Today’s Solutions: January 30, 2023

You can change your character with your mind. Think about that. What kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want to be? These are the questions Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards, addresses in her latest video The Science of Character (watch it below) released today. Shlain took some time to answer a few questions about her latest project and impact she hopes her film will have on the global community.
Why did you create this film? What was the source of inspiration?
Tiffany Shlain: “When it comes to my films, I am always trying to better understand things. I had seen some exciting scientific research about character development and when I learn of something really interesting my first instinct is to translate that information into a really accessible film.
“I’m interested in translating complicated ideas in visual, compelling, and engaging ways. The social science and neuroscience behind how to develop one’s character is fascinating. While there are some in the education field talking about it, I wanted to bring this conversation to the masses.”
How long did it take to make the film? How many people worked on the project?
TS: “It took a year to make the film. We take the science in our films very seriously so we spent a lot of time trying to get everything exactly right on the science and then bringing it to life creatively.  We had a core of 10 people working on the film including the writing team, an animator, and sound designer. In addition to the team, we also worked with a lot of researchers and scientists.”

What impact do you want to have on your audience? Ideally, how do you want the film to change them?
TS: “We are hoping people take a pause in their very busy lives, – take a moment to reflect and learn about ideas surrounding ‘character.’ I’d love for people to think about their own strengths, the strengths of the people around them, and then the things that they want to work on in regards to their character.
“It’s so interdependent on elevating yourself and the people around you. The website for The Science of Character has all of these cool tools that are very tactical: a periodic table of character strengths and curated lists of films, books, apps, and games all sorted by character strengths.”
What’s next for you? What projects are you working on for the future?
TS: “We are just starting pre-production on our fifth film in the Let it Ripple series. It will explore both the evolution of the brain and explore what you need to flourish in the 21st century. It’s called The 21st Century Brain. Each of these short films, will be the backbone to a bigger documentary we are making about “what does it mean to be human in this century.” I’m aiming for this 5th part in the series to launch on Character Day [March 20] next year.”
Need more optimistic science news? Find them in this free issue.

Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

An easy hack to counteract the harmful health effects of sitting all day

Humans are not designed to spend the entire day seated. Nonetheless, billions of us do it at least five days per week, as Western ...

Read More

How to change people’s minds without triggering a negative response

People don’t like being told what to do. There’s even a word for it: reactance. “Psychological reactance is a negative emotional state that we feel ...

Read More

The secret to happiness may be a bit of practice

For thousands of years, humans believed that emotions were predetermined hormonal responses out of our control, but in recent years researchers are beginning to ...

Read More

Pennsylvania schools doubled their solar power in the last two years

Renewable energy production is taking off in the Keystone State. A new report from the nonprofit Generation180 reveals that Pennsylvania schools doubled their solar ...

Read More