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Author: Subject: Film about amateur scientist
flyingant
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[*] posted on 14-7-2011 at 09:46
Film about amateur scientist


Apologies for a non-scientific post. We are filmmakers based in the UK and want to make a short film about an amateur scientist (focusing specifically on chemistry). We were interested in this forum for its description of, What is Mad Science? where “the lab is a shed, basement, bedroom, or garage, and the fumehood is the great outdoors.”

Ideally, we are looking for someone based in Europe who may be older in age, retired from their profession and who is not very well known to the general public/ media. They may be an ex-teacher or live a slightly reclusive or eccentric life. It is their love of chemistry and experiments that we are most keen to portray in the film.

We are not intending to make a film for TV broadcast, but rather an artistic documentary portrait: a film that is visually and aurally exciting, celebrating chemicals and their reactions, with the charm of the improvised equipment purpose built for these experiments, and which ultimately captures the enthusiasm of the amateur scientist at work.
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hissingnoise
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[*] posted on 14-7-2011 at 12:06


So what you're really looking for is a gregarious recluse . . . ? :D

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flyingant
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[*] posted on 15-7-2011 at 01:16


Yes, sorry if our post has a slightly oxymoronic ring to it!?

I suppose we are looking for someone who has character, certain idiosyncratic traits and querks but may be reclusive in regards to their obsession with their chemistry work. Also that they are not actively seeking to be in the 'media' or had much if any media exposure.

That last comment probably sounds a bit contradictory when we are inviting someone to 'perform' in a film which we would like to screen to an audience one day... but then, I should emphasise that we're a very small outfit, aiming for very small audiences at art/ film festivals or societies.
:)


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Rogeryermaw
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[*] posted on 15-7-2011 at 07:45


sounds like a fantastic idea as long as you are not attempting to dupe someone into performing for you and then portray them as a "mad bomber terrorist" or "drug cook". these people have already given legitimate home chemistry a bad name and for that reason you will be hard pressed to find many people who would willingly and openly invite a film crew into their lab.

the large percentage of us who practice would prefer to stay under the radar as the public has already been told what to think of us by the governments' media shills. with such damage already having been done, i doubt very seriously that any amount of "positive light" will ever shift the public opinion of the home based experimenter.




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Fleaker
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[*] posted on 15-7-2011 at 16:38


I think Woelen would be perfect! He's as meticulous as any, exceedingly well-educated, and passionate about chemistry! He is basically a professional among amateurs and a true enthusiast and afficionado of the chemical arts.

flyingant,

seek out his website.


I think it would be interesting if the portrait featured all different flavours of amateur chemist, from schoolboy to college student and professor to old man who always wanted to do science as a hobby but never could until late in life.




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"Kid, you don't even know just what you don't know. "
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flyingant
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[*] posted on 16-7-2011 at 01:43


Quote: Originally posted by Rogeryermaw  
sounds like a fantastic idea as long as you are not attempting to dupe someone into performing for you and then portray them as a "mad bomber terrorist" or "drug cook". these people have already given legitimate home chemistry a bad name and for that reason you will be hard pressed to find many people who would willingly and openly invite a film crew into their lab.

the large percentage of us who practice would prefer to stay under the radar as the public has already been told what to think of us by the governments' media shills. with such damage already having been done, i doubt very seriously that any amount of "positive light" will ever shift the public opinion of the home based experimenter.


Thanks for your view on this Rogeryermaw, point taken. We're definitely not aiming to dupe anyone into looking like a "mad bomber terrorist" or "drug cook". That is not our interest at all. In fact the more we have been looking into this the more we are realising that this is a hobby that gets very bad press and is sadly less celebrated. I understand your cynicism in that no "positive light" will shift public opinion of the home based experimenter but we would like to rise to the challenge!
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flyingant
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[*] posted on 16-7-2011 at 01:46


Quote: Originally posted by Fleaker  
I think Woelen would be perfect! He's as meticulous as any, exceedingly well-educated, and passionate about chemistry! He is basically a professional among amateurs and a true enthusiast and afficionado of the chemical arts.

flyingant,

seek out his website.


I think it would be interesting if the portrait featured all different flavours of amateur chemist, from schoolboy to college student and professor to old man who always wanted to do science as a hobby but never could until late in life.


Thanks for the suggestion Fleaker. We'll pursue this. Your suggestion for the film is much appreciated too. At the moment, we're just at the beginning stages and it may well grow into something more depending on who we find who would like to contribute. Looking at our original post, we suggested someone older in age/slightly reclusive/eccentric, etc. We realise this is a bit restricting and in fact you're right. It would be great to find a range of ages where the main criteria is that it is home based therefore illustrating the idea of an enthusiast in the chemical arts.
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tmb
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[*] posted on 16-7-2011 at 02:40


What other films have you made?
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kryss
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[*] posted on 16-7-2011 at 06:01


I think an amateur (even disregarding the security aspects) could run foul of all sorts of legislation, from Health & Safety, COSSH, regulations about disposal of waste (even innocuous waste). The other thing any one working in the field any any professional capacity is likely to be compromised.
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flyingant
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 02:41


Quote: Originally posted by tmb  
What other films have you made?

