Echoes in the night



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ABSTRACT Humans are storytellers, who learn by sharing experiences through stories. The ability to connect extends to stories told through various media such as print, film, photography, and audio. This performance thesis used narrative through film to introduce audiences to native bat species across Texas, mainly the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, while demonstrating minimally invasive filming techniques. Information about bats was shared through my personal experiences working with and filming bats in a way that showcases the species with minimal disruption to the animal. The thesis begins by addressing how particular practices within the wildlife film industry have led to audience deception and the repercussions stemming from deception. The literature review covers the impacts of pseudo-documentaries, invasive film techniques, the effects of computer-generated images, and the influence of wildlife documentaries on the public’s attitude towards animals. Additionally, ethically questionable practices have shaped the wildlife documentary industry, from independent to large-budget filmmakers alike. Fishers’ narrative theory served as the theoretical guidance for the project to examine how documentaries have shaped the public’s attitude towards wildlife and how more ethical practices can achieve worthwhile goals that serve to educate while protecting the animals filmed.

The documentary demonstrates the filming practices I engaged in with my filming partner, Dr. Raymond Matlack. Through narrative and imagery, I sought to educate the audience about the species and the efforts taken to film these animals with minimal disruption. The film viewing took place on July 10, 2017, in the AT&T HD Studio of the Fine Arts Complex at West Texas A&M University.



Wildlife ethics Wildlife Documentary


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