Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom

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Overview

Wildlife and nature films are a hugely popular entertainment genre: networks such as Animal Planet and Discovery are stars in the cable television universe, viewers flock to IMAX theaters to see jaw-dropping footage from the wild, and the venerable BBC still scores triumhs with series such as Planet Earth. As cinematic technology brings ever more breathtaking images to the screen, and as our direct contact with nature diminishes, an ever-expanding audience craves the indirect ...

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Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom

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Overview

Wildlife and nature films are a hugely popular entertainment genre: networks such as Animal Planet and Discovery are stars in the cable television universe, viewers flock to IMAX theaters to see jaw-dropping footage from the wild, and the venerable BBC still scores triumhs with series such as Planet Earth. As cinematic technology brings ever more breathtaking images to the screen, and as our direct contact with nature diminishes, an ever-expanding audience craves the indirect experience of wild nature that these films provide.

But this success has a dark side, as Chris Palmer reveals in his authoritative and engrossing report on the wildlife film business. A veteran producer and film educator, Palmer looks past the headlines about TV host Steve Irwin's death by stingray and filmmaker Timothy Treadwell falling prey to his beloved grizzlies, to uncover a more pervasive and troubling trend toward sensationalism, extreme risk-taking, and even abuse in wildlife films. He tracks the roots of this trend to the early days of the genre, and he profiles a new breed of skilled, ethical filmmakers whose work enilghtens as well as entertains, and who represent the future that Palmer envisions for the industry he loves.

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Editorial Reviews

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Praise for Shooting in the Wild

“A well-reasoned yet passionate argument for changing wildlife filmmaking practices and creating ethical guidelines, this is an accessible and engaging read.” —Library Journal

Library Journal
Exposure to the elements, long periods in close quarters, and danger are all involved in the making of wildlife films. Veteran filmmaker Palmer (director, Ctr. for Environmental Filmmaking, Sch. of Communication, American Univ.) takes readers behind the scenes and explores the history, processes, and current debates related to this complex field. Within the chapters covering the basics of filming animal life, Palmer intersperses stories from other producers and directors about, e.g., on-screen talent bringing questionable clothing to a remote shoot and Grizzly Man subject Timothy Treadwell's tragic death. Palmer makes clear the challenges of creating films that are entertaining enough for wide distribution yet capable of educating audiences on environmental conservation. VERDICT Less an exposé than a well-reasoned yet passionate argument for changing wildlife filmmaking practices and creating ethical guidelines, this is an accessible and engaging read. Recommended for fans of Animal Planet and conservationists.—Kimberly Bartosz, Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578051489
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,421,947
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Jane Goodall xiii

Preface xix

Introduction Movies That Can Change Your Life 1

1 State of The Art The Many Faces of Wildlife Filmmaking 11

2 How Did We Get Here? A Brief History of the Business 31

3 Behind The Camera How Wildlife Films Are Made 52

4 The Money Chase Finding Funds without Selling Out 78

5 Cult of Personality The Celebrity Connection and Presenter-Driven Shows 90

6 Audience Abuse Staging and Other Deceptions 102

7 Too Close For Comfort What Filmmakers Do for the "Money Shot" 124

8 Nature Porn and Fang TV The Temptations of Sex and Violence 145

9 Sins of Omission Leaving Conservation Behind 154

10 Doing It Right Profiles in Ethical Entertainment 167

11 The Way Foreward How Wildlife Films Can Make a Difference 180

Acknowledgements 199

Notes 202

Index 215

About The Author 223

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2012

    Great insight from a great environmental filmmaker

    Chris Palmer has long been one of the great environmental filmmakers, first at national environmental/wildlife groups and now at American University's environmental film center. This wonderful book entertains with captivating stories but also informs with "how to" explanations and discussions of the ethical issues involved in "shootng n the wild." I recommend the book highly, and after reading it, see some of Professor Palmer's films.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2010

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