So here’s the deal: I’m fucking bored with all the CG dinosaurs running around on the TV box these days. So I’m teaming up with some dino buddies and we’re making a spec doc that we’re going to try to develop into a TV series. I’ve created a blog where we’ll be putting various production materials and giving/getting feedback. Check it out, read our mission statement, RSS it, and let us know what you think as we put stuff up. We’re open to ideas and we hope you’ll hold us to a high standard of quality and scientific accuracy:
Yeah, yeah I know, CG dinosaurs sometimes ‘look cool’ but very very rarely move well or act like real animals. Furthermore the docs that feature the CG dinos often present speculation as fact, make stupid shit up, and just strait up get stuff wrong. I call it ‘bullshitting’, and I generally don’t like motherfuckers who do it, especially to children.
Turns out, I’m not entirely alone in my weariness of CG and bad paleo docs. Paleontologists galore are also often regularly frustrated and disappointed by the shows they often advise on but have too little say in the creative process to be able to do anything much but blog about it. They work hard to discover rad stuff, and then give their time and energy advising on documentaries who often ignore what they say or even actively misrepresent them. It sucks.
On top of that there’s a diversity of talented animators out there who are skilled in a variety of mediums, who understand behavior, story and the drama of survival, and who could make much more interesting animation than the void-of-substance CG that has risen to ubiquity in recent years. With the advent of digital technology the push has been to digitize as much of the workflow as possible, and aim at an impossible level of ‘photo realism’ instead of figuring out interesting ways to hybridize and streamline beautiful traditional techniques with digital technology to (perhaps even more efficiently) present original art to the public. And that’s the thing – it’s all just ‘art’. It’s never going to look like the real animals because nobody’s ever seen the real animals. And from what I can tell, the only visual goal of ‘photorealistic’ CG is to try and look like something real THAT NOBODY’S EVER SEEN. That’s just fucking dumb. Stop wasting all that time and money.
Ultimately, what compels me most is that there are more certain truths about dinosaurs and other extinct animals that these docs could elaborate on in a gripping way, but that are completely overlooked in favor of that ever elusive “cool factor”. What I’m talking about is the fact that these were real animals, that went through gnarly harrowing shit in order to survive for millions and millions of years. They were parents, hunters, victims of natural tragedy and witnesses to the incredible beauty and vivacity of life. They struggled with so many of the same basic challenges that we do; trying to find food, a mate, a safe place to live, and they dealt with these challenges in amazing brilliant ways, many of which are actually recorded in the fossil record!
Thanks for reading. If you have the time, check out our production blog – we need your critical input!