POTENTIAL NEW SQUID/OCTOPUS DOCUMENTARY

Steve O'Shea

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Many years ago we started a similar thread, and received some valuable input from folk in the cephalopod community here on TONMO.com. I take this opportunity again to call for ideas for a new squid/octopus documentary.

We are not talking an expedition-based documentary, searching for either giant or colossal squids, or any other (prohibitively expensive) documentary involving sea time. We have the opportunity to scope out a new documentary that utilises existing footage, knowledge and personnel.

Has anyone any ideas what they'd like to see produced? We're after a 1-page concept dealing with these animals, their life cycles/histories, biology, behaviour ... I am not interested in any Animal Face Off (AFO) style proposals.

Please feel free to post your ideas here. Your input would be greatly appreciated. We've basically got a week to get these ideas across, starting from now.

The clock is ticking.
 

monty

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What if Euprymna scolopes got in a smackdown fight with Tyranosaurous rex in the dressing room at American Idol?

Documentaries I'd love to see:

* cephalopod diversity with emphasis on Vampyroteuthis, Spirula, Argonauta, and Nautilus.
* brains, behaviors, vision, locomotion and camouflage in cephalopods
* evolutionary implications of cephalopod diversity, with emphasis on what convergent evolution shows us in comparing how cephalopods "solve" survival problems relative to how vertebrates do
* diversity of cephalopod lifestyles: compare squids, cuttles, octos, and the shallow versus midwater vs. deep water cephs.
* including some of the hobby animal aspects might be good, but might attract a lot of cranks, I'm not sure if this is a good or bad idea
* A detailed report on ceph chromatophore (etc) use showing the camouflage intra- and inter- species communication, polarization use, and so forth, and maybe the debate between Moynihan followers asserting language in Sepioteuthis and Hanlon's skeptical take on that.

Most documentaries barely cover the differences between squid, octo, and cuttle, let alone show the diversity within each of those groups (and the kooky outliers like nautilus and Spirula) them or compare them to vertebrates or look at their evolutionary history

Also life cycles and reproduction and how they very between cephs.

Or habitats and ecology.
 

Nancy

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There is an enormous interest in octopuses and octopus behavior. You might inverview Roland Anderson and find out some of the latest things he's doing (like feeding hot dogs to his GPOs for enrichment!). Jar opening and other "tricks" are popular, but problem solving as a topic could be very interesting. Octopus play - we've certainly seen a lot of that on ceph care.

Can an octopus recognize individuals?(we all know they can because we've seen instances)

I know you'd have to set this up, but how about an octopus escaping? O. vulgaris are known to escape - even better, escape and go over to another tank for fish. Jean had an example of this.

Octopuses are friendly. You might include an octopus with divers. There are some TV segments that suggest they're attacking divers when it's clear that isn't happeneing.

Bits and pieces of this have been done, but with High Definition tV taking off over here, animal programs are increasingly popular.

I'm sure this is just one of many possibilities. Anolther might be squid and octopus around NZ. Just make it colorful and use your sense of humor.

Nancy
 

Steve O'Shea

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Thanks Mark, Nancy

It would be nice if a series were to develop from something like this, perhaps "Amazing lives: Cephalopods". A pitch could certainly be made. I'll direct the company straight to this thread.

I like the cradle to the grave theme; and past, present and future of the cephalopod (would dearly love to see something done on fossils, reconstructing their life histories, phylogeny and morphology).

How would you feel about the following, as a preliminary pitch, for a series should something eventuate:

1) Cephalopod phylogeny (fossil to recent, and crystal-ball gazing). If one doco then all 3 could be covered, 20, 20 and ~ 7 minutes each. If a series, you would cover extinct to extant only, but dwell largely on the extinct, 42 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.

2) Recent diversity (an expose on the diversity of extant species of octopus, squid, cuttles, vampyromorphs and nautiloids). This might focus largely on the bizarre morphology of these species, using stock footage and narration. It probably couldn't dwell too much on behaviour (the subject of a separate documentary).

3) Life cycles of cephalopods (an expose on the known and hypothetical life cycles of cephalopods), from birth to death (death including predation; charismatic megafauna like whales, sharks etc). This could include: coastal, bathyal and abyssal taxa; diurnal vertical migration; seasonal spatial migration; the bizarre sexual behaviours of some of these species (that are known); egg type (octopus, squid, nautiloids, vamps), brooding, egg deposition on the sea bed, free-floating egg masses); life span; and mortality (post spawning, fisheries, predation).

4) Cephalopod bevaviour: this would, I would imagine, focus largely on intelligence (presumed), quirky mannerisms (bottle openings, mazes), habitat, defensive (or offence), recognition, chromatophores/camouflage, vision and locomotion, and deal largely with coastal species of octopus and cuttlefish (better studied and more easy to document on film).

