Volume I, Issue V
Entertainment Industries Council

A SPOTLIGHT Message from Brian Dyak

EIC President and CEO

A twist on a classic is one of the most rewarding ways to try something novel while staying relatively comfortable.  Think about Cherry Coke, Korean tacos or White Panda re-mixes - all start with something familiar and give it an extra kick or a bold new sizzle.  The stories and fast facts featured in this, the fifth issue of Spotlight On...Engineering,

Watching the Emmy Awards a few weeks ago, it was clear that the "formula" (fresh twist + something classic) equals success!  Modern Family demonstrate how tying engineering, science and technology into storylines can add a burst of unexpected excitement or a new angle to some of our favorite tales. took a traditional family sitcom and added gay parenting, blended families, and a close-knit extended family of multiple generations.  The result was three Emmy Awards: Outstanding Comedy Series, Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Writing for a Comedy Series.  Read on for twists on stories about summer camp, breaking away from a placid life and getting in trouble with Mom. 

Don't miss...
14th PRISM logo_Thumbnail

The 14th Annual PRISM Awards TV Special - airing begins on September 18th.

Click here for the airing schedule.

The PRISM Awards, which is produced by the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and FX, honor actors, movies, music, media and television's top shows that accurately depict and bring attention to substance abuse and mental health issues.

Hosted by Nancy O'Dell, this year's show helps to introduce the Ready on the S.E.T. and...ACTION! Initiative by tying science, engineering and technology to the treatment of substance abuse and mental health. 

As Nancy says at the beginning of the special,
"it's worth noting that the treatment of any illness, whether it's heart disease or drug addiction or bipolar disorder, requires new developments through a combination of science, engineering and technology. So throughout the show, we're going to pay tribute to unique breakthroughs these fields have made to wellness."

Click here for a list of the 14th Annual PRISM Awards Winners.

Real Story: Roger Burgess
Creative Applications - An Unusual Start
Real Story: Kelly Schable
Creative Applications - Holiday time and Summer fun
Past Issues
Did you know...

+ a music video was recently created with NO lights or cameras?  Radiohead's video for the song "House of Cards" was made entirely with 3D imaging technology from Geometric Informatics and Velodyne LIDAR. Music Video Director James Frost remarked how different the set was with mostly engineers - no cameras, no lights.  "Roll Computer" is definitely a change from the traditional "Roll Camera" heard on set.  Check out the revolutionary video on YouTube.

+ Eglin Air Force base recently had a posting for a position that required an "expert in very small unmanned air vehicles?"  The man for the job? Ken Blackburn, an aerospace engineer who is arguably the world's foremost expert in the smallest of unmanned air vehicles - paper airplanes.  As a boy who couldn't afford much more than plain paper, building paper airplanes kept Ken creative and engaged.  Ken broke his first world record for longest time in flight at age 20 and holds the current Guinness Record with an in-air record of more than 27 seconds.  If that isn't expertise, I don't know what is!


The deadline for the Call for Entries for the first ever S.E.T. Awards has been extended!

The Science, Engineering and Technology (S.E.T.) Awards are EIC's latest recognition program, and the first to honor productions that address science, engineering and technology.  The winners of the S.E.T. Awards will be those production companies and individuals who successfully demonstrate how science, engineering and technology are exciting, engaging, and powerful, all while entertaining audiences.

Click here for submission information.

Real Stories
Roger Burgess

Boeing Tool Engineer
A.A. Tool and Manufacturing Technology
B.S. Industrial Technology     

As a boy, Roger loved playing with the tools of his father and grandfather, who were carpenters.  One weekend, when the two men were pheasant hunting, Roger tried to build a footstool.  When they returned, his dad praised the rickety stool but showed him how to make it sturdier.  They finished it that night and Roger was hooked on the mechanics of construction.

As a student, Roger's favorite question was "why?" because he always wanted to know how things worked.  He chose non-fiction books about how engines were built over fiction stories and he loved to work with his hands, taking apart everything to see how it worked, including an entire lawnmower! 

