David Bruggeman writes about a Google-sponsored scriptwriting competition in an April 28, 2016 posting on his Pasco Phronesis blog (Note: Links have been removed),
At the Tribeca Film Festival last week [the festival ran from April 13 – 24, 2016] Google announced that its CS Education in Media Program is partnering with the website The Black List for a fellowship competition to support the image of computer science and computer scientists in media (H/T STEMDaily). The Black List is a screenwriting site known for hosting the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.
The fellowship could award up to $15,000 for as many as three scripts (one film script and two episodic television pilots). The writers would use the money to support their work on new materials for six months. At the end of that period the writer(s) would present that work to Google along with a summary of how the grant helped advance that work and/or affected their career.
Here’s more about the competition from The Black list website’s The Google Computer Science Education in Media Fellowship Call for Submissions webpage,
The Black List is pleased to partner with Google’s Computer Science Education in Media program to offer financial grants in support of the development of three scripts with a focus on changing the image in popular culture of computer science and computer scientists.
- The candidate must host a script on www.blcklst.com for a least one week during the opt-in period.
- Such script must be original to the candidate.
- The candidate must be competent to contract.
- If selected for the fellowship, writers must develop a feature screenplay or episodic pilot that changes the image of computer science or computer scientists, particular as it applies to women and minorities, in popular culture.
- Further, selected writers must agree that six months following receipt of the fellowship that they will provide a designated representative of Google with a sample of his/her new work along with a report addressing how the grant has been used to advance his/her work and/or impacted his/her career.
Beginning April 20, 2016, users of the Black List website can opt into consideration for this fellowship.
On July 15 , the Black List will short list ten writers based on all data available on the Black List website about their opted in feature screenplays and teleplays.
These ten short listed candidates will be asked to submit one-page biographies, which will be sent to Google along with the screenplays/teleplays.
Google will review these 10 scripts and choose the Fellowship recipients. Google reserves the right to grant no fellowships if, in Google’s opinion, no entry is of sufficient merit.
DEADLINES OF NOTE (ALL TIMES 11:59 PM PT)
Evaluation purchase deadline* June 15, 2016
Opt in deadline July 15, 2016
* In order for new script evaluations to guarantee consideration for this opportunity, they must be purchased by midnight on the Evaluation deadline.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT GOOGLE’S COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MEDIA PROGRAM
Why is Google working with Hollywood?
Google aims to inspire young people around the world not just to use technology, but to create it. To do so, we need more students pursuing an education in CS, particularly girls and minorities, who have historically been underrepresented in the field. Google wants to prepare the next generation for the workplace of the future, and expand access to CS education that engages and retains students from all backgrounds.
- Moreover, Google’s research shows that perceptions of CS and computer scientists are primary drivers that motivate girls to pursue CS. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” as our friend Geena Davis notes.
- Google’s hope is that by dispelling stereotypes and identifying positive portrayals of women in tech it can do for CS what CSI did for the field of forensic science, changing its gender make-up and increasing its appeal to a wider audience.
- Media is part of the ecosystem that needs to change in conjunction with the other areas of work where Google has invested including increasing access to curriculum, non-profit grants, and policy support. If we don’t address the perceptions piece for both young people and adults through mainstream media, we run the risk of undermining our other efforts in CS education.
Background stats on perceptions of CS:
Google’s research shows that perceptions of careers in computer science really matter. Girls who feel that television portrays programmers negatively or who don’t see other students like them taking CS are significantly less likely to get into computing. Interestingly, girls who want a career with social impact are also less likely to go into CS.
Google conducted a research study to identify the factors that most influence girls to study computer science, and the second most important category of factors was Career Perceptions.
- Girls who felt that television portrays programmers in a negative light were less likely to pursue CS.
- If a girl didn’t see the right social crowd in a class — that is, if there weren’t enough students like her — she was less likely to go into CS.
- Girls who want careers with social impact are less likely to go into CS. (It’s clear we need to do a better job of showing how CS can be used to develop solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems.)
- Perception accounts for 27% of the decision making for girls to pursue CS.. #1 factor is parent/adult encouragement which is also influenced by media.
Stats on representation in media:
- Blacks & Hispanics are already underrepresented on-screen 14.1% and 4.9%, respectively.
- Combine this with lack of / misrepresentation of STEM/CS characters in family movies and prime TV, you get STEM characters < 18% women; CS characters <13%.
Proven Success with other Fields:
- Forensic Science – CSI increased the number of forensic science majors in nationally recognized programs by at least 50% in 5 years – a majority being women.
- Law – UCLA claimed a 16.5% increase in law school applicants 1 year after LA Law premiered. Justice Sotomayor credits her interest in law from watching Perry Mason at 10 years old.…
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Go here to register (there is a cost associated with registering but there don’t appear to be any citizenship or residency restrictions, e.g., must be US citizen or must reside in the US. Good Luck!