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1175Re: "meaningful media"

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  • Mike Murray
    Oct 4, 2006
      My own feeling is that the evolution of fulldome production and funding
      models can (and should) help to advance the professionalism and diversity of
      what IPS does. Securing larger budgets and establishing effective
      collaborations are a part of the picture, but they are also a matter of
      perspective. Museum and planetarium staffs have a long history of finding
      ingenious and resourceful ways of producing content - you don't need a
      million+ dollars to do a good show. It's about finding good talent and
      developing an efficient way to do it right, which leads me to a thought I
      want to share about content creation...

      When the infusion of slide and special effects projectors exploded into
      planetariums in the 60's and 70's, suddenly everyone wanted to be a "show
      producer." Unfortunately, most staff at the time (me included) had academic
      or technical backgrounds but that didn't stop us from thinking we could
      produce great programs. In many cases, we were wrong. Scientific training
      did little to teach us good communication skills or the basics of visual and
      aural literacy. I only learned because my father was a stage actor/radio
      personality and my mother was an artist! And even then I produced a lot of
      crap before getting reasonably effective at it.

      My point is this: We can learn a lot by opening our doors (and minds) to
      other professional organizations and companies that produce similar kinds of
      media. I'm not talking about emulating the inefficient Hollywood model, but
      pulling some of the fundamental elements of cinematic writing and
      visualizing and reshaping them for the dome environment. The planetarium
      business needs to be less like a closed door incestuous industry and more
      "connected" with the larger media world. IPS has already made some great
      strides in that direction by developing closer relationships with NASA, ASP,
      AAS and others thanks to the forward-minded efforts of Martin Ratcliffe, Jon
      Elvert, and Jim Manning. The leaders of fulldome can do a lot to pull IPS
      along in other crucial areas, including those that are not purely
      "educational." I believe it can and should be a symbiotic relationship.

      For what it's worth,

      Mike Murray
      Programs Manager
      Clark Planetarium
      110 South 400 West
      Salt Lake City, UT 84101
      (801) 456-4949
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