Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shark Con - Industry Backlash and Opportunity?

The Shark Con.

As predicted it has aroused quite a L'orage du merde among members of the shark diving and shark conservation community.

If the litmus test for industry anger and backlash could be measured in email terabytes, then this "documentary" would win all manner of awards.

Having not seen the film but watched the evolution of it within the industry I am struck at how fast some of those involved with the film are running for the hills. Disavowing their on screen presence and soft pedaling their way out the back door.

You either support a film or you do not. As far as media is concerned you are defined by it.

This is a statement we made about this production team and their circle of friends in 2009, and it still stands to this day.

Far too many within our industry try and have it both ways, acting as conservationists and then wholeheartedly endorsing, supporting, and enabling shark productions that, in a time of a well defined shark crises, do nothing for sharks and everything for those that buy and sell shark productions for profit.

There are persistent rumors that some featured in this film had its intent misrepresented on the front end, thereby were sandbagged for their on screen quotes.

Regardless of the films doco circut run and laurels for "being selected," the current news (?) that has many in a righteous fury is that this film is now going to see a prime time run on a major network.

Opportunity?

The opportunity exists for those involved with this film to step back and reconsider.

It is one thing to produce a well researched, well balanced documentary with serious voices who can speak to the often byzantine and complicated issues of commercial shark diving, shark conservation, and shark media. It is another to Michael Moore your way though a tantamount wildlife issue in the time of crises with "colorful onscreen characters."

The Shark Cons responsibility to a wider uninformed audience is to present real and lasting facts.

As the industry knows, the general public, as far as shark facts are concerned will believe almost anything regurgitating factoids about sharks around office water coolers for years to come. It is conservations greatest challenge surmounting these man made hyper perceptions we often see on Shark Week, making The Shark Con an uncertain commodity in a time of wildlife and oceans crises.

Read Public Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour Towards Sharks and Shark Conservation.

One year ago this same team enabled this production on the Today Show, leaving many to wonder if they possess the media wisdom to truly pull off - The Shark Con:

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