Week 1 Assignment 1: Wyman

JRN F101 — Media and Culture
Week 1, Assignment 1: Media Literacy/Books
J. Wyman
July 11, 2015

Into the Shark Bite (2010), re-aired Sunday 5 July 2015, for “Shark Week’ on Discovery Channel
Production Company: Creative Differences, based in Los Angeles, CA
Viewed Saturday 11 July from DVR recording, as a TIVO suggested program.

How many cameras, some pretty expensive, can you lose before your production budget is blown out of the shark infested — pun intended — water? And, how much are these “cameramen’ getting paid to risk limb and life for that perfect bit of footage?

Those were my thoughts after I viewed a re-airing of Into the Shark Bite (2010), an action documentary produced by Creative Differences, a Hollywood production company, and featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.’

The documentary follows these guys on their quest to get video from inside a shark’s mouth when it bites. Well, video from this perspective from a few sharks. Of different species. Oh, yeah… stay away from tiger sharks and great whites. Black-tips don’t seem as dangerous after watching this show. Tiger sharks seem especially apt to bite you if they get the chance as they seem to bite (and eat, I assume) most anything — including cameras.

These guys lost a LOT of cameras. Expected, really, when you purposefully toss a fragile piece of equipment into a marine environment so a shark can bite it. I lost track of how many cameras they lost midway through the program but the guys on camera seemed to get more and more concerned about losing cameras as the show progressed.

Before watching this show I guess my worldview was one of being a bit stressed, saddened due to a death in the family, thinking our country is going bonkers these days, wondering how the heck I got four massive welts from mosquito bites when I was out bucking logs for firewood even with a good spraying of DEET applied beforehand, but generally feeling grateful to be alive and outdoors during the day and appreciative of life.

After watching the show my attention and thoughts certainly were more focused on the content of the program and besides my surprise at the number of cameras lost in production, I was thinking how determined humans can be to accomplish a goal, and get so consumed by an idea or objective that people can do some pretty stupid things. Like free diving into a feeding frenzy of sharks to retrieve a camera and getting bit by one or more sharks in the process. But, I also thought without taking initiative and trying different ideas, we, as a species, wouldn’t accomplish as much as we do.

The guys risking, literally, their lives to get the perfect footage from within the mouth of a shark as it bites succeeded in getting some impressive footage. Now, some of the footage they filmed is seen over and over and over again on Discovery Channel and millions of people now have seen copepods clinging onto teeth and pits in shark mouths. And, as a result of their efforts, more is known about shark behavior. I found that aspect of the show intriguing and educational and filed away some of the info for that occasion I find myself plunked into shark infested waters. It was also refreshing to watch a program of this nature versus some crazy and often depressing news report about tragedy in our world or some crazy political issue somewhere.

I don’t think watching Into the Shark Bite changed my worldview significantly or for the long term, but viewing the documentary did distract my thoughts and influence my perspective for a time. My respect for sharks was also reinforced.