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Re: Matt Wedel on the perils of doing documentaries

So paleontologists agree to be on TV programs, put in lots of time and effort, provide images, papers, photographs, spend long hours in front of cameras, and then end up decrying what was done to them and explaining to list members how things went wrong. This pattern is repeated again and again. So the lesson learned is ????????? As Nancy Reagen quipped "Just say no."

Next time someone's approached to participate in a series, maybe the people putting the program together should be shown Matt's blog about his experience and asked, in writing, "what will you do to assure that this doesn't happen to me?" Alternatively, if they want to buy your talking head to use as they wish, compensation should be commensurate with the distortion. If you can't take money directly, have them donate to support your research program. If they plead poverty, ask to see the salaries being paid to the production staff, money spent on food, hotels, etc. The cash is there.


Andrew Simpson wrote:
I was so exited when I stumbled upon Clash of the Dinosaurs. I watched Perfect Predators. My sis was there to hear me counter much of the science. There was one or two things that were interesting enough that I didn't know for sure one way or the other and wanted to ask ya'll on the list about said but those questions are forgotten. Something about T-Rex I had never heard before. Oh and I'm not sure I believe a Quetzalcoatlus could leap into the air so easily. Did it really have super fast twitch muscles? Even if it had I think it would have needed some hops to get going. Even the bad CGI seems to suggest this. And why do we think it was a baby eater? It might have been but have we found babies in it's tummy? In the end I had to turn off the series 5 minutes into the 2nd episode for the reasons stated. Bad science, repetitive narration and the pain of watching the same 5 clips shown over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over was too much for me. When a dinosaur fiend like myself can't watch you're dinosaur show then you get an epic FAIL as your grade.
Andrew Simpson

----- Original Message ----
From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@umd.edu>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu; VRTPALEO@usc.edu
Sent: Tue, December 15, 2009 6:30:14 AM
Subject: Matt Wedel on the perils of doing documentaries


Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu    Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216 Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661
Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:    Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
            Department of Geology
            Building 237, Room 1117
            University of Maryland
            College Park, MD 20742 USA