Production Journal: Dec. 3, 1994

One of the constraints on the script is to use the helicopter with maximum efficiency. It is the most expensive single item in the program. We are planning to group most of geology in the first half of the program, and the chopper is necessary only for geology -- it is the way the scientists get around to observe various places on the lava field. Some features are miles away from others, and in some cases a hike is next to impossible. Our primary helicopter sites are the bench at Kamoamoa, the skylight (wherever it turns out to be) and Pu'u O'o, the most active cone in the area. We plan to move from one to another as quickly as possible, breaking into the presentation whenever the aircraft is in position.

The other concern is with action: the law of the land is no lecturing, but we still have a substantial amount of educational background to communicate. Not every kid is going to have been given weeks of preparation for the telepresence. It is a challenge to figure out how to work in the teaching points without breaking the flow of the unfolding story. Ideally, the program should just roll from activity to activity, never coming to a halt to hear someone stand there and just talk. Always we should be seeing the actual processes, and if there is some background to clarify, it has to be in relationship to the action on the screen.

The third big constraint is time. There is a huge agenda for the hour, and each scientist is probably holding cards we haven't even seen yet. We are blocking out by the minute how much time for each activity. There are not very many minutes to go around. Take out nine minutes for Q & A, seven minutes for the Lava Crane and Marsakhod combined, a minute for each of the interactive exercises, four minutes for the storyteller, and about three minutes for introductions and transitions, and we have what journalists call a "news hole" of a lot less than the hour. Actually it is not much more than half the hour that can be, using the term loosely, "scripted".

JASON VI Home Page


JASON Project Logo

JASON Project homepage || Teachers' Guide || Students' Corner || Search

Gene Carl Feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (