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Center for Environmental Fimmaking

Praise for Shooting in the Wild

What people are saying about Chris Palmer's Shooting in the Wild, with foreword by Jane Goodall. Learn more about this book.


"One of the most effective tools for conservation has been the documentary film. Among the pioneers and best exemplars of this genre is Chris Palmer, who knows how to tell a story that reaches both heart and mind. His book is a major contribution to our understanding of the role mass media plays in protecting our planet." -Ted Danson


"Chris Palmer's compellingly readable account of the wildlife film business reminds me of everything I love about nature films, while serving as a call to action to correct its abuses. It will change the way we look at wildlife films." -Richard Leakey


"The ideal wildlife film should enlighten, entertain, alert us to problems, and stimulate us to conservation action, urges Chris Palmer. Anyone who watches wildlife films-and millions do so-must read this perceptive and enlightening book. -George B. Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera, author of A Naturalist and Other Beasts


"Who hasn't wished they could make films about wild animals? Yet how many have any idea what's involved? This is a rare insider's look at the agony and the ecstasy, the pitfalls and the pinnacles, of filming in the wild. And it points the way toward taking the genre to the next level. A terrific view into a hidden realm and an exacting profession." -Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point


"Shooting in the Wild is a fascinating, insightful, and comprehensive story of the thrill and challenge of capturing nature on film ... a thoroughly inspiring look at what can be accomplished and why we should continue to try. It is also a who's who of filmmakers who have profoundly affected our view of wildlife. A must read for filmmakers and for anyone in the audience." -Jean-Michel Cousteau, president, Ocean Futures Society


"Capturing wild animals on film can be a wild and woolly adventure! Readers will experience the myriad trials and tribulations faced by wildlife filmmakers in Chris Palmer's fantastic new book." -Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and host of TV's Jack Hanna's Into the Wild


"Chris Palmer's riveting account of the wildlife film business will change the way we look at wildlife films." -Larry J. Schweiger, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation


"In this pioneering book, Palmer chronicles the history, the personalities, and the business side of wildlife filmmaking, while confronting urgent questions of ethics, morality, and the filmmaker's obligation to the natural world." -Adam Ravetch, codirector of the National Geographic film Arctic Tale


"As fascinating as it is educational, Shooting in the Wild communicates on every page a calm respect for the ethics of craft and, even more important, for the responsibility of dignity and honesty in the relationship between artist and subject: in this case, the wildlife film industry. It is a responsibility that is incumbent upon not just the filmmakers, but upon viewers. It's unlikely we'll ever look at nature films the same way after reading this book." -Rick Bass, author of Winter: Notes from Montana


"A passionate, entertaining, and moving account of what it takes to produce a film set in the natural world. Chris Palmer's lifework has been to communicate his environmental vision by beautifully and respectfully documenting the wild world, which we too often forget is the foundation of our own." -Jonathan Lash, president, World Resources Institute


"Chris Palmer has an encyclopedic knowledge of the wildlife filmmaking business, and he tells an exciting tale of what goes on out there in the natural history jungle." -Alastair Fothergill, series producer, Planet Earth


"Informative, revelatory, and entertaining, Chris Palmer's book takes us on safari into the darkest heart of wildlife filmmaking. This is a top insider's account of a media world that increasingly defines how we view our natural world. Reading Shooting the Wild is like watching a great wildlife documentary. It will leave you enthralled." -David Helvarg, author of Rescue Warriors


"This is an important book, revealing the inner Oz-like working of nature documentaries in all their glory and gore. The investigation is long overdue, and Chris Palmer tackles it with insight, humor, and the highest purpose: to save the wild heart of our living planet." -Julia Whitty, author of The Fragile Edge (John Burroughs Medal, Pen-USA Literary Award)


"As filmmakers, we struggle to stay true to our art form and our ethics on a minute-by-minute basis, just to bring back one ecstatic moment of pure nature on screen. Shooting in the Wild ... should open a discussion about topics that have been taboo outside the industry." -Dereck Joubert, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence


"The wildlife film industry has devolved from high-quality natural history presentations to TV shows about croc wrestlers and crab catchers. .... In his insightful and fascinating book, Palmer analyzes and documents the dramatic rise and tragic demise of wildlife programming on television." - Marty Stouffer, creator and producer of the Wild America series for PBS


"A sharp and searching assessment of the contemporary wildlife media universe from someone who loves the field and wants to see it live up to its greatest promise." -Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, Humane Society of the United States


"Few people are as qualified as Chris Palmer is to explore the often inspiring and sometimes sordid nature-film world, where the balance between conservation messages and commercial pressure can deceive audiences and pose direct threats to the wildlife itself. Filled with anecdotes galore and riveting, behind-the-scenes detail, Shooting in the Wild allows readers to experience these films in a whole new light." -David Seideman, editor-in-chief, Audubon magazine

"A fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and ethical questions Palmer and others have faced in portraying the natural world accurately on screen." -Mark Wexler, editorial director, National Wildlife magazine


"It's often hard to step back from the smoke and thunder of day-to-day work - especially in a hectic fast-changing world like television production-and gauge the wider implications of what you're doing. Chris has managed to combine a real sense of the hurly-burly of wildlife filmmaking with some deep insights into where we're all going, and what we're in danger of missing along the way." -Brian Leith, BBC producer


"For every time I've oohed and aahed at an incredible scene in a wildlife film, I've also wondered, 'How in the world did they get that shot?' Thanks to this captivating new book, now I know. This is a 'don't miss' book that will forever change the way you watch animals on screen." -Diane MacEachern, author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World


"Palmer's expertise in filmmaking and wildlife makes him the perfect guide for this journey through the world of wildlife films. This is a fun and lively read for those who love wildlife, filmmaking, or just a great adventure." -Charles Knowles, cofounder and executive director, Wildlife Conservation Network

"At last! An insightful and engaging expose of the wildlife filmmaking industry. There is no other book like this, - a really great and thought-provoking read." -Harriet Nimmo, CEO, Wildscreen film festival


"I've admired Chris Palmer's films for years, but I had no idea of the moral, political, and financial conflicts that lay behind them. Palmer recounts his war stories, and the reader quickly learns that the weirdest animals in his wildlife films are the humans behind them. A terrific book-once I started reading, I couldn't put it down." -Denis Hayes, cofounder of Earth Day

"The definitive insider's book on the world of wildlife filmmaking, celebrating its extraordinary achievements at the nexus of conservation and art, and exposing in a sobering manner the less than honorable manner in which certain practitioners exploit the craft, thus trivializing the wonder of the wild." -Wade Davis, National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and author of Light at the Edge of the World


"A really thought-provoking analysis of wildlife filmmaking-- sure to stimulate great debate." -Neil Nightingale, creative director, BBC Earth


"Countless people depend on films to learn about the wonderful creatures with whom we share our planet. Shooting In the Wild explains the ins and outs and ups and downs of wildlife filmmaking, so that readers will appreciate what is real and what is not, and what is ethically acceptable as we intrude into the worlds of animals to record their lives. I hope this important book enjoys the wide readership it deserves." -Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals


"Chris Palmer is an extraordinarily effective advocate for the natural world through the films he has brought to worldwide audiences. His book lets you in on the secrets of what it takes to bring extraordinary images to large audiences. Often what is left out of a film is as fascinating as what appears on the screen. Chris pulls back the veil." -Hardy Jones, wildlife filmmaker and founder of BlueVoice.org


"At a time when the credibility and veracity of film and photography are in question, there could be no more important book than this one. The ethical breaches of filmmakers who justify any means to get ‘the shot’ are not only detrimental to our profession, they are a serious threat to the well-being of wildlife and wild places. This book is the perfect first step to get us on the right path." -Cristina Mittermeier, executive director, International League of Conservation Photographers


"If anyone knows about wildlife filmmaking, it is Chris Palmer. With many years of experience and countless awards to his credit, Chris shares his love of craft with invaluable advice for both novice and experienced filmmakers. A must-read for anyone interested in making films that are both inspiring and responsible." -Alexandra Cousteau, founder and president, Blue Legacy


"Those of us who work on behalf of wild creatures have been thrilled by the growth of wildlife documentaries in quality and popularity, yet dismayed by how their cries for conservation have gone unheeded. Chris Palmer's illuminating account of this phenomenon kept me riveted, and I hope all who are involved with these films, from networks to audiences, will learn from it." -Roger W. Sant, co-chairman, WWF, former chairman, Smithsonian Institution


"Chris Palmer's new book is a riveting read and will help you understand how wildlife programs are made. He shares the excitements and inside stories of a filmmaker. He persuades that nature should be represented truthfully rather than sensationally. I urge you to read it. You will find it both inspirational and scary." -Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, author of Among the Elephants


"Shooting in the Wild takes the reader out of the armchair and into the world of wild animals and the daring people who photograph them. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand not only how to film wildlife but also the conservation issues that documentary films bring into our living rooms and the ethical questions they raise for anyone going afield with a camera." -Roger DiSilvestro, Author of In the Shadow of Wounded Knee and The Cowboy Candidate, about Theodore Roosevelt's ranching years (March 2011)


"Shooting in the Wild is a fascinating account of the physical and ethical challenges facing today's wildlife filmmakers. It's essential reading for anyone interested in the natural world and nature films". -Howard Hall, wildlife filmmaker


"Chris Palmer gives readers a fascinating look inside the demanding and exciting world of wildlife filmmaking. For anyone who has thrilled to a wildlife movie or television show, this book offers a revealing, insider's look at the challenges faced by these extraordinary filmmakers." - Robin Gerber, author and activist


"A fascinating glimpse into the world of film making. Bravo to Palmer for caring enough to expose the dark side as well as the light." -Vanessa Woods, author of Bonobo Handshake


"Shooting in the Wild is essential reading on the crucial role film will continue to play in conservation efforts. Prepare yourself for fast paced behind the scenes adventure that will reveal an epic battle for the very soul of the wildlife documentary film industry. Will misleading audiences and endangering animals for viewing pleasure win over efforts to protect wild places by creating informed citizenry? Leave your assumptions on page one: this authoritative book shows the way to a more ethical film industry where all things great and small see big profits at no one's cost." -Brian Hare, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

"It is hard to imagine anyone better qualified than Chris Palmer to write such a timely, important and thought-provoking book. Numerous fascinating and often gripping case-studies and behind-the-scenes stories make this inspiring read a real page-turner. The new must-read for anyone involved in wildlife and conservation film-making and watching." -Pen, ediers Warritor, Wildlife Film News


"Chris is not only a masterful producer but an engaging, generous, and hugely entertaining teacher. His book is a truly important one that spills all the beans about wildlife filmmaking and sets critical standards for all of us to follow." -John Heminway, film producer and PBS host, author of African Journeys


"If you've ever wondered why your favorite animal channel is increasingly demonizing rather than celebrating the animals you love, read Chris Palmer's book. He covers it all, and covers it uniquely: the personality cults, the rise of nature porn, jaws and claws, bang-bang, and the quest for the ultimate "money shot." Palmer maps the demise of modern television - as well as the tiny pockets of hope. If you're considering a career in film and television, and think it's all 'Free Willy' and 'Planet Earth,' think again. Palmer knows better." -Katie Carpenter, producer, Hundred Heartbeats (MSNBC), A Year on Earth (Animal Planet) and Race to Save the Planet (PBS)


"Chris Palmer reveals the realm of wildlife movie-making as an extraordinary complex genre where values come together in both harmony and conflict, where entertainment, education, exploitation and personal agendas all play a part. Palmer shows that how we treat and use animals in film, creatures that are only a handful of chromosomes different than us and with whom we share the plant, reveals so much about us. A surprising, insightful read." -Daniel J. Basta, director, U.S. National Marine Sanctuary System


"A book of this magnitude is long overdue-brutally honest, extremely entertaining, yet offering a rare insider's view of one of the most fascinating and important genres of filmmaking. Whether wildlife films can save wildlife may be debatable, but if you read only one book about the entire scope and breath and significance of wildlife filmmaking, this is unquestionably the one." -Janet Rose, executive director, International Wildlife Media Center, and director, International Wildlife Film Festival


"A mesmerizing tour behind the scenes of wildlife filmmaking ... filled with adventure plus a cast of greats and not so greats .....a tale as fascinating and inspiring as the great wildlife films themselves." -Thomas E. Lovejoy, Heinz Center for Science Economics and the Environment


"An engaging insider's look at the wildlife film industry. Chris Palmer presents the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful of wildlife filmmaking with candor, passion, and excitement." -David S. Wilcove, professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Public Affairs, Princeton University


"Shooting in the Wild conveys the passion of world's finest nature filmmakers while exploring the ethical boundaries they live within and sometimes cross." -Lisa Samford, executive director, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

"At times funny, at times philosophical but always hard-hitting, Shooting in the Wild compels its readers to take a deeper look at the role of documentaries in the future of our natural world. Chris Palmer turns a critical lens on the role and responsibility of media on the future of our planet and the animals with whom we share it. This book takes a brave step in calling on audiences and the people who produce, green light, and broadcast wildlife films to reconsider conservation, and ultimately, to do better." -Cara Blessley Lowe, cofounder, The Cougar Fund, and author of Spirit of the Rockies: America's Greatest Cat


"Chris Palmer's work in promoting ethical wildlife filming has helped grow a community of filmmakers with a conscience, so that nature films can bring us closer to understanding how our natural world should be treated. Shooting in the Wild is a must read for up-and-coming wildlife filmmakers and for the public that loves watching nature films." -Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and director, Cheetah Conservation Fund


"A thoughtful and provocative book. I was impressed with the central role that animal welfare plays throughout his work, both in regard to individual animals and populations." -Fred O'Regan, president, International Fund for Animal Welfare


"This history of nature documentary filmmaking-- with an amazing cast of characters‚ presents the adventures, the challenges, and the moral dilemmas associated with filming the wild world with such luminaries and colorful characters as Ted Turner, David Attenborough, and Steve Irwin. I read Chris Palmer's personal odyssey in one sitting - I could not put it down!" -Lynne Cherry, author of The Great Kapok Tree


"Chris Palmer knows the wildlife filmmaking business from the inside out, and in Shooting the Wild, he uses an entertaining and informative style to chronicle the evolution of this increasingly popular genre. In the process, he informs readers about important trends in the business and alerts viewers to the sensationalistic content of some nature programs. By the end of the book, readers will be well informed about unethical practices that can harm wildlife and will have gained respect for the film makers who show us life in nature as it truly is. This is a must-read for lovers of wildlife films." -Dorothy Patent, award-winning author of children's books


"A rare insider's look at the world of wildlife documentaries, revealing these passionate filmmakers and the unexpected challenges they face, in the wild and in the boardroom. Palmer writes clearly and forthrightly about the practical, financial, and ethical difficulties involved in bringing the natural world to movie and TV screens." -James Hyder, editor and publisher, LF Examiner

"A remarkable portrait of the wildlife filmmaking landscape. Palmer illuminates the complicated issues facing our field in an engaging manner. No one else could have amassed such a collection of stories from all over the world or presented them in such an entertaining yet informative package." -Tom Veltre, filmmaker, president of The Really Interesting Picture Company


"One of the best known and most respected wildlife filmmakers challenges his colleagues to honor the natural world, its wild animals, and its wild places. Through compelling stories, Chris Palmer examines the ethical challenges one finds in wildlife filmmaking-from IMAX to YouTube." -William H. Meadows, president, The Wilderness Society


"Chris Palmer has written an informative, humorous and helpful book about what I love-shooting documentaries in the wild. Everybody interested in the natural world will find it insightful and compelling." -Greg MacGillivray, producer/director of IMAX Theatre films and two-time Oscar nominee for The Living Sea and Dolphins


"Wildlife films can do tremendous good as well as harm to featured wildlife species. Both as a scientist and as an advocate for wildlife, I welcome Chris Palmer's expose of the dirty secrets of wildlife filmmaking, his examples of excellence, as well as his guidelines for making films about wildlife that are both ethical and useful." -Dr. Sterling Miller, bear researcher, scientific consultant on bear films, and senior wildlife biologist, National Wildlife Federation


"Films that explain the intricacy of the natural world and excite us to action are more needed than ever before. At the same time budgets are slashed, commentaries dumbed down, and personalities given precedence over wildlife. The book invites us to examine the human struggle behind the films—the motives and ethics of those involved as they strive to convey their passion. Thought-provoking, authoritative, and insightful, Shooting in the Wild is essential reading for anyone who cares about the natural world and about how it is portrayed." -Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning wildlife filmmakers


"In Shooting in the Wild, Palmer shares his considerable expertise with young filmmakers who yearn to make a difference and reminds the hardened pros, who might have forgotten the ethics they embraced at the start of their career, of the need for authentic films. Even those who love the natural world but know no more about it than how to dial in a television channel will find here information on how to judge the programs they watch and which ones to ignore." -William R Grant, director of science, nature and history programs at WNET New York, and executive in charge of the PBS series Nature


"It is not necessary to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy nature films, but it is necessary to know what to believe and what to scorn. Shooting in the Wild will show the way." Edward E. Clark, Jr, president, Wildlife Center of Virginia

"The underlying theme of Shooting in the Wild is that wildlife and natural history filmmakers are responsible for what goes on the screen, how its perceived by the audience and, most important, how it got there. Entertaining and insightful, Shooting in the Wild has something for everyone, from industry professionals to students to wildlife film lovers of all ages. And it lays out benchmarks for ethical production and behavior that will benefit the industry and our subjects for generations to come." -Joe Yaggi, creative director/Director of Photography, Jungle Run Productions, and co-president, Filmmakers for Conservation