Alter the Future™

A contest that challenges the public to create their own narrative endings to favorite films through a plot twist that turns on renewable energy technologies that change the outcome of the movie.  

Problem: New cognitive behavior and neuroscience research emphasizes the importance of emotion and the value of “the story” over information content in changing behavior. In George Marshall’s Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change (p. 105), he says, “Stories perform a fundamental cognitive function: They are the means by which the emotional brain makes sense of the information collected by the rational brain.”   In other words, climate communications strategies that focus on scientific and technical content at the expense of narrative disregard the emotional drivers of change.

Concept: To test the hypothesis that narrative offers a more “brain friendly” way to change attitudes and behavior around climate change, Alternate Endings proposes a narrative crowd sourcing model that blends creativity with science in a format that appeals to both the rational and emotional sides of the brain:  A national contest that challenges the public to create their own narrative endings to favorite films through a plot twist that turns on renewable energy technologies that change the outcome of the movie.  For example, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” would have turned out differently had the human colony considered the multitude of renewable energy sources available in deserted San Francisco.  This idea builds on established and growing Internet trends as web users produce their own videos based on movies or TV shows, sometimes called “supercuts,” which can be found on YouTube, with millions of viewers.

Implementation: Alternate Endings is a joint effort by the AISDevelopment Corp, in partnership with the Center for Small Business and the Environment (CBSE) and FerroProductions.  AISDevelopment is a small, woman-owned, HUBZone company, based in Taos, New Mexico that creates new ways to think about and solve the complex challenges of equitable socio-economic development and climate change.  The CBSE mobilizes the economic and political powerhouse known as small business on behalf of environmental protection.  FerroProductions was founded by Joseph Scacciaferro, current CEO and President, and recognized leader in the entertainment industry for innovative broadcast and digital video production. Mr. Scacciaferro has been honored with 9 Emmy nominations and 5 Emmy awards for his accomplishments in both video and music production.

The initiative entails: an Internet platform for contest information, submission of narratives, participant assistance and collaboration, and social media strategy; promotion of collaborations between scientist and artists; an expert panel of judges comprising energy technology experts, entertainment industry representatives, and venture capitalists; winners will have the opportunity to produce their alternate ending and/or a visit an R&D facility, backstage, celebrity scientist or Hollywood writer, or other reward to be determined.

Results: The project offers a way to combine creativity and science in a format that is highly popular and accessible, while offering education on video production and energy technology that inform participants and the public. The project will create an innovation ecosystem in which ideas, community connections and new narratives around energy technology are continually generated, which inform the communications, policy, social, health, technology and science communities, and with the potential for marketable innovations to emerge. The concept is scalable to other interest driven arts and sciences learning.

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Contact: Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin, President, AISDevelopment, 571-276-4683, Cecilia@ais-development.com

Photo by Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin, Taos, NM 2015