Monday, May 16, 2011

Blue World takes home three Emmys!

This weekend was a whirlwind for the Blue World team! A few months ago we found out that we were nominated for six New England Emmy Awards. Saturday night was the moment of truth--to find out if we won anything! Six nominations is quite an honor all on its own, but taking home an Emmy award is an incredible thrill!

By the end of the awards ceremony we had taken not just one Emmy, but three! The first was in the Best Segment category, for a segment about lobsters that was filmed in Maine. (You can watch it on-line here.) Next we won for Best Children/Youth Program with our Antarctica episode! (Part 1 is on-line here. Part 2 will be posted next month.) The interesting part of winning these two awards is that one is a general audience (adult oriented) award, and the other is a children/youth category. By winning in both, it just goes to show what our fans already know: this is a program for all ages. Anyone that is fascinated by the underwater world likes Jonathan Bird's Blue World.

At the very end of the evening was the announcement of the nominees for Best On-camera Talent/Host and I was nominated. I was up against some very well-known and talented hosts and I was pretty sure I had no chance. My heart was pounding as they opened the envelope...and read my name! Our whole team jumped up and screamed! I won it! For a guy that has spent 20 years behind the camera, imagine my surprise to get an award for a role in front of the camera!

That was the third Emmy of the evening for Blue World. We had a great time after the event was over--taking pictures. Between all the team members, we had an unbelievable 18 Emmy Award statues to take home. They barely fit in the car! And of course the next day we had a celebratory party. Today is just another day at work...but the work is finishing off the editing for season 3--our best yet. Look out Emmy Awards next year!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Final Shoot of Season 3!

It is with mixed feelings that I report Cameraman Tim and I have just finished the final shoot of season 3 of Jonathan Bird's Blue World. On the one hand, I'm excited that we have finally finished and we will soon be releasing the episodes to public television, international television and the web. But on the other hand, it's a little depressing to be finished. After all, we had a lot of fun doing it! We have been in production for about 18 months on what will be 24 more segments (9 half-hour programs). The finished programs are scheduled for delivery to the closed-captioning service in June.

Anyway, the final shoot was a half day at Sea World in San Diego, following up on a stranded pilot whale named Sully. We first met Sully on Curaçao at the very beginning of our season 3 shooting in October, 2009. He had recently stranded on a beach there. After George Keiffer and his team of marine mammal specialists at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium nursed him back to health, they tried releasing him into a pod of pilot whales, but he wouldn't go! He followed the boat back to the aquarium, and set a new speed record! After multiple attempts to re-introduce Sully into the wild failed, they gave up and started looking for a permanent home for him. They just didn't have the space in Curaçao at the Sea Aquarium.

Sea World in San Diego volunteered to take the 1,000 pound whale. So they flew him to San Diego! There, after doing hearing tests, they discovered what was wrong with Sully--he couldn't hear very well. As a result, he could not catch his own food using echolocation. That was why he was starving and stranded, and that was why he wouldn't go back to the wild. Sully would die if released, and he knew it. So Sea World offered Sully a second chance at life.

We spent the morning with Booker Crenshaw (one of Sea World's PR reps) and Sully's trainers at Sea World, learning how they feed him, play with him, train him and rub him down. He has grown by several hundred pounds since he arrived at Sea World, and has become quite used to people. I actually think he is a ham on camera. He seems to enjoy sticking his head out of the water and looking at the camera. Once Sully gets to a certain level of training, he will be introduced to the other two pilot whales at Sea World. And they are females, so who knows, maybe in a few years there will be some little baby Sullys swimming around!