Anyone have any more suggestions? It would be very hard to pitch a conservation-oriented programme, although a few pointed statements could be made during each and all - lessons learnt in the past and present, and what this might mean for the future (should global warming, as one topical example, lead to increased numbers (and larger individuals) of warmer-water species, a demise of cold-water and deep-sea species, and cascading effects through food chains [effects on cetaceans for one]).

When a few more ideas are posted I'll start a poll up, so people can vote for whatever they'd like to see first (prioritised).
 

OB

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I'll give this some serious thought...
 

DWhatley

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Door #3 has my vote

Steve O'Shea;110732 said:
2) ).

3) Life cycles of cephalopods (an expose on the known and hypothetical life cycles of cephalopods), from birth to death (death including predation; charismatic megafauna like whales, sharks etc). This could include: coastal, bathyal and abyssal taxa; diurnal vertical migration; seasonal spatial migration; the bizarre sexual behaviours of some of these species (that are known); egg type (octopus, squid, nautiloids, vamps), brooding, egg deposition on the sea bed, free-floating egg masses); life span; and mortality (post spawning, fisheries, predation).

I have been amazed at some of the comments made by very young (6-10 years old) children when they find out I have an octopus or seahorse. Some kids actually watch educational TV. I have also met people who are terrified of the ocean but have found the films wonderful. If you can display good pictures from egg to brooding, I think the interest would considerable.
 

gjbarord

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3) Life cycles of cephalopods (an expose on the known and hypothetical life cycles of cephalopods), from birth to death (death including predation; charismatic megafauna like whales, sharks etc). This could include: coastal, bathyal and abyssal taxa; diurnal vertical migration; seasonal spatial migration; the bizarre sexual behaviours of some of these species (that are known); egg type (octopus, squid, nautiloids, vamps), brooding, egg deposition on the sea bed, free-floating egg masses); life span; and mortality (post spawning, fisheries, predation).
I for one like this idea especially with some of the larger cephalopods as they often times have the smallest larvae. I also agree that a focus on merely conservation would be difficult because there really is not any information on the subject but using life cycles as a base, you would be able to throw in some important things going on right now, such as the protection of Sepia apama breeding grounds. You could also tie in how important cephalopods are to the food chain considering they are consumed by pretty much everything and slowly, and without force, offer conservation issues that may be taken up in the future.

I do not care for documentaries that show human interaction (without scientific merit) in the wild, positive or negative. I think that this sends the wrong message to the naive viewer that "hey octopuses are not mean, I will go down and play with that one". To me, seeing cephalopods, or any marine creature, in the wild without a diver in the way is so much better. This type of documentary can be done but it is so difficult. Why I just watched a show on great whites where people were diving with it, in open water, mainly to just be the first female photographer or what have you. While exciting I am sure, these kinds of actions do not have the effect that is wanted.

Who is the audience??

Greg
 

Architeuthoceras

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Steve O'Shea;110732 said:
snip

1) Cephalopod phylogeny (fossil to recent, and crystal-ball gazing). If one doco then all 3 could be covered, 20, 20 and ~ 7 minutes each. If a series, you would cover extinct to extant only, but dwell largely on the extinct, 42 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.

snip
Four or five 42 min. segments on the extinct would be great, but there might not be that large of an audience. :sad:
 

robyn

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I would love to see something on phylogenies too, particularly focusing on the extinct forms and how they evolved to what we have now, but I honestly think more people are into stuff like watching octopuses open jars.

Maybe something that actually relates all that sort of stuff to behaviour in the wild might be a new angle on it. It seems like there is a ton of footage of octopuses slithering over perspex maze walls and untwisting jar lids etc., but no real interpretation of why they are so 'intelligent' and why plastic behaviour might actually help them gain an advantage in the wild. That could be used as a jumping off point for looking at different types of behaviours by octos, cuttles, squids and nautiluses, and how 'intelligence' might be of use to each in its natural environment. That would be cool. I would watch it, at least!
 

theShice

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hello everyone. this is my first post, i've just been reading until now, but this thread kinda hit a nerve.

whatever the specific topic of the planned documentary might be, i'd like to suggest that the commentary should be detailed and complete.
i enjoy seeing documentaries on any kind of plants or animals, but it annoys me that they hardly ever go into detail when introducing a species. they show some images of a specimen, say something like "the so-and-so also defends its territory aggressively against intruders", and that's it. no information on where the so-and-so lives, how big it is, what it does for the rest of the day... i'd really like to see a program that gives me the impression of understanding something, and not just being told some random information without context.

also, i believe that the audience can indeed enjoy "dry" scientific topics, like the evolution of the different ceph groups, as long as they are presented in an interesting way.

the audience is more intelligent than most tv producers think ;)
 

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