Both science and science fiction have found a home in the video scripts I've been hired to write. The video work has proven to be great fun, and — like the astronomy shows — demonstrates that I work well with visual media, especially when dealing with topics that spark my own interest and curiosity. Opportunities to do this kind of work don't occur often enough, though I'm endeavoring to expand the breadth and scope of my work in this medium.
(For information on my favorite work in front of the camera, go to this section of the Astronomy page.)
I scripted the following videos featured in Star Trek: Federation Science, the internationally traveling science education exhibition produced by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The videos star the following actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation and were recorded on appropriate Enterprise sets at the Paramount studios.
Of course, Patrick Stewart is marvelous in this video that welcomes us and sets the mood for the whole experience. Simultaneously casual and captain-like, he places the exhibition's topics (today's discoveries leading to tomorrow's adventures) into a personal and historical perspective — urging us to imagine what our world might be like in the real 24th century by thinking about how different today's world is from that of 400 years ago, the age of Shakespeare and Galileo.
He was a real pro — giving a strong, relaxed performance despite the fact that he was doing it all gratis. And you bet I love hearing my words attached to his voice.
Brent Spiner (as Commander Data)
Brent Spiner insisted on doing this one as Data, whereas the other three actors chose to appear as themselves. This made for an interesting writing challenge: what would Data say to us that was both in character and appropriate for this context? So in this video Data shows us the connection between the explorations of science and the driving spark of imagination — one thing he needs in his quest to understand the human experience.
Levar Burton — sans visor — takes us through a tour of space flight concepts, including the speed of light, the meaning of "light year", and possible modes of future interstellar propulsion. The script doesn't sugar-coat the difficulty of travel across interstellar distances, though Mr. Burton tells us that some "loophole" or new breakthrough in the laws of physics might open up a galaxy of possibilities — and the discoverers of those possibilities might be today's young visitors to this exhibition.
Within days of shooting this video, he also gave us Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous, a production that had me on conference calls with him throughout long hours of going over the script.
Gates "Dr. Crusher" McFadden tells us about the pioneering advances being made today in medical and biological sciences. By the end, the audience is aware (I hope) that the "medical miracles" seen on Star Trek will probably look quaintly old-fashioned well before the 24th century.
While working on these scripts, I was also writing and directing the aforementioned Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous show, and composing the interpretive copy for the exhibition. In Orion Rendezvous, Jonathan Frakes makes a cameo appearance as Riker, and Majel Barrett Roddenberry plays the Computer Voice, just as she did since the beginning.
I scripted videos that are part of OMSI's More Power to You!, an interactive project (funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities) that details the electrification of the Portland area and the Pacific Northwest. Each of these is more interesting than its title implies. It was my job to see to that.
Portland Becomes Electrified
The History of Portland Gas & Electric's Station L
Electrifying the Future