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March 15 2014 7:09 AM

How Does Acting for TV Differ From Movies?

Answer by Jason Bateman, director/actor/producer, Bad Words:

Q: What's the difference between acting in television versus film?

A: In television, actors have a great advantage if they want to transition into directing, because we work with a ton of directors. In regard to directing in film, directors don’t work with other directors, so they have no idea if their process on the set is slow, fast, inspiring, boring, etc. We get to cherry-pick those things.

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March 14 2014 9:17 AM

What's It Like to Be a Female Movie Star?

Answer by Mayte Michelle Rodriguez, actress, writer:

Q: What’s it like to be a famous female action-movie actress?

A: It's like being a zoo animal. Sometimes you walk down the street as the paparazzi follow you around with their cameras screaming your name while you're trying to run errands or get some air. It can get crazy and frustrating, but I asked for it. So, I try to smile as much as possible and be grateful.

March 13 2014 8:02 AM

Why Is Making a Good Comic Book Superhero Movie So Difficult?

Answer by Mark Hughes, blogger, sold a few options on screenplays, doctored and edited some screenplays that were produced:

If you're talking about the entirety of the history of the superhero genre—since, say, the start of the real development of it as a true lasting genre in cinema that began in 1978 with Superman: The Movie—then it's true that the 35-year history of the genre has seen ups and downs. Consider a little history first.

March 12 2014 8:58 AM

What's It Like to Sail Around the World?

Answer by Kate Addison, sailor, accountant, and hopeless wanderer:

I sail as a purser aboard Barque Picton Castle, a traditional square-rigged sail training ship best known for her global circumnavigations; it takes us about year to sail around the world. And what better way to spend a year? 

Trainees don’t need any sailing experience to apply—they just have to be ready for the physical and social demands of living and working in a small ship crossing big oceans. It’s hard work and not for the faint of heart or self-important.

March 11 2014 11:40 AM

What Barriers Keep People From Pursuing STEM Degrees?

Answer by Jessica Su, computer science Ph.D. student at Stanford:

Lack of math skills from high school.

My father is a professor of engineering and routinely sees people mess up fractions and the distributive law. I tutor a high school junior with engineering aspirations, and he doesn't understand why increasing and then decreasing a price by 20 percent doesn't keep the price the same. Of course these people have a hard time in harder classes and have to give up their pursuit of science and engineering.

March 10 2014 11:14 AM

How Does Hollywood Typecast for a Film?

Answer by Andy Pandini, actor:

Fat actor here.

Nearly every actor has a type that determines the roles he or she will get cast in. This is based on looks, age, body composition, hairstyle, and more.

March 8 2014 7:47 AM

What Future Challenges Does the Film Industry Face?

Answer by Mark Hughes, blogger, sold a few options on screenplays, doctored and edited some screenplays that were produced:

I'd say the biggest challenge to the film industry in the future will be addressing the development of interactive technologies in other media. We're reaching a point where the way we interact with our entertainment and media is advancing so rapidly that the merger of augmented reality and entertainment is inevitable, so we'll likely see the rise of interactive media that puts viewers in the middle of stories as active participants who can experience the story through whichever perspective and order they want.

March 4 2014 8:34 AM

What's It Like to Work at the New York Times?

Answer by Ed Sussman, edsussman.com, was executive editor of Inc. magazine, senior editor at Worth and P.O.V., oversaw edit at FastCompany.com and Inc.com:

I have one funny story from my brief time as a clerk for the New York Times in their Washington bureau. This was a long time ago, and I believe the clerk program has since been reformed, but back then, there was something of a hazing aspect to the job.

You worked for 18 months or so doing menial work, then you were rewarded with a tryout as a reporter on one of the desks, usually Metro. You were warned ahead of time—very few tryouts result in job offers, though you made connections that could bring you back to the paper eventually.

March 3 2014 7:36 AM

Should a Commander Be the Last to Retreat From Battle?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

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Answer by Jon Davis, sergeant of Marines, fought in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, amateur military historian:

No. This sounds really noble, but it is in practice only a different way of murdering your own men.

It really isn't that difficult if you think about it. The commanders, assuming we are talking about at least field-grade officers, are the strategic thinkers of a battle. They need to survive, because if they fall, the leadership role shifts to someone further down the experience chain, who will most likely not be able to command with as much ability. This, in the long run, will ultimately result in more death and less victory for your side, though I suppose the last guy will be remembered favorably several decades later if they are still writing books in your language. Now, I am thinking in terms of infantry, but really it doesn't make that much of a difference with the Navy either, in my opinion.

A prime example of this would be Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. As the Japanese continued their conquest of the Philippines, he was evacuated from the island chain to Australia, while his men were left behind. It was a devastating blow to him personally, but it was the right thing to do. He was instrumental in the future of the war in the Pacific, and if he had been lost, perhaps millions more people (mostly civilian) would have been lost if we had had more inferior generals in charge.

Where this does make sense is in civilian shipping. The captain of a naval vessel is the most experienced, and if a sinking should take place, he should be the most capable of orchestrating the evacuation. He is the center point for all operations of a ship; therefore, it is logical that he should remain on the ship long enough to ensure that all passengers and crew are safely off before leaving. This tradition came to the forefront when the cruise ship in the Mediterranean sunk and its captain fled immediately. He was publicly shamed for this choice on top of sinking his ship.

More questions on Military:

March 2 2014 8:38 AM

Would Lord of the Rings Be More Satisfying With a Different Ending?

Answer by Joshua Engel:

J.R.R. Tolkien was a firm believer in "eucatastrophe," or the sudden, unbelievable, positive turn of events, for a simple straightforward reason: It's fun. And also for a not-so-simple reason: because we have to.

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