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Pendragon Production Diaries Capture Lawhead's Bull Dancers of Atlantis Using Shocking Precision

Screenshot of Pendragon Cycle Production Diary #8, by DailyWire+

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Today's Hollywood lacks the expertise to work with horses the way they used to, and bulls are completely another level of production standards that will be required to maintain a safe and efficient set. And for what cause would they aspire for such standards anyway? Hollywood would easily shrink from this challenge with a few script notes to make the show or film far more easy to produce. They'd use CGI. They'd use camera tricks. They'd use a rewrite to render the presence of the bulls irrelevant to the story.

But not The Daily Wire. They belong to a new breed in entertainment.

I admire the fact that the Daily Wire is doing this because, having interviewed a Hollywood stunt man in the past (Kim Kahana), I know that these stunts and animal trainers have been, for the most part, rendered obsolete by a studio system that no longer respects or represents the craftsmen that once called Tinseltown home. This was a few years back, but Mr. Kahana (from Smokey and the Bandit, The Omaga Man, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Cool Hand Luke) let us know quite sincerely that part of the work he used to do with animals (mostly on westerns) is obsolete in an industry that can no longer commit to physical effects and stunts. They lack the resolve required to do most of the horse tricks that were standard fare in the western genre. And this is just horses. Of course, for Mr. Kahana he has far more tricks up his sleeve than western stunts, but Hollywood has suffered from a brain-drain of talent making it hard for them to return to westerns when they were trying to a few years back (with the True Grit and The Magnificent Seven remakes). They can hardly follow necessary protocol to have guns on set because someone like Alec Baldwin might kill someone and will go "Scotch free" for his complete disregard for every rule in the book (even while being named the responsible party on set, as producer).

This endangers everyone on these sets and increases costs.

So, this prospect does not fare well for the jobs of so many craftsmen and experts who rely upon daring producers to shield the work of the many varied craftsmen who only seek to show people what they can do. And it is truly amazing work they can do.

Just watch this truly remarkable production diary here.

But why does The Daily Wire need to be able to have real bull leapers in the ring of a fantasy series? Oh, so many reasons, I assure you.

The rules of filmmaking include the suspension of disbelief, the uncanny valley, which combines to effect the "verity of visual effects interaction" as I call it.

This principle deals with the fact that truth is lost in the scene when a true interaction is undercut by digital inserts. This effect increases exponentially in situations of authentic danger. So, you will, in the audience, fail to have "suspension of disbelief" when a part of your brain knows that this is not a real bull for the simple reason that the actor knows that this is not a real bull. This reality is transfered to you the viewer as disbelief (in a bad way). The "uncanny valley"-style of disgust is what results eventually, as this happens more and more. The reason I lump the "uncanny valley" into this (which is an inauthentic depiction of a real person through digital inserts) is that this is being lumped into a common issue with all CGI work, as we persist to overuse it in our entertainment. I call this Digital Oversaturation.

I do not know Jeremy Boreing's philosophy on this, but my guess is that part of this production ethos (on the part of DW) is Dallas Sonnier's input. He notoriously utilizes almost exclusive practical effects, and has a long history of heavy action and horror effects in virtually all of his films. I consider this to be a very wise choice because we (in ConWave) must distinguish ourselves from the failures of modern Hollywood, and choose strategically where to borrow from Hollywood's glorious past or to trudge forward fearlessly into new territory to take new ground.

The Conservative New Wave (ConWave) of films must use it's own strong heritage in Golden Era Hollywood to pick and choose what has worked, and dispense with the last 30 years (or so) of Hollywood's duds. Hollywood's current philosophy and ethos has been failing, and it's up to us to pick up the pieces that they dropped on their desperate bid for complete control of the worldwide narrative in culture.

This simple decision to return to practical is, in my view, the right choice.

I feel that another film, The Creator, has also identified some smart choices filmmakers can use in the sci-fi genre to maintain the suspension of disbelief and prevent continued Digital Oversaturation, which can therefore effect the verity of visual effects interaction in a more positive direction. I use the VVFXI as a spectrum that may allow filmmakers to contuinue to use VFX while resisting the urge to use it too much. This also allows an actor who does well in the VVFXI spectrum to offset to overuse of VFX in other areas.

In any case, the objective is authentic performances and an increase of the "suspension of disbelief" which contributes to better storytelling. When these goals are achieved, this allows your story to have the room it needs to shine. Additionally, the costs to achieving this need not be prohibitive. So, with coordinated effort this is very possible and a worthy goal for anayone, including DW,, Blaze, Angel or any other alternative-to-Hollywood entity to make inroads as Hollywood continues to go OUT of style.

As they say, when you mess with the bull, you get the horns. But when you hire the bull dancer, you get the roses.

Did you enojy this article? What do you think of DW's decision to hire the best and take the risks required to get the best performance possible, even while danger may occur on set? Is this brave or foolish? Let us know on our social media or down below (with subscription).