Roger decided that he wanted to go to college, but he had no idea what field of study would interest him until he discovered the Tool and Manufacturing Technology program at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC).  He graduated with an Associate's degree and worked in various machine shops but he soon realized that he did not want to limit himself to working in one shop, doing the same things, for the rest of his life.  Roger went back to SIUC and earned a B.S. in Industrial Technology.  After graduation, Roger began his career as a tool engineer for Boeing, a profession he describes as a lifelong education. 


+ Not every engineer starts their education as a freshman in an engineering program at an Ivy League school.  Roger took a passion for tools and building and got himself an Associate's degree before going back to school to pursue tool engineering.  Consider depicting a boy who loves hunting and building with his grandfather, growing up to work as an engineer for a sophisticated aerospace or biomedical company.


+  Like Roger learned, engineering offers a career path that has almost no limits.  When he thought he was going to be stuck doing the same thing every day for the rest of his life, Roger went back to school to become an engineer.  The story possibilities of second-chances are endless.  Imagine a character who is sick of the mundane and chooses engineering as a way out!

Kelly Schable

Boeing Account Manager, 737 Customer Engineering
B.S. in Aero
space Engineering
M.S. in Systems Architecture & Engineering with a specialization in Engineering Management
By the time Kelly was in the fourth grade, she had mastered all the projects in her house that had to do with putting things together.  So, for Christmas one year, she asked for a chemistry set and a microscope. Surprisingly she received both. After hours spent mixing things together (and turning her mother's carpet blue) and looking at every insect she could find under the microscope, Kelly proudly told her fourth grade teacher during "career day" that she wanted to be a scientist. 
During her junior year of high school, her math teacher told Kelly that she should become an engineer.  Kelly is from a small, rural and economically depressed region of the country where there were no engineering jobs within 200 miles of her hometown. That summer, a teacher sent her to an engineering camp at the University of Illinois. When she returned home, Kelly told everyone that she wanted to be an engineer.  They all laughed and asked which railroad company she was going to work for and if she was excited to drive trains.  Kelly knew then that she would have to move far from "home" to find an engineering job.

In college, Kelly studied aerospace engineering and it was the toughest four years of her life.  During her first internship, she worked on spacecraft for NASA at a company in Colorado.  That summer, she learned how to translate classroom theory to the real world and also what it was like to live far away from home.  "It was awesome.  I took on several other internships and upon graduation, I moved to the West Coast to start my career in engineering," Kelly said. 

Kelly loves her work as an engineer, especially as an aerospace engineer.  Not only is the field challenging, complex, and rewarding, but she believes that she is helping to make the world not only a better place, but a smaller place by helping to connect families, businesses and cultures from around the world. 

Creative Applications

+ So many great children's movies feature a magical moment at Christmas and most television shows have a special holiday episode.  Consider depicting a moment like Kelly's, when a gift is literally life-changing.  The possibilities of trouble-making on-screen hilarity are endless when science and an excited child are combined!

+ Coming of age stories are classics.  Kelly's life took a new turn when she went far away to an engineering camp at the University of Illinois.  Consider depicting a traditional story - teenage summer camp - with a twist: engineering!

+ Many great plots begin with a "country girl" moving to the "big city."  Kelly had to leave behind her home and move many miles away to chase her dream career.  Consider making the next heroine of a romantic comedy or "fish out of water" story an engineer. 

Need Ideas? Writing tips? Statistics and facts? 
Want to incorporate the newest engineering technology into your show?

First Draft for the Ready on the S.E.T. and...Action! Initiative is a service that links YOU, the creative community, to science, engineering and technology experts during the development and production of entertainment content.

So far, over a dozen Boeing engineers have been trained to provide advice and suggestions to entertainment industry professionals interested in engineering.

Interested in learning more about how our
First Draft program can contribute to your next story line?  Click here.

In  case you missed them...

Issue I
Issue II
Issue III
Issue IV

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And for more information about the Entertainment Industries Council's Ready on the S.E.T. and...ACTION! initiative to raise awareness of science, engineering and technology through YOU, the creative community, click here or on the image below.


Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

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Burbank, CA 91523
Phone | (818) 840-2016
Fax | (818) 840-2018
E-mail |

East Coast
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Reston, VA 20190
Phone | (703) 481-1414
Fax | (703) 481-1418
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