Weird Science | Update from the EIFF Screenwriter-in-Residence

Krysty Wilson-Cairns is the inaugural Edinburgh International Film Festival Screenwriter-in-Residence. Here’s Krysty’s first blog post, sharing what she’s been up to since starting work with Edinburgh’s universities in October 2016.


Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 2016 EIFF Screenwriter-in-Residence

As someone who often deals in make believe, I thought I might have some sort of authority on the odd, the magical, and the weird. But after a few weeks into my time as the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Screenwriter in Residence I realize that the authorities on magic, oddness and utter weirdness are very much the scientists. And they are wonderful.

You’ll have to excuse me if I get a little sycophantic here, but when you meet people who are dedicating their lives to things like curing kidney disease or Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to not want to put them on your shoulders and parade them through town for being total heroes. Since I lack upper body strength, I plan on doing a little of that parading here, and of course in my work as a screenwriter.

As I’m embedded with some of the foremost universities in the country, I’ve been treating my year long residency as an academic year, so here follows my update as I come to the end of term one.

The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt University, and Queen Margaret University, or The Fab Four as I like to call them, have opened their doors to me, and like a muggle that has been invited to Hogwarts, I’ve mainly spent these last few weeks mouth open, oscillating between, “really?” and “wow.”

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people who are working on bio-mining asteroids; creating of gel matrixes, which will hold stem cells and allow us to print organs; fellows working in the field of acoustics and using computer models to create sounds that have never, ever been heard before; and this list could go on, and on, and on.

The areas and fields covered by the fellows and researchers at The Fab Four are so vast, and wide, and like the universe still expanding. I am a science-fiction nerd in a candy shop. There has been a character idea, or a story, or an incredible concept in every single meeting. Story ideas abound, and I’m sort of hoping someone at one of these fantastic Universities perfects human cloning, I’m afraid I won’t have the time to tell all the stories I’m going to have by the end of term three.