Olson is an independent filmmaker who was formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire. He received his doctorate in biology from Harvard University in 1984. He is the writer-director of the feature films Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedyand is the author of the book Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. His production company, Prairie Starfish Productions, is based at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Olson has presented his work to numerous government agencies and universities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.