The redemption of the magic cone snail

At the end of 2015, we spotted that our local branch of the British Science Association was running their own science film competition and had an open call for entries. This seemed like an ideal opportunity to put our earlier ideas to the test by making a real product so we thought we would enter.

At first, we didn’t have a strong idea for the content of our film. We played around with various approaches but they weren’t sticking until we strayed into a half-remembered line of thought about snail-mating and the fact that some land snails fire a “love dart” into their partner prior to copulation. Inevitably, this led to us watching some fairly un-edifying youtube videos of horny snails, because, well, why wouldn’t it…

Luckily we managed to find our way, via some tangent or other to the improbable world of the highly venomous sp. Conus marine snails. And thence to the charming story of the scientist who has made their study his life’s work. This also took us both back to our undergraduate studies (biochemistry and pharmacology) so we were pretty happy with our serendipity!

A few sleeps later, we decided that what we really needed was a song. So we wrote one. Together. Sitting at my dining table compiling verses and revelling in terrible rhymes – does neurotoxin really rhyme with concoction? Well, it does if you’re us!

Liz came up with a once-heard, never forgotten tune for it and we co-opted our friend, and fabulously talented Red Boot Band band-mate Pam to help us arrange, perform and record it.

In addition to all that, was the small matter of the animation and making the world’s first singing cone snail puppet (and if anyone knows any different, we would love to hear about it!).

So after some weeks of intensive spare-time film making, here’s the completed film.

Oh yes, and we were pretty delighted when it won a prize – you can see us and the other winners and find all the films here: http://bscia-bsba.org.uk/event/bristol-science-film-festival/

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