I think of myself first and foremost as a storyteller, in the most ancient sense of that word. Though the mediums in which I most frequently work all depend on various forms of modern technology, my sense of myself as an artist is rooted the tradition of oral storytelling that predates nearly all technology. Charles Darwin famously said the only two things which differentiate human beings from other animals are language and fire, and I try to keep my work grounded by thinking about how I would tell a particular story using just those two things. Our species has told stories around campfires for tens of thousands of years, and whether working on a project on 16mm film or an immersive digital experience, I try to focus on the story first, and remember that the technology is only the campfire around which it will be told. Most of my work is concerned in one way or another with science and technology, and how those fields shape and are shaped by the world of human experience. My interest in these topics stems from my background in the sciences and science communication, but as an artist I am neither a cheerleader nor an evangelist on science’s behalf. Instead I am interested in probing the deeper questions that scientific inquiry can raise: why do we seek an empirical, verifiable knowledge of the world, what drives us to investigate and explore, what lengths will we go to to acquire technological power, and at what cost will that power be purchased? I am interested in exploring these questions through speculative and historical fiction, as well as through modern documentary, because I think that imagined futures and remembered pasts are really just lenses through we which bring our jumbled present into focus.
Included here is some of my work, both for the page and for various kinds of screens…
Spec Feature Screenplays:
A pair of star-crossed lovers must smuggle a mysterious suitcase from Kentucky to California with the Russian Mob, the FBI, and the hounds of hell on their heels.
The true story of Douglas Mawson, an Australian polar explorer whose 1911-12 expedition to Antarctica became an epic struggle for survival, a tale which Sir Edmund Hillary called “the greatest survival story ever told.”
A science-fiction film about a mafia hitman hired to hunt down a band of extraterrestrials fomenting unrest on the 1960s New York City waterfront.
These short scripts are what I refer to as “etudes,” scripts I wrote specifically for use in teaching short film production courses. Because of the difficulty students face in trying to write as well as direct, shoot and edit short films of their own, I wrote these three scripts, which are designed to be used as exercises. These are intentionally crafted to be films that can be made by student teams on shoestring budgets using student actors, without any complex logistical or safety issues (no weapons, no vehicles, etc.) I refer to them as “etudes”, a reference to short musical pieces designed for study, a form which was embraced by many of the great composers.
This is an abridged cut of a short documentary I am currently editing about a public awareness event held by a group of biologists in 2017. I plan to begin submitting a final version of this film to science-themed festivals in 2019.
Changing Our Relationship with Science:
This short documentary piece was one I produced in 2013 in collaboration with colleagues at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C.
This is a series of informational films created by myself and a group of students working in my lab, in collaboration with a scientific institute at the University of Connecticut.
This is an immersive Virtual Reality experience and an experimental form of scholarly communication. The experience recreates the ceremony marking the 16th-century coronation of Emperor Charles V. I served as Director of this project for the first 18 months of its development.