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Re: Taking control of the documentary situation, an immodest proposal



  I am currently on a dino-doc at as an Art Director/Character Designer as well 
as writing and storyboarding.  This is my first time ever working in a TV 
environment.  Two things that I noticed right away was the lack of time and the 
lack of money.  What we would do in a feature movie is done by TV crews with 
1/100th of the money and less than half the time.  Sometimes these shows are 
conceived and produced in under eight months and if that show has any decent 
animation that timeline is really difficult. 
  I have passed on Matt's blog to the big wigs and they are reading it.  I'm 
even sending some of the constructive comments from this list.  

  For me, having watched (and own) so many of these things what sets a good doc 
apart from a bad one is cautionary language.  If the talking head says "maybe, 
perhaps, could have, we don't know for sure" and those are kept in the edit 
than any flashy animation that follows just looks like a best guess rendering 
and not fact.  Either that or admit that what you are about to see is 
conjecture, something that WWD could have done even though they wanted to 
create the illusion of a real nature doc...which is actually pure fantasy no 
matter what you do!  Of late my favourite doc was the Nova Four 
"Four-Winged-Dinosaur" show!
I can't attest to what happens to the comments of the talking heads and where 
all of that goes wrong because as of yet our show has none.  Thom, Mike and 
others have eloquently commented on their experience being front and center in 
this debate.  Being on the side of the Evil-Doers I feel like I should 
contribute more to this conversation.  Some of you have emailed me off list 
about my opinions as well.  I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me... and 
I also have very little credibility anyway because of that whole talking 
Iguanodon business.  
  All I can do is hope my passion for dinosaurs inspires others to learn more 
about the facts.  I would not care about science AT ALL if I hadn't witnessed a 
little rubber ape beating the crap out of a little rubber three fingered tail 
dragging T.rex while a nubile maiden screamed in horror all in the name of 
entertainment.

D

  

On Dec 16, 2009, at 6:24 PM, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> 
> dale mcinnes wrote:
>> 
>> I like Paul's proposal. But producers can easily sidestep this. Perhaps
>> there is another
>> way? Something that would really be a lot of fun. Sticking a knife to
>> every producer that
>> misrepresents the science of palaeontology. They do it for cars. They do
>> it for movies. Get together the real academics for a scathing critique on
>> every new dinodoc that goes awry. BE TERRIFYING. BE BRUTAL. You may have
>> to piggyback a film critique show. Let
>> them know you 're available when a dinodoc surfaces. It adds to their
>> show. RIP THE DOCUMENTARY APART ...... if you have to.
>> 
>> The real problem of course. We don't fully control our field. We don't
>> have our own palaeodoc industry. We are not a franchise. We work for
>> outsiders ..... Universities,
>> gov't ...........
>> 
> I can say from extremely recent (like, 5 minute ago) experience that there
> are production teams who are paying very close attention to this on-going
> discussion on the DML and Vertpaleo lists and are concerned!
> 
> -- 
> 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
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
> Fax: 301-314-9661
> 
> Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/
> Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
> 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
> 
>