Encounters with Global Change Scientists" is the
brainchild of the series' producer and co-director, Rita Chang. Before
becoming an earth science teacher at Wellesley High School, Ms. Chang
spent twenty years as an executive and entrepreneur-for-social
benefit in the health care delivery field, including starting up two
non-profit medical service organizations that brought physician services
underserved populations, and serving as their chief executive officer.
In her last position, Ms. Chang was Executive Director for the Center
for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School where
she met and worked with world renowned scientists in the global change
field. To promote better scientific understanding, Ms. Chang organized
educational forums -- congressional briefings, media breakfasts, a
New England Town Meeting on Climate Change, a two-day Intensive course
for congressional aides -- that brought eminent scientists to the
"big-wig" politicians and policy makers as well as the public.
Ms. Chang has now brought the same caliber scientists -- with their
big picture view of what is happening to our planet -- to the most
important audience of all: young people. Working
closely with Alan Fine during the editing process, Ms. Chang oversaw
the scientific and educational content of the films, including choice
of images, photos and illustrations (including some of her own) and
the use of chapter stops and video clips to help teachers use the
material as they see fit. Ms. Chang is a graduate of Hastings High
School, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Johns Hopkins University and holds
a Masters degree from the School of Public Health at the University
"look" and "feel" of the film series, DVDs and
website for "Classroom Encounters with Global Change
Scientists" belongs to independent filmmaker, Alan
Fine. Not only did he co-produce/direct and edit the shoots, bringing
a film makers’ professionalism to the series from the get-go,
he also authored the DVDs' interactivity, so all Classroom Encounters
® DVDs have a chapter stop for each topic, question and
answer for easy teacher/student/viewer access. To
see screen menus, click
Mr. Fine brings a varied
background to this endeavor. He currently consults for Paramount
Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and DreamWorks Animation,
and has been a standup comedian who was a winning contestant on "The
Dating Game," appeared as an actor on "Cheers"
and other shows, and has sold five screen and teleplays to Hollywood.
Mr. Fine learned film and television production, filmmaking, and
directing while assisting executive producers and directors at Universal
and Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles. He became a Development Executive
for Mercedes Entertainment and Carmen Culver Films, and directed infomercials
for Roth Advertising.
He has directed several on-its-feet readings of his original play
in Manhattan, is a member of the Neighborhood Playhouse Workshop there,
and is currently the director, editor and DVD interactivity designer
of the Classroom Encounters series.
Mr. Fine is a graduate of Hastings High School, Hastings-on-Hudson,
NY and Tufts University, Medford, MA.
for more on Mr. Fine)
9th grade earth science classroom at Wellesley High School doubled
for a set in three shoots.
was filmed in the Little Theater at Wellesley High to accommodate
Kerry Emanuel of MIT, one of the world's leading experts on hurricanes,
came to to Wellesley High School for the fifth shoot in February,
2006. You may have heard him on the radio or seen him on TV during
the record breaking Atlantic hurricane season last Fall, 2005. He
is the author of the newly released book, Divine Wind, The History
and Science of Hurricanes, by Oxford University Press and was recently
interviewed by the The New York Times (January 10, 2006).
possible and with permission, Ms. Chang and Mr. Fine use original
student art and music in the finished products. Cick
here for the Student Gallery.
graduate of Wellesley High School, David Thonis, now at the Rhode
Island School of Design, created the "floating earth" logo
for Classroom Encounters, which is also used as the
cover art for its DVDs.
Students operate additional
cameras to round out the professional film and audio crew. To ensure
the entire team acts as a single unit, Mr. Fine prepares story boards
accessible via a password protected site on the Internet, and spends
time before each shoot debriefing the crew. He works closely with
students especially, demonstrating how to capture the professional
shots required, and during the shoot, he "calls the shots"
over wireless headsets worn by each crew member.
Below are samples of storyboards used to convey the needs of the project
to the crew members. To see some of the student storyboards, click