Friday, 20 June 2014 14:56

Celldance to Bankroll Three Big Microscopic Pictures in “Tell Your Own Cell Story”

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Celldance2014Credit: Artwork by Johnny Chang and text by John FleischmanASCB's Public Information Committee (PIC), the longtime producer of Celldance, is now a microscopic motion picture producer. For Celldance 2014, PIC will commission three "Tell Your Own Cell Story" videos at $1,000 each to be shot on location in the labs of ASCB members. "In a very modest way, we are looking to underwrite cell biology films that balance an accessible narrative, rock-solid science, and awesome imagery," says PIC Chair Simon Atkinson.

The three Celldance Studios video productions are aimed at classrooms and the whole world, Atkinson says. The three ASCB-commissioned labs will deliver a rough-cut of their video to Celldance Studios (i.e., PIC), which will provide post-production services before unveiling the cell story videos at a special live online press conference and at the ASCB/IFCB 2014 Meeting in Philadelphia.

Celldance Studios will directly solicit Tell Your Own Cell Story proposals from ASCB member labs known for their high-quality imaging. "In addition, we are also seeking self-nominated proposals from ASCB member labs," says Atkinson. The deadline for pitching your Tell Your Own Cell Story video proposal to Celldance Studios is July 31. Once commissioned, then each of the three ASCB member labs will be expected to deliver a rough-cut video by October 31.

To pitch your cell story video, send Celldance Studios a short description (800 words tops) or simple storyboard describing the cell story you wish to tell on video. Give the organizers a brief description of your imaging methods, and, if possible, include a link to a sample clip of your lab's video work. (The video clip does not have to be about the proposed cell story but should showcase your lab's technical prowess.) Send your pitch or direct your questions to PIC liaison and ASCB Senior Science Writer John Fleischman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Serving as chair of Celldance Studios is Duane Compton, who outlined the purpose behind the Tell Your Own Cell Story commissions. "As cell biologists, we visualize cells through microscopes and tell stories using video microscopy about how cells move, communicate, and divide," Compton explains. This knowledge illuminates how our bodies grow, develop, and function normally. "These stories also reveal how changes in cell function lead to cancer, neurodegeneration, and birth defects," he added.

Helping labs tell their own cell stories by up-front financing of videos appealed to the PIC as the best way to position Celldance outside the increasingly crowded video contest field, according to Atkinson. "We want to underwrite and promote high-quality video microscopy that shows the essential workings of this most important basic unit of life—the cell. By going directly to ASCB member labs known for their high quality video microscopy, we hope to commission films from some of the leading microscopists working today. By leaving it open to any ASCB member lab to pitch us a proposal, we hope to keep an eye out for new talent," says Atkinson.

For complete information and more details on Tell Your Own Cell Story and the Celldance Studios 2014 Commissions, go to www.ascb.org/celldance.

John Fleischman

John is ASCB Senior Science Writer and the author among other things of two nonfiction books for older children, "Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science" and "Black & White Airmen," both from Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, Boston.

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