Friday, February 18, 2005


I've written a lot of video scripts over the years. I got my first professional writing job in Colorado, writing science scripts for public school educational videos. I worked for a small production company where I also learned how to shoot and edit these programs. My boss and I became friends, and we would roam around the Rocky mountains in his truck, looking for shots of vascular plants or the changing aspen leaves, listening to Lyle Lovett and talking about his favorite author, William Faulkner.

I struggled to write those scripts. Piles of biology textbooks, hours of research at the library. Revision after revision. I wanted to write programs that would inspire, would make the audience weep. Not science videos for tenth-graders to fall asleep to in Miss Crump's biology class. It was tough.

Looking back, I really don't think much about the writing. Instead, I think of the time my boss and I ran down a dirt road high in the mountains, trying to get a shot of a hawk in a tree. I remember being offered a cappuccino by an orderly while filming a man being "violated" during a cryogenic prostate surgery. And I remember the "power lunches" my boss and I would take, where we would sit for hours and talk about life and God and Jasper Johns and video equipment.

I don't know if I'll ever write those scripts that will inspire people. But I do know that I was inspired while writing some rather dry science videos over a decade ago.

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