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Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom Paperback – May 11, 2010
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A well-reasoned yet passionate argument for changing wildlife filmmaking practices and creating ethical guidelines, this is an accessible and engaging read.” Library Journal
More About the Author
Over the past thirty years, Chris has spearheaded the production of more than 300 hours of original programming for prime time television and the giant screen IMAX film industry. His films have been broadcast on numerous channels, including the Disney Channel, TBS, Animal Planet, and PBS. His IMAX films include Whales, Wolves, Dolphins, Bears, Coral Reef Adventure, and Grand Canyon Adventure. In the course of his career, he has worked with the likes of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Ted Turner, and Ted Danson.
Chris's career as a film producer began in 1983 when he founded the nonprofit organization National Audubon Society Productions, where he served as president and CEO for eleven years. In 1994, he founded another nonprofit film production company, National Wildlife Productions (part of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation organization in the United States), which he led as president and CEO for ten years.
Chris serves as president of One World One Ocean Foundation and the MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, which produce and fund IMAX films on conservation issues. MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world's largest and most successful producer of IMAX films.
Chris also serves on American University's full-time faculty as Distinguished Film Producer in Residence at the School of Communication. In 2004, he founded AU's Center for Environmental Filmmaking, which seeks to inspire a new generation of filmmakers and media experts to produce informative, ethically sound, and entertaining creative work that makes a difference.
His 2010 book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom (Sierra Club Books) was described by Jane Goodall as "a very important and much-needed book." Now in its second printing, Shooting in the Wild (along with a film version produced for PBS with Alexandra Cousteau) pulls back the curtain on the dark side of wildlife filmmaking, revealing an industry undermined by sensationalism, fabrication, and animal abuse.
His new 2015 memoir, Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King (Bluefield Publishing) criticizes mainstream television networks for producing wildlife films which harass animals, deceive audiences, and harm conservation efforts. Jean-Michel Cousteau called Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker "fascinating reading," and Ted Danson described it as a "must-read for all who care about the natural world." In the Foreword, Jane Goodall describes the book as "courageous."
Chris's forthcoming book, Now What, Grad? Your Path to Success after College (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), switches gears from wildlife films to another passion of his: teaching and inspiring young people. The book guides recent graduates who may have learned practical skills in school, but have no idea how to succeed and find fulfilment in the real world. It focuses on the crucial skills that schools don't teach, including how to organize a job search, how to ace interviews, how to manage time and stress effectively, how to lead, how to run a meeting, how to survive a bad performance review, how to speak powerfully, and how to network.
Profiles about Chris have appeared in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He has been interviewed on the Today Show, ABC Nightline, NPR, the Fox News Channel, and others. He publishes articles regularly (including a bimonthly column on "best practices" for Realscreen Magazine) and serves on the boards of fourteen nonprofits.
Chris is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and film festivals. He regularly gives workshops on a variety of topics, including how to radically improve one's success and productivity, how to raise money, how to give effective presentations, how to network effectively, and how to motivate and engage students. He recently spoke at TEDxAmericanUniversity. For five years, while teaching at AU, he was a stand-up comedian and performed regularly in DC comedy clubs.
Chris and his colleagues have won numerous awards, including two Emmys and an Oscar nomination. Chris has also been honored with the Frank G. Wells Award from the Environmental Media Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media at the 2009 International Wildlife Film Festival. In 2010, he was honored at the Green Globe Awards in Los Angeles with the award for Environmental Film Educator of the Decade. In 2011, he received the IWFF Wildlife Hero of the Year Award for his "determined campaign to reform the wildlife filmmaking industry," and in 2012, he was named the recipient of the Ronald B. Tobias Award for Achievement in Science and Natural History Filmmaking Education. He received the 2014 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching at AU, the 2015 University Film and Video Association Teaching Award, and the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival.
In his twenty years before becoming a film producer, Chris was a high school boxing champion, an officer in the Royal Navy, an engineer, a business consultant, an energy analyst, an environmental activist, chief energy advisor to a senior U.S. senator, and a political appointee in the Environmental Protection Agency under President Jimmy Carter. He has jumped out of helicopters and worked on an Israeli kibbutz.
Chris holds a B.S. with First Class Honors in Mechanical Engineering from University College London, an M.S. in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture also from University College London, and a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University where he was a Kennedy Scholar and received a Harkness Fellowship.
Born in Hong Kong, Chris grew up in England and immigrated to the United States in 1972. He is married to Gail Shearer and is the father of three grown daughters: Kim, Christina, and Jenny. He is currently writing a book about how to be an effective father. He and Gail have endowed a scholarship for environmental film students at AU to honor Chris's parents and to encourage the next generation of storytellers to save the planet.
Top Customer Reviews
I even think it could be used as a tool for businesses and educators to open a dialogue on the ethical dilemmas within their field-to ask the question, "where do WE draw the line?".
I am starting right now to incorporate the author's 8 Steps to Wildlife Filmmaking Reform into my own professional goals!
As I read the book, I was blown away by how much depth Palmer brings to the subject of environmental filmmaking. While I loved the stories about working with celebrity hosts and rampaging animals, I was most impressed by the insightful look into the ethics of filmmaking. I had never realized all the complicated issues filmmakers must face when dealing with wildlife and the environment.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you're at all interested in film, the environment, or anything in between, you must read this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sometimes all an idea needs for a full expression is an article or an essay. A book can be overkill, and in fact, be put aside because it labors the point. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Conrad J. Obregon
This book sheds light on what really takes place behind the scenes in the making of wildlife films. It examines the history of the industry and exposes some of the controversial... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kent Wagner
Chris Palmer combines the inside knowledge of a consummate industry professional with the concerns of an ethicist in this superb look at the world of environmental and wildlife... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Burt J. Kempner
I'd always suspected that much of what we see in wildlife film and television is too good to be true. Read morePublished on September 19, 2013 by Stephen A. Rust
Over decades of watching wildlife documentaries, I had never heard (or registered) Chris Palmer's name. Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by Yeti
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in making wildlife films or simply being a better-educated viewer of them. Read morePublished on March 28, 2011 by B. Sabin
A fascinating and revealing journey into the world of wildlife filmmaking. With courageous honesty, gripping stories, and the integrity to occasionally self-criticize, Palmer gives... Read morePublished on January 8, 2011 by Jonathan Balcombe
With masterly precision, Chris Palmer slices through the myths and misconceptions surrounding natural history film making to reveal a genre that is often either an impostor or a... Read morePublished on December 22, 2010 by Dennis Aig
This is a well-written and entertaining book detailing the ins and outs of nature videographies. Written by an insider, Mr. Read morePublished on November 5, 2010 by booksy