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Randy Olson

author, "Houston, We Have A Narrative"; Prairie Starfish Productions

Randy Olson

Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson is the writer/director of the documentary features, “Flock of Dodos:  The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus” (Tribeca, Showtime) and “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy” (Outfest).  He is the author of “Don’t Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style,” “Connection:  Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking,” and “Houston, We Have A Narrative:  Why Science Needs Story.”  His pioneering work in the communication of science has won zero awards, major funding or official recognition from the science community, though plenty of rebuke.

Currently he is the Director of the Story Circles Narrative Training Program.  The training has been introduced to over 1,000 scientists and communicators, with 15 Story Circles having been completed (circles involve 5 people meeting for 10 one hour sessions) with USDA, USGS, USFWS, Univ of Maryland, Tufts University, and Genentech.  He is very much a believer in the power of narrative and in fact, if you found the previous paragraph annoying, you probably don’t understand narrative and need to do Story Circles.

Dr. Olson was formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, having received his PhD in Biology from Harvard University.  After leaving science he moved to Los Angeles where he received his MFA in film production from the University of Southern California.  Through his Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project he produced a series of comic short films for the oceans starring Jack Black, Melissa McCarthy, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, and a large number of comic actors from the Groundlings Improv Comedy Theater including Brian Palermo who co-authored “Connection,” and continues to teach improv to the science community.

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