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Re: Seven Rules for Making a Science Documentary

--- Andrew Simpson <deathspresso@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Good Article. I would ad not making the documentory
> about yourself. So many I see today, desperate for
> fame et all, inject themselves into every other shot
> as if their reactions are more interesting than the
> subject itself.
> Case in point. Saw an doc about an uninhappitated
> island in the galapoges that is near impossible for
> a
> human to get on and off of. The documentarian got
> left
> on the island and would not be able to get off for
> 30
> odd days. Though his story was certainly a part of
> the
> over all tale I watched more because I was
> interested
> in the envirenment and the animals. Especially an
> eel
> that comes out of the water to grab crabs. The guy
> was
> so obsessed with his own inane ramblings that he
> focust less than five minutes on the animals and
> only
> seconds on the eel he had been dangling in the
> viewers
> face from the beginning of the edited film. 
> I was incensed enought to want to write a letter to
> the national Geographic Society as their name was a
> part of the production. 
> Has anyone noticed this trend? Am I making an issue
> out of something that is not really that big of
> deal?
> I hope I'm not going as coo coo as that guy on the
> island did about 20th day on the insand?


No, you're right about the focus shift. Many a
Discovery Channel documentary seems to put an
inordinate amount of focus on the narrator rather than
the subjects. I blame Steve Irwin's Crocodile Hunter
for this. As much as I respect what Irwin has done
over the years, his onscreen antics (which he was
doing long before they started filming it) wound up
becoming just as entertaining to watch, as the
creatures themselves. Apparently many in the
documentary community (does that even exist?) seem to
have taken this to mean that people want to watch
other people all the time. 

They even did this with some of the dinosaur/paleo
docs. There's Chased by Dinosaurs with Nigel Marvin
"starring" in it, along with an Animal Planet doc that
talked about ancient giant creatures (animated with
some remarkably bad CGI). That, too, had a human
host/star (Jeff Corwin).

On the bright side, the BBC still seem to keep things
pretty focused on the subject matter at hand. At least
the Attenborough stuff still does. 


"I am impressed by the fact that we know less about many modern [reptile] types 
than we do of many fossil groups." - Alfred S. Romer

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