Science Filmmaking Problems

Have you noticed that the science documentary networks that used to present 100% factual science content have now started drifting into an odd abyss of reality programming? I’m not saying it’s all bad, but there seems to be a diversion from solid science – the stuff I remember loving as a budding biologist in the 90’s. The situation has been on my mind a lot lately, having now done shows for various networks, including a TON of pitching various programs. I present the problem I’ve found with the current trends here:

The real problem I see is that networks get ratings for shows that most of us educators think stray too much to the sensational. Is it because people love the show, or because people are in a stat of shock as they flip the channels – essentially a race for the most viral-type program. And look, maybe it’s not all bad if it can be packaged in something that’s clickable, something I do often myself.

I’m not sure what the solution is. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trends, the problems, or ways to view it in a new light.

Truth or Lies - Rob Nelson Naked Jonas Stenstrom
Do shows get more views (or website clicks) if they’re naked and afraid?

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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