Originally published in December, 2008 – before Ernie made it to the big-time with his own Animal Planet series.
It’s been a lonely world for reptiles since the Crocodile Hunter died in 2006. From the unlikeliest of places comes a hopeful replacement, the Turtle Man of Kentucