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January 17, 2008

Response and Information.



“Melissa,

I watched the segment with you and the others on Monster Quest. I have commented to others that the segment, in my opinion, was poorly produced. That is to say that the responsibility of the producer, not you and the others, to produce the segment in a manner that had both entertainment value and authenticity. In my opinion, he or she failed if only on in the fact that your game cameras were shooting vehicles on a highway.If you choose not to publish this I will understand, believe me. One has to look out for oneself. Good luck in your research. You are a gifted writer.”

*Name withheld by Melissa for anonymity purposes*

I have received this email almost verbatim more than once. I think its time to respond.

I am glad so many watched the “Bigfoot” episode of Monster Quest. I have received many emails from people, and the response has been very positive. I personally felt the program turned out much better than I feared it would. Often times Bigfoot researchers are taken less than seriously, and women are usually portrayed as these scared little creatures running every time the wind blows.

I completely disagree with the comment above highlighted in green.

I think first of all, to really understand what the producer had in mind, you should have been involved in the planning. Also, I keep hearing about the game cam shot at the side of the road. This makes me laugh, because this had nothing to do with the producer of this program or the camera people, the position of this camera was decided on by me and another researcher.

What many seem to forget is (if you watched the program) you will notice at one point in the show Kathy Strain and I are setting up a bait pile, in an area of solid dirt. No one asked why, and I don’t remember it being fully explained on the program. That bait pile set up by Kathy and myself was in the exact spot where the track that was later cast and named “The Skookum Cast” was located. Anyone can log onto the BFRO website and get the exact GPS location of this spot.

Kathy and I set up a bait pile in this location, and then went about the business of setting up the game cam. If you watched “Giganto the Real King Kong” you had the chance to see “the Rock Cam” for the first time. Kathy and I put this same game cam to use for this project. It blended in very nicely too.

So, why is the game cam pointed toward a road?

Because, the Skookum Cast impression was found, on the side of a road.

That has apparently escaped many for a long time. Those who want to believe this is an elk wallow do not bring up often that this is not the typical spot where an elk would do something like “wallow”. How many elk, deer or any ungulates have you seen in your life “wallow” on the side of a busy road?

Also, we were very limited in where we could place this game cam. It needed to be close enough to be set off should something disturb the bait pile, but not so conspicuous, that it could be stolen. I (I think it was me, but don’t quote me) noticed a nice brush and rock pile at the perfect distance; other options were too far away to accomplish the objective.

Personally, I am very happy we set up this game cam where we did – because it proves a point that has escaped many for a very long time. It’s a fantastic visual representation of the exact area and conditions.

As for the commentary about the producers of Monster Quest.


I frankly appreciate the time and effort put forth by Mr. Doug Hajicek and the film crew. They did not have to take a women’s expedition seriously, but they did, and I think that’s apparent.

Now, more specifically, to the person who sent in this comment. Frankly, I don’t think shows like this are produced with Bigfoot Researchers in mind. They are geared toward the general public. There are not enough researchers in this to keep the advertisers for the History Channel happy.

I personally think this second production by Doug Hajicek hit the mark, and I am proud to have been apart of it.

Researchers need to decide, what battles do you really want to fight?


I say go after the shows that portray researchers in a negative light – not those that are attempting to put out good information in regards to what we do.

The decision is yours, but I know where I stand.

2 Comments:

  • At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bravo, Melissa!

    By the way, I will own up to the "comments in green" as my own.

    Commitment and discussion will be the things that solve this once and for all. I am not a researcher, but a filmmaker...a "very opinionated" one as some will attest to. I view each documentary I see as an opportunity to learn. One of the things I am very sensitive to is the way the participants in films such as this are portrayed and how the viewer might perceive those portrayals. There were things I would have done differently which I feel would have made for a better film in that respect, but these are only my opinions...not rules to live by. I appreciate you taking the time to publish and respond to my comments.

    And, if you desire at any time to review my own work here on this blog or elsewhere, without editorial constrains, please contact me and I will ship you review copies gratis.

    Keep up the good work.

    John Johnsen
    Grendel Films

     
  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Well, I do not necessarily disagree with you. If I had my way there would have been many things different about this show, but I was not the one in charge. I would say compared to the National Geographics shot at this research, MonsterQuest has been a fantastic program and fairly accurate.

    I am also very sensitive to how researchers are portrayed on Television programs or even Documentaries - and that wont change. But, I see absolutely no reason to take on the producers of MonsterQuest or the History Channel - yes, I was involved, but they didnt pay me to keep my mouth shut. If I there was anything about this show or its filming I didnt like or thought was out of line, I would be the first to speak up.

    But, I think you already know that.

     

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