Film internship: Research Assistant position

Opportunity Description:

The web series, CURIOSITY: The Making of a Scientist, is a unique research project encompassing storytelling, science communication, and documentary filmmaking. CURIOSITY takes us into the labs and lives of scientists to dispel stereotypes and reveal the human side of those who practice in the field. The goal of the series is to explore what motivates and is involved in choosing a career in science, what inspires scientific investigation, and the nature of curiosity itself.
CURIOSITY is an interdisciplinary project that speaks to a broad public audience, as well as to a collaborative creative team. Mentored by Professor Nancy Kawalek, and postdoctoral scholar Dr. Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar, the core team is comprised of undergraduates from diverse disciplines across the campus. This mélange affords the project a broad perspective, and the best of both the science and art worlds.

Primary Responsibilities: 

The undergraduate research assistants hired through this program will be the creators of one or more episodes of Curiosity. They will be directly involved in every step of the daily hands-on work of making the series. They will learn what makes for good storytelling, as well as the technical aspects of videography. They will also conduct research to
gain a basic understanding of core scientific concepts relevant to each episode’s featured subject. Students already at work on this project find value in the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in their courses to the practical research of a creative endeavor.
In terms of the technical aspects of videography, there are four main areas in which the research assistants will contribute to the project: cinematography, advanced editing, sound design and/or music, and animation techniques. From these four areas, they will be encouraged to choose one or more that align with their interests. They will be expected to take initiative and research, explore, and prototype methods of content creation that are different from traditional documentary filmmaking.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Experience required for this position includes one or more of the following skills. Students with a strong interest in the subject matter and a willingness to learn will also be considered seriously.
• Interest in documentaries, documentary filmmaking, and/or science communication
• Experience using digital cameras (DSLRs) for videography
• Editing skills with software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro
• Sound design, and/or editing with software such as ProTools
• Familiarity with lighting techniques in a variety of environments and situations
• Interview skills
• Musical composition (for scoring episodes) and/or other musical skills
• Animation techniques

Preferred Skills: 

We are accepting applications from third- and fourth-year students, and, on a case-by-case basis, freshmen and sophomores with broad experience in filmmaking. Due to the exploratory nature of this project we require students to commit to a minimum of two quarters of work with the Lab. Although we do not offer direct funding, students do receive appropriate production credit (i.e., they will be listed in the film credits), and we do whatever is possible to enable students to apply to the various University funding channels available.

Recommended Training (Optional): 

Basic training for the use of film equipment from the Logan Media Center for equipment access at start of internship.

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

In terms of the technical skills of videography, there are four main areas which the research assistants can choose from(one or more): cinematography, advanced editing, sound design and/or music, and animation techniques. They will also acquire and develop additional tools of documentary filmmaking, e.g., pre- and post-production, interview skills, and color correction. While advancing their technical skills in the different areas mentioned, the students will also experiment with methods of content development, such as various interviewing techniques, analysis of scientific content, and building of a narrative story arc. Students will also experience a content creation process which has several parallels to that of experimental science research in a laboratory.

Application Process: 

If interested, please submit your CV to, along with a short statement
describing either:
● What your previous filmmaking experience entailed, and why you’re interested in working on this project
and in a new way
OR, if you don’t have previous filmmaking experience,
● Why you’re interested in working on this project

Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis. First interviews are held on a rolling basis. As a general rule, therefore, applications should be submitted as early as possible.

Application Deadline: 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 500 Word Statement of Interest

  • Handshake Link: 
    For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

    Nancy Kawalek
    Faculty Title: