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Review - Walking with Dinosaurs  (Read 9341 times)
Na
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« on: March 28, 2015, 01:00:22 am »

I have literally just come home from seeing the show for the first time - yes, I missed it when it was in Australia previously - and thought I'd post a review here. I've probably missed some thoughts but hey, it's long enough already.

Two things: one, this will be long and contain spoilers. Two, I had paid for the 'meet and greet' tickets and didn't think it was worth it so if you want to pay the extra, skip to the end to see what I thought. If it helps, photos of the show are here: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/galleries/

Having been hearing good things about the show for years, I requested a ticket as a birthday present seeing as how the show was back on in Australia for the first time in ages. My mum went with me, and as explained we had 'premium' tickets. This was an extra $100 on top of an adult price ticket (so $200 p/ticket in total). It's not really important for now but suffice to say it gets you the 'meet and greet' (more at the end), a free plush toy (worth $35, a choice of one of three toys all the same price), plus 'premium' seats (more in a moment). The tickets came with a lanyard and VIP pass, both of which were needed to access the meet and greet that came at the end of the show.

The show here in Melbourne took place at Hisense Arena, which is basically one of our large stadium-sized tennis courts, usually where you can catch the well-known Australian (Tennis) Open. We got there early so we could pick up our toys first, from a merchandise truck sitting outside the arena. The place was already getting packed full of parents and their kids, although we spotted some couples and singles there too.

Heading inside I got to my seat first, and boy did we get a good spot. As you can imagine from a tennis court arena, the seats are raked and in tiers, with the first tier of seats a good way off the ground floor/stage and another two or so tiers behind. The seating went around three sides of the stage with the backstage area kept for a giant projection screen and entrance/exit for the cast. We were sat in the middle section (ie. directly downstage, not off to one of the sides) about 5 rows from the front. (This is important for later) We noticed that all of the other VIP premium ticket holders were also in the same rough area, so it looks like just booking those tickets will get you the best seats in the house.

If you're not familiar with the show, Walking with Dinosaurs is based on the BBC original TV show; a David Attenborough style 'documentary' that showcases different dinosaurs. It made a big splash because they used CGI, puppetry and real locations to create a 'fly on the wall' experience, as if the dinos were still around. They've basically compacted the storyline quite a bit, turned it into a 2 hour performance. If you expect to see storytelling or characters, you'll be disappointed. This is more like going to the museum and having a tour guide with you, plus GIANT dinosaurs moving around in front of you. -- Not bad, just saying that it's based on a doco so it's nothing like Jurassic Park or any of those animated dino movies. Storyline-wise I found it hard to follow, not because it went over my head or anything, I was just too damn distracted watching everything else... and frankly, having loved and seen the TV show, and the numerous PR stuff of the performance, I knew what to expect so I didn't pay much attention.

How it works is this: you have a (male*) Indiana-Jones-style paleontologist come out on stage, talk about his job a bit, what he looks for, and introduces us to each dinosaur/historical period. It sounds dry but it's very well done, with some humour thrown in for adults, and a lot of good pantomimish acting for the kids. Not over the top, just what you'd expect from a seriously good children's performer.

The stage itself is very simple. As you can imagine touring LIFESIZE animatronic puppets around the world (and its 27 trucks to fit it all in), they went with a very simple set design. Backstage is a large projection screen/curtain from which behind the puppets enter. Framing the screen are giant dinosaur teeth, to look like you're sitting in front of a large, open jaw. Centre-stage are some mountain crags, while down the three sides of the stage are 'walls' of mountain - basically thick pieces of painted foam that mark out the edge of the stage and hide some other gadgetry. The floor itself is made up of thick metallic plates (like what you use to weigh down a piece of scaffold) but textured with paint to look like ancient stone. Everything is grey and white, mottled stone. From then on, the sets changed minutely and atmosphere/location was mostly done using lighting, sound and video projection.

At this point there's not much else to see. ... For most people... we were extremely lucky in seating because we were also about 5 rows in front of the 'bio box'. A makeshift area set aside in the back of this tier of seats for the stage manager, sound/lighting operators and my favourite, the 'voodoo controls'. Those not familiar with the in's and out's of the show may enjoy this piece of knowledge:

SPOILERS
The puppets are operated in several ways. The smaller raptors and such are simply costumes, the person inside operating the head and the puppet feet are the human's feet. The larger puppets are a combination of a VERY low car hidden in the 'stone-looking-thing' under the puppet, and animatronics run by 'voodoo' from a second (and third?) puppeteer offstage. 'Voodoo' refers to the remote-control operation of the eyes, mouth, special effects, sound effects, etc. The controls are like giant joysticks, with the flexible up-down 'neck' that mimicks the movement the puppeteer is trying to achieve with the puppet neck (so you can 'feel' the responsiveness of the puppet) and left/right movements mimick the left/right movement of the head. As far as I can tell, another puppeteer may have been working eyes, mouth, sound effects, as there looked to be a separate sound desk per voodoo control. But that's a guess.

END SPOILERS

So right from the start of the show I was checking out the puppeteer-control area, which was a lot of fun. I did sneak several long looks during the show and if you're a puppeteer I recommend finding out if you can grab seats nearer the control booth so you can see how things work. (No, you won't see it if you grab the premium tix)

On with the show...

Storyline I've already explained a bit but I have to say that I'm not sure if I would call it good. Again, I was biased as I already knew what to expect. But my guess is that no one really paid attention to it. If they were anything like me they were too busy oohing and aahing over the dinos to really care what the guy onstage was talking about. There was very little actual interaction between the paleontologist/tour guide and the dinos, except for one particularly good moment with the T-rex, but otherwise he interacts more with the lighting than with the puppets. -- The lighting included effects such as large dino 'prints' made using gobos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobo_%28lighting%29) shone on the floor. Mostly he just walked around and pointed out things we saw along the way in our prehistoric journey. I found the acting to be quite good, a little too pantomimish for my tastes, but really nothing to complain about. I was more impressed at the meet and greet, where he (no program and no info on website - sorry Aussie actor don't know your name!) managed to calm down some very frightened kids with ease and in character. He was really quite good at that and you could tell he was an experienced children's performer.

Going back to sets, we had very little change or happen. There were some new mountains which appear and disappear, and a lot of inflatable plants (which had a little trouble inflating in the second act) which were done 90% perfectly. I do like the inflatables, especially when they shrink and shrivel due to the 'forest fires', but I also found them an odd juxtaposition - an almost cartoonish look against the realistic textures of the dino skins. There were also a few small surprises (which if you're smart you'll figure out beforehand) and a lot of fog.

Again, the rest is done with lighting and video projection. The video showcased a lot of scenery, was used for some silhouette work with the T-rex, and mostly just added atmosphere. I'm not sure whether it benefited the show or not: it started off WAY blurry and never changed. I thought for a while we were supposed to be getting 3D glasses, it was that blurry.

Lighting was pretty darn spot on, with lots of amazing blues, reds, oranges, greens, and gobos galore. There was some strobing for lightning so if that's something you need to be aware of, it's only for a minute or so in one scene. There was a moment during one scene where for some reason someone had a problem with their follow-spot and it came up too early and they immediately took it back down again. (Whatever tix you buy, hang around for a while afterwards. Be the last to leave. And spot the follow-spot operator. Seriously, I stared and stared and didn't notice them. It's fun discovering it out!) Outside of that, the show is a light extravaganza and for the most part fit perfectly with the locations and atmosphere - reds for fire, white for lightning, green for lush rainforest, etc.

Sound was predominantly the microphoned paleontologist, plus a series of atmospheric tracks (not unlike what you would hear from the BBC TV show) and roars, etc for the dinos. I thought the sound was extremely well done and captured the atmosphere well, although I think it would have added something if it had a live orchestra.

To be honest, I wasn't really into the show until second act. First act saw the little dinos, of course because you've got to build to the biggies. Even though I was impressed with the size and stature of the Brachiosaurus (long-necked dinos and very very tall, about as tall as the arena) I didn't really feel I was watching live animals. (Explanation for that maybe below)

But in the second act I started to get it. The Ornithocheirus was simply beautiful. This is the 'bird' creature, and the wing-span was literally the width of the tennis court. Backed with video projection of flying over the craggy coastline, and a pool of cool light shining down, with fog rising from the 'ocean' below, it truly was magnificent. Appearing out of nowhere and disappearing just the same, this dino flies using wire rigging and though you can see the wires, the puppet is well-made that you can see the undulation of the skin in the wings, and with the rest of the scenery I was sitting there thinking "my god, what a beautiful creature".

From then on I was a bit more into it. The larger dinos like Torosaurus and its giant plated head were impressive due to the sheer size and I stopped to think about how it must have been at the top of the food chain because that plate would have made it difficult to look out for predators. That's pretty darn good considering I spent first act wandering off and thinking about how this was done or how that worked.

Naturally the show-stopper is the T-rex. I'd love to say it was overhyped but it wasn't. Everyone knows T-rex, everyone likes T-rex, so it could easily disappoint. The writers took the opportunity to do some audience interaction. This is where seating is important. Those to the sides of the stage were further away from the action because they were blocked off by various paraphenalia used during the show. However the area directly downstage was not and the dinos could get closer to the audience. Several of the large dinos would wander over and stick their heads just close enough to the seat railing. If you have kids who are scared of giant things, don't sit here. For everyone else, BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE. We weren't close enough to touch the puppets but they certainly came in for you to get a serious sense of thrill.

Anyway, T-rex was my second favourite, with the puppet performance being excellent and the roars truly ground-shaking. My one criticism is the baby T, which has this annoying Ja-ja binks quality in that they obviously went for the high-pitched "mum" roar (seriously, it sounds like the baby is saying "mum", aka calling for mother) to get laughs from the kids in the audience. Otherwise all sound effects were perfectly fine.

Let's talk about operation and mechanics. I found myself spending a lot of the show in awe of the design of these things. The Torosaurus have visible snorts coming from its nose, and it was at that point I wanted to bow in honour of the designers. They fit wiring, foam, latex, skeleton into a lifesize and realistically-shaped creature, plus special effects and blinkers and whatever else; then have to make it lightweight; safe; durable; repair-able; operated and held up by the little 'car' underneath; sending signals via remote control; and still manage somehow to detail individual scars and feathers into the puppet's skin.  Bow Down

Later I was able to stand next to 'Ralph', one of the raptors (?) and I could see that the paint on the face was textured to look like it was flaking, much like paint does after a long time. Many of the dinos were feathered and I could imagine someone painstakingly punching feathers into the skin. The Ankylosaurus had individual bone plates that had individual colouring and scarring. Each dinos tail worked different; the Ankylosaurus was clearly remote-controlled while others just swung naturally with the movement of the body. The Brachiosaurus and others had clearly undulating 'waddle' under their necks, so realistic that I had to remind myself that the puppets were nothing more than foam and latex. Stegosaurus, T-rex, Ankylosaurus and the Brachiosaurus were all extremely impressive in size and performance. The colouring, paint jobs, and general skinning of the puppets were all amazing.

These puppets are a serious work of art.

Movement as mentioned was realistic, at least in terms of leg/foot/mouth/eye. I did feel that the dinos had a sense of weight, they looked and walked as if they were heavy creatures. There were moments when I thought that it would be nice if the puppets lifted their legs more - because when you walk your feet often leave the ground - but I think that's a small thing given that they have to be physically attached to the car below them. Watching back and forth between the voodoo controllers and the necks was fascinating because it gave you a sense of watching the skeleton inside. Truly engineering brilliance, and it compares far better than the robotics in museums you often see.
Na
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2015, 01:00:32 am »

In terms of puppeteers, they were mostly invisible. In body costumes you could see their grey leggings (everything not puppet/set was grey), and the larger dinos were operated from below in grey 'cars'. I already mentioned our paleontologist was dressed all Indiana Jones style. I'm not sure if I liked the grey leggings. I think black would have been less distracting but then, it did fit the theme of the show.

Part of my problem of getting into the show was, as explained, that I knew what to expect. Seeing King Kong I kind of felt like 'eh, so what?' But actually some of it has to do with scale. Sitting downstage and not off to the sides, it was harder for me to get a sense of scale. Having a human actor onstage helps, but a lot of the time he's off in the shadows, or not see from your angle, or quite simply, you're too busy looking at the dinos in front of you. Add to the fact that it was dinos in front of a screen, I just felt like I was watching a movie. I had to remind myself, or look over to the people in the side tiers, that these things are bleeping huge. I think if I had have been on the side tier, with the people in the opposite tier as a background, it would have been easier for me to be awed by the sheer size of the puppets. Also I felt that maybe being lower to the ground would have helped because from this high up you're not getting a proper sense of it if you were a human during the Jurassic - more like looking a dragon eye-to-eye from a castle tower.

The other thing was that I felt that though the puppets looked realistic and moved realistically (as in, legs, necks, eyes, mouth) I didn't feel that the puppets expressed any sort of character or motivation. They moved downstage right because that's where they were supposed to go, they went over to the trees to eat because that's what they were supposed to do. I know it seems incredibly ridiculous given the amount of realism in the actual physicalisation of the muscles, fat, etc... but I don't know, I never really got a sense of anything. The few moments I laughed or smiled at a puppet was when they interacted with an audience member or with the sole actor on stage. I was in awe yes, but mostly at the design and manufacture, rather than with the performance itself. Nothing ever seemed over the top or anthropomorphised, and yet it also missed a little sense of character. It was a little more like watching a bunch of circus animals doing tricks than a bunch of creatures doing their own thing as they would every day. (Ok, maybe not, but you get my point... there just wasn't something quite right about it) The grandeur I felt watching the TV show wasn't quite as well captured in the stage performance.

The last, and most important reason I never really got into it... well, basically my biggest criticism of Walking with Dinosaurs was the ... AUDIENCE.

Bleep me I've never seen an audience more disrespectful of the no-phones/no-cameras policy in my entire life. I counted at least 10 people in my small section of tiered seating who had their phones out snapping Instagrams. This wasn't once off... it was more like every few minutes or for every puppet that entered the stage. One guy was literally videotaping whole scenes, one woman in front had her phone on (swiping through pics of Starbucks cups) at least 10 minutes into the start of the show, a woman behind me was told off BY HER OWN YOUNG SON for taking photos (and she promptly told him "you can't tell me what to do!" Word-for-word I kid you not), an usher came along to tell someone to stop using their flash at one point despite the fact that people were flashing their cameras all through the performance. And this was just in my general eyeline. I spotted other people using flash all over the place, to say nothing of actually taking pics throughout.

To say I was distracted and pissed off at this is nothing short of an understatement. Flash cameras were specifically mentioned in the post-interval announcements, and I wondered if they actually posed any sort of danger to the numerous puppeteers who were working underneath some seriously large dinos. This is not to mention the sheer disrespect of the work gone into a PERFORMANCE not a GALLERY SHOWING, nor the royalty rights of the performers/creators, or the fact that people weren't experiencing the puppets but fiddling with photo filters and zoom. - And yeah, I had to stop my mother from taking pics. Her excuse? "Everyone else is doing it!"  Roll Eyes

So if you go, expect two things, lots of kids, and lots of friggin cameras.

The show ends and now it's time for the meet and greet. The information given with our tickets told us to stay in our seats and someone would come get us. However, my mum was told by one of the ushers that we'd need to meet at the doors to the arena. We stuck with what the written info was, and so did everyone else with VIP tix in our area. And not long after an usher came up and informed us to go downstairs to the doors (as the usher told my mum). So right off we're like "that's confusing". We get to the doors and are asked to wait a few moments, and then we're escorted outside the arena, down a staircase, back into the arena again (lower floor this time) and amazingly enough right underneath the tiered seating we had been sitting in. Literally underneath the seats we had. This is a large storage area with a few roadcases lying around. There's about 40 of us, mostly families, and we're single-lined up along the storage area. We're told some basic instructions, and then lead onstage for our meet and greet.

The cost of this meet was as I said, $100. And it was $95 too expensive for what it was. I don't know how it's done elsewhere but here in Oz, 'meet and greet' after a show usually means a somewhat informal and short chat with a few of the cast, maybe some of the designers or the director if you're lucky. What we got? 40 minutes to stand in a line on stage and take a few snapshots up close with two dinos. (A raptor and the stegosaurus) You get a few minutes with the raptor and the paleontologist, and then you walk over the other side of the stage to do a shot with the Steg (facing forward so no shots of the length of it which was more impressive). I do think that seeing them up close was far more impressive than from in the tiers, but for half a dozen shots on your iphone and no one to ask questions or explain things were pretty fricking poor. I joke that every photo is worth $20 because we paid so much for so little.

What pissed me off with the meet and greet wasn't just the price. Most of the kids who came to see the show will have no idea of how any of it worked. The feat of engineering that went into this stuff is inspiring, and it was a lost opportunity to introduce some kids to engineering, robotics, computer tech, and well, puppets. Ok, I'm biased, I wanted to ask a bunch of questions about the latex and shit, but just having someone to introduce themselves and say "hi, I'm a puppeteer and this is a real quick explanation of how this works" would have been awesome for everyone. Granted, most parents are wanting a special snapshot for their kids and that's what they got (for $100 extra) but for the price we paid it would have been good to have more than a photo to post on Facebook. (And a 'free' plushie)

Wasn't worth the price in my opinion. However I did get to do some things: I spent most of my time facing away from the puppets watching the guys on voodoo, while everyone else is fascinated with the puppets. I took a look behind the 'walls' that edged the stage floor and saw all the fun gadgetry behind from up-close, and the machine-sewn inflatables. I got to check out the amazing paint job on the raptor - and be close enough to it in the picture to hear the blinking mechanism click away next to my ear. I tried to say hi to the puppeteer, even though everyone else was saying hi to the paleo/actor, because I know sometimes it's good to be recognised even if you're not considered 'visible'. I got to see some of the kids get scared by the dinos, as well as calmed by the actor beside it. I got to check out and stand on the stage and see that it was more than just a giant piece of painted lino. I looked up at the lighting rig with 'normal' lighting (basically everything on a white wash) on, and see the stage as it would be during pre-show and post-show. Still not worth the price, but at least I got that.

...

The summary is that I'm not sure what I think of the show. Is it a spectacular spectacle? Yes indeed. Are the creatures beautifully made? Yep. Were the puppets believable? So so. Was the story good? Meh. Was the lighting and sound an extravaganza? For the most part, yeah it was awesome. Is it worth seeing more than once? Probably not. I honestly walked away wondering if King Kong was better and I really really DESPISED that show. Once again, the producers have proved they can build puppets, but they can't write a decent script or characters. And once again, I'm recommending seeing the show for and because of the puppets and not for anything else. ... Now I have to see How to Train Your Dragon and compare all three because they're all made by the same people.


* I noted that all of the voodoo puppeteers were male. Most of the crew I saw were male. Of the hidden puppeteers I could make out, they were male. Most of the creative team listed on their website are male. This is the same company that did King Kong the musical, and all of the puppeteers on that were male. The few people I know who work at this company are male (although their behind-the-scenes pics on the WWD site show more female employees -outside of the FOH- in one place than I saw all afternoon). The pink t-shirts on sale were cutesy-pie cartoons and the black t-shirts were realistic scary T-rex. Just saying: I see a crappy pattern here. The audience: split evenly I'd say between boys and girls. Now go and read about the meet and greet. Because I think this is pretty shit considering I know a half a dozen amazing female puppeteers who'd love to work on this show and do a great job of it, and the fact they missed a captive audience who might just want to grow up and build dinos too. And these STEM areas are exactly where girls are often discouraged into going, and PS. Dinos are for girls too for goodness sakes.  banghead  banghead  banghead
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 01:25:02 am by Na »
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 08:36:29 am »

Thanks for the review!  I do understand your disappointment with the meet and greet.  Sounds like a typical meet and greet geared toward the consumer.  While I've not worked this show I've worked a lot of area tours of concerts and ice shows. All the meet and greets are pretty much just picture taking opportunities. Actors working the show have no real knowledge of the inner working of things unless they have been given details. I worked backstage on Lion King, Little Shop, War Horse and other puppet based shows and have to say I think that while it may have been nice to see them from the audience I got more of a kick from being back stage working them. Sure you would also... that being said we are not typical I am sure. Smiley Thanks goodness!

I do hope you get the opportunity to see How To Train Your Dragon.  I get the feeling that may have more of a story line but I could be wrong.

Thanks again for the review.
Na
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 10:06:00 pm »

Thanks for the review!  I do understand your disappointment with the meet and greet.  Sounds like a typical meet and greet geared toward the consumer.  While I've not worked this show I've worked a lot of area tours of concerts and ice shows. All the meet and greets are pretty much just picture taking opportunities. Actors working the show have no real knowledge of the inner working of things unless they have been given details. I worked backstage on Lion King, Little Shop, War Horse and other puppet based shows and have to say I think that while it may have been nice to see them from the audience I got more of a kick from being back stage working them. Sure you would also... that being said we are not typical I am sure. Smiley Thanks goodness!

Oh I do agree. I remarked afterwards to my mum "what do I know?" because I was surprised that 40 people had paid such high prices for the premium tix. That was far more than I would have thought would be willing to shell out, and it was clear most people were doing it because they wanted a special close-up pic and bragging rights for their kids. So yeah, it's obviously a good PR move on behalf of the children they perform for. But I disagree that actors working on the show won't know how things work. Are you really telling me that a puppeteer of one of the raptors couldn't have come out and say, "hey, there's someone inside this thing and this is how I make the puppet move"? Because I think you'll agree that a five minute basic spiel wouldn't have been too complicated for kids to understand, and would have been capitilising on the captive audience who could stand there and see the details close up.

I didn't truly expect a designer or director to be there obviously, but one single puppeteer to step aside and say hello would have been better. And you'd get an even better pic because you'd be standing next to not just the dino, but shake the hands of the people who make them work.

I just think it was a wasted chance to get kids excited about robotics. In the age of computers and engineering, a lot of those kids will already probably be heading towards it. Why not say "you can do this too?"

Plus 40 minutes to stand in line for 5 minutes of photos. Meh. Bragging rights sure, but it wasn't much of an experience in itself. You barely got to look at the puppet before you're turned around to face the camera at which point you're whisked to the next one. You spend more time watching other people get close than you actually get close yourself.

I don't think I'd be complaining as much if the price had been lower. $100 extra per person is a bit much. $50 would have been ok, although still on the high side for me. But then I understand that $50 goes to wages for those people who have to stay after the show a bit longer.

Quote
I do hope you get the opportunity to see How To Train Your Dragon.  I get the feeling that may have more of a story line but I could be wrong.

Yeah, I saw a behind-the-scenes talk in 2012 of the show and it's clear they followed the movie/book as closely as they could with minor changes for obvious practical purposes. I also think the video projection would be more impressive since they used animation/backgrounds to create scenery, rather than lighting to create atmosphere as they had done in WWD. Oh well, wait another four years, it'll be around again Wink
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 08:01:05 am »

You are correct the performers would be able to offer information on manipulation but may not have much more beyond that. The problem is that meet and greet is totally driven by monetary motives.  Thus the reason they push you through so fast. They are most likely trying to keep in within an hour time frame total.  That extra hour is most likely costing them $5000 or more. Remember it is not just the people you see handling the event but most likely double that you don't see still behind the scenes waiting for the meet and greet to be over before they can be released. Smiley 

Remember also that the show is about dinosaurs and not robotics or puppets.  If any "teaching" is going to happen they would focus on that.

I am really just playing devils advocate here since like you I would really be wanting to talk to the puppeteers and get a look under the "skin" of it all. 
Na
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 08:46:41 pm »

You are correct the performers would be able to offer information on manipulation but may not have much more beyond that. The problem is that meet and greet is totally driven by monetary motives.  Thus the reason they push you through so fast. They are most likely trying to keep in within an hour time frame total.  That extra hour is most likely costing them $5000 or more. Remember it is not just the people you see handling the event but most likely double that you don't see still behind the scenes waiting for the meet and greet to be over before they can be released. Smiley 

I know that. However, given they had 3-4 people standing around for crowd control, a couple on photos, a couple of voodoo controllers, two puppeteers, one actor (and a partridge in a pear tree), plus the arena staff standing by the doors.... They couldn't get one of those people to give a short spiel? The guy who ushered us in was clearly a PR guy as he was the only usher in a tie and suit. Are you telling me the $5000 couldn't have included a five-minute speech while we were standing in line, even if they couldn't take questions. Not that hard to memorise a script.

But I am totally aware that I have no clue towards marketing and PR since I suck at it, and that my opinion is probably the wrong one in this case. Obviously, because it's clearly a popular choice. Doesn't mean I think it's good, just that other people are suckers.

Quote
Remember also that the show is about dinosaurs and not robotics or puppets.  If any "teaching" is going to happen they would focus on that.

I am really just playing devils advocate here since like you I would really be wanting to talk to the puppeteers and get a look under the "skin" of it all. 

And I'm playing devil's advocate right back. Wink
I know it's about dinos. However, if you want to talk about it, science includes an awful lot of robotics and computer work, and an interest in dinos would likely also be an interest in many other scientific subjects. If you can build an animatronic dino maybe you can also build a probe that gets sent to Mars. Paleontology is about being curious about what you see around you, and they didn't capitalise on inherent/potential curiousity from those in the audience.

Maybe it's the show itself. The TV show was all exhibition, as most 'docos' are. So it's about display and explanation, more like a museum expo than something more interactive.

I know I'm being a pain on this, and I'm really not that annoyed at it, just mostly pissed off due to my financial constraints right now. $400 is way more than I would spend on anything other than major purchases for practical reasons, and it's an awful lot of money to spend on that kind of thing. $400 is a lot of food, and if anything at the back of my mind I was paying attention to who could afford to come see the show and pay the premium. A lot of kids would miss out on an amazing experience, and those kids who are lower class would also be the ones most to benefit from being excited about STEM, robotics and what they could do with it. So yes I know the show has to make money and it's not like it's cheap to make and ship and perform those puppets. They have to make the money back somehow.

But between the crew standing around and the ushers I think someone could have given a short memorised script, because those of us in the know also realise that there's something to be said for inspiring the next generation, especially when they might have few opportunities to see such a performance.

... I know I sound pissed but I'm not that fussed. I am quite aware that I like stuff that's considered money-wasters (hello Beckett!) and despise most things that are money-makers because they tend to be technically excellent but ultimately soul-less. I'm not their target audience.

And let's face it, the puppets were gorgeous. 
pagestep007
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2015, 06:32:52 pm »

Well Na, that  was a very interesting read.  Thanks. Hope you do get to see how to train your Dragon.
davidnagel
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 06:55:11 pm »

Seems I'm very late to this thread! Here's a video I found, though I'm sure these are all over Youtube...

https://youtu.be/rGv4Gm_9JWo

The costume featured in the video, you can see the operators legs - wearing jeans Smiley

Na
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 10:31:58 pm »

Ew... you happened to find one of our Australian 'morning shows', aka gloss-magazine-nothing-of-substance-pretending-to-be-news shows. Wink Love how 'newsy' they are by doing research beforehand and knowing where the show originated... Sigh...

They do have some good WWD footage though. And yeah those legs are what I described in my review - stone-coloured costumes.
davidnagel
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2015, 10:36:08 am »

Gotta love a "news" morning show :D
mrbumblepants
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2015, 01:01:18 am »

I think most morning shows are like that. Ours in the U.S. Are atrocious. I watch YouTube videos in the morning instead, or listen to podcasts or the radio.


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Na
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 01:52:56 am »

I think most morning shows are like that. Ours in the U.S. Are atrocious. I watch YouTube videos in the morning instead, or listen to podcasts or the radio.


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I know. Get up at 4 or 5 and our (non-cable) channels program your morning shows in. I don't watch much TV anymore actually, I'm trying to curb myself and get back into reading books. (Halfway through The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, yay!)
mrbumblepants
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2015, 10:06:02 am »

Wooh! I love audio books since I'm a slow reader. We don't even have a TV anymore because no interest or time to watch it, so it's not worth the expense. Life is much better for me without it.


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