films right now. Please be sure to follow all the safety tips and production suggestions that you got from Joe Wallenstein last month. I promised that I’d put some links to film-making tips that could be useful for some of you with limited access to equipment, or not as much filmmaking experience. You actually can make pretty sophisticated films with free software, and pretty basic equipment like the cameras on your phone… With a modest outlay and some creativity you can improve lighting, etc., dramatically. See the post that Sean Lim did with some ideas he found online. (Thanks Sean!)

I found some additional things on Vimeo that you can explore. For example, for the basics, look at the tutorials at Vimeo’s “video school” here.

For more advanced tips, you can move on to the “film school” here. There’s a lot of videos there so it might take a while to find what you want, but it is probably there!

Finally, please be sure -before filming- to make sure that you have a written script that helps you plan everything out. This will really cut down on mistakes like forgetting to shoot important elements – this can be expensive if you’ve rented equipment and then have to rent it again… or it might mean you have to reshoot because conditions changed, etc. Plan things first.

Also, when you have the script, get some other eyes on it. Make sure you’ve got your story elements working right to constitute an interesting film. Be *sure* that the science is right! If the science is wrong, your film is fundamentally flawed and it will cost you in the competition (remember this is the Science Film Competition – all about communicating science ideas). Furthermore, we won’t be able to show it widely if it is promoting flawed ideas… So get everyone in your team to look at it and check everything, and maybe even try to show it to a professor and ask them to give you some feedback. I can help you find the right kind of expert if you are not having luck. This is *really* important.

All the best,

-cvj

The Gathering!

Hi,

This is just to remind you that on Friday (tomorrow) the 25th, at 5:00pm, all teams are strongly encouraged to come to the event at Doheny DML 233. There’ll be pizza, drinks, production safety information from Joe Wallenstein (really important you get this), production tips, ideas, and a chance to share ideas and even form more teams if you’re not already part of one (or even get involved with other teams even if you’re already in one).

Come along! If still looking for a team, this is a good thing to come along to as well.

So… free food, drink, and interesting company. There’s no downside!

-cvj

Processing…

Hi Everyone! Thanks for sending in your registration materials. Some of you requested a bit of extra time, and I granted that time. Keep them coming.

Please be aware that I have no secretarial staff for this. It is a one-man operation, so allow me a bit of time to process all the applications before sending out confirmations. If you have not received confirmation by Sunday, send me a note. Until then, hold off on sending me emails asking for confirmation.

One more thing. Save next Friday 25th October at 5:00pm to 6:30 pm for another pizza meeting at Doheny Intellectual Commons. This one must be attended by all registered teams as it includes the safety and production briefing that all participants should see before starting to make films.

Thanks!

-cvj

Not too late to form a team!

Hi everyone! I’m getting emails with registration packages, so thanks! I’m also getting clarification questions, and so forth. That’s good too. It is not too late to form teams.

Things to remember:

(1) Do let me know if you’re still having difficulty tracking down teammates and I might be able to help.

(2) If you are close to forming a team but need a little bit more time to nail things down, or gather all the information for your registration, etc… Let me know by the end of today and I can extend the deadline for you a little bit. Let me know.

(3) As a reminder, the competition rules and notes on eligibility and how to register are here.

Good luck!

-cvj

Idea Exchange Success!

usc_science_film_competition_meet_up_2Last night’s event was a success! There were about 30 people in attendance, and although some had to leave early, we had a great “speed-dating” event, with people meeting each other, exchanging ideas about films, and exhanging contact information to followup and form teams! Thanks for coming. Please email me to be put onto this blog to continue to process of finding teammates and exchanging ideas through the list of users!

-cvj

Meet and Greet!

The date and time of the meet and greet to come share ideas and meet potential teammates from all over USC is Friday 4th October 2013, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm, at the Doheny Library, room DML 233 (Intellectual Commons). I’ll try to run it as a sort of speed-date event – should be fun. There’ll be pizza and drinks, and to help me figure out how many pizzas to order, please send Clifford Johnson an email ( johnson1 [at] usc [dot] edu ) to let me know you’re coming, by Thursday 5:00pm if you can. Or… comment on this post if you’re on the blog.

See you there!

Also, see this post on the facebook page (or directly here) to see the CU@USC interview with cvj and also Simon Wilches. Be sure to look at the part with Simon, where he talks about his experiences collaborating with various USC students to make the film. It’ll give you a good idea of what can happen in your collaboration this year!

Best,

-cvj

Working with Teammates – Interview with Student Filmmaker on CU@USC

cuatusc_interviewWondering what it is like to collaborate with people from other majors on making a film? You can get a lot of insight into how much fun and rewarding it is by watching the part of the interview on CU@USC last Tuesday where Simon Wilches-Castro (SCA student) comes on and talks about his experiences collaborating with a Dornsife science student, a Thornton music student, and a Dornsife writing student to make his film! Scroll to timepoint 16:20 on the film here (uses flash, so might not work on some devices).

Watch the whole interview for some of my own thoughts on the point of all this, and also what I like to bring to the table when I work with filmmakers, as a scientist. Think less fact-checker, more imagination-stimulator and story-enhancer.

-cvj

Special Meetup Event!

Still working on the details, but mark your calendars with an event in the early evening of Friday 4th October, to be held at SCA. There’ll be pizza and drinks for all, so send me (johnson1 [at] usc [dot] edu) an email to let me know you are coming to help me guess numbers. What’s the event? Well, the idea is to help people get together to meet each other and exchange ideas about possible film you might make for the competition…It is an opportunity to meet people with whom you might form teams! So tell all your friends, and come along, and you can hear idea, suggest ideas, come up with them on the spot, or just hang out… You’ll come away with a list of contacts that you can then stay in touch with and follow up to form teams for registering later in October (the 16th).

(Of course, don’t forget to sign up to be on the list of users on this blog to also let people know you’re looking for teammates.)

Spread the word!

-cvj

Showcase Success!

The showcase last night was a great success! Thanks all of you for coming, and congratulations to all the participants in the competition (even if you did not get to submit a final film), as well as the winners of prizes. And thank you all for participating and keeping the idea alive!

More later…

-cvj