This is the last film we made
http://flyingant.org.uk/semangat.html
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tmb
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 03:32


Thanks, it looks good. Microcosmos meets D'autres mondes?
Have you seen this? (about ants) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozkBd2p2piU

Anyway, good luck with the film.


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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 07:18


I'd have loved to volunteer for this but I'm too professionally involved to have my mug shot exposed on film... :(
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 09:49


Quote: Originally posted by flyingant  
We are not intending to make a film for TV broadcast, but rather an artistic documentary portrait: a film that is visually and aurally exciting, celebrating chemicals and their reactions, with the charm of the improvised equipment purpose built for these experiments, and which ultimately captures the enthusiasm of the amateur scientist at work.

Just in case you are not aware of it yet, there is a documentary film about Alexander Shulgin, an industrial chemist who after retirement set up his own home lab and made the most brilliant amateur research in the chemistry and activity of psychedelic compounds. He did this out of amateur passion, but nevertheless published most of the results in the academic literature (which is a combination quite rare for amateur chemists who rarely publish anything at all, let alone in scientific journals). His amateur work was the basis of later professional research work of several top medicinal chemists (like D. E. Nichols, R. Glennon and many others) and allowed the development of several highly selective 5-HT2 receptor ligands, many still used to this day and of great value for biochemists and brain researchers. He is also quite a known name among organic synthesis chemists and it is not unusual to hear remarks from colleagues about doing a chemical transformation "a'la Shulgin", because he developed and popularized some now widely used methodologies.




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Mildronate
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 10:54


Shulgin is the best:)
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Megamarko94
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 11:17


where can i watch film about alexander shulgin...



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Satan
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 11:42


Quote: Originally posted by Megamarko94  
where can i watch film about alexander shulgin...

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=where+can+i+watch+film+about+alexander+...
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 11:45


It's only been shown at public screenings so far.

There has been talk about a DVD release, but no dates have been released.

You can follow their news releases at http://www.facebook.com/DirtyPicturesTheFilm.
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Megamarko94
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 11:45


Quote: Originally posted by Satan  
Quote: Originally posted by Megamarko94  
where can i watch film about alexander shulgin...

haha funny....

[Edited on 17-7-2011 by Megamarko94]




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tmb
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 12:15


DVD release? Why don't they just upload it to rapidshare?
What a horrible title. An admission of guilt? Improper research? I can't imagine that's his opinion.
Keep people waiting. Make them subscribe. Create a cult of followers, rather than share the story.

Maybe the people who made the film don't share his outlook? Or is he more into the minor-celebrity game these days?
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 12:25


Quote: Originally posted by tmb  
DVD release? Why don't they just upload it to rapidshare?
What a horrible title. An admission of guilt? Improper research? I can't imagine that's his opinion.
Keep people waiting. Make them subscribe. Create a cult of followers, rather than share the story.

Maybe the people who made the film don't share his outlook? Or is he more into the minor-celebrity game these days?


If you mean the title Dirty Pictures, it's a joke by Shulgin.

He refers to molecular sketches as dirty pictures, suggesting that to a chemist they're like nudes in the sense that they're exciting and beautiful.
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 12:29


I stand corrected! Haha. I created a conspiracy in my mind.
Nevermind me. Maybe I should watch the film?
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 12:33


Quote: Originally posted by tmb  
I stand corrected! Haha. I created a conspiracy in my mind.
Nevermind me. Maybe I should watch the film?


Shulgin is an excellent and genuine character with a great sense of humor.

I'd love to see the documentary. I really can't wait for the DVD.

Anyway, we're pretty off-topic now. Back to lurking.
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 13:35


i'm not volunteering anyone and my apologies if i offend (peach) but peach is a fantastic chemist and is UK based. his videos covering his work on low cost vacuum pumps and some of his recent synthesis work are just fantastic. the following is a link to his you tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/lexichronicle2

he may be a bit younger than you are looking for, but if you should choose a range of ages (which i feel would be beneficial since our hobby covers a wide range of people of all ages and backgrounds), then i think that the work he has produced and shown makes him a choice candidate.

there are many fine chemists here, but since location is a consideration, and i am not sure about all of our members that may reside in the UK, and blogfast has already expressed his reasons not to be involved, there you have it.

[Edited on 17-7-2011 by Rogeryermaw]




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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 22:39


I have written an e-mail in which I express my intent to cooperate with this project. I staill have some questions and there are some practical issues, but my intent is to say 'yes'.

I think this is a nice project and based on what I read here and the mail I received flyingant looks to me as a honest person, who really wants to make a positive documentary on home science.

It would be a good thing if more people cooperate. The success of this project depends on the availability of sufficient participants and such a project gives us a chance to really show a good side of home science (such as the wondering about Nature, the enthusiasm for doing experiments and finding out things, the ingeniousity of people who construct beautiful things with only very limited resources available). Of course, one such a documentary will not radically change the public opinion, but it may be a nice light in a sea of darkness and when questions are asked we can point others to this documentary.




The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
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hkparker
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[*] posted on 17-7-2011 at 22:50


I'm too far away, too young, and too inexperienced to be filmed or anything, but I will do anything I can to help if there is anything I can do, feel free to ask.

Edit:
on an unrelated note, should we move this to whimsy?

[Edited on 18-7-2011 by hkparker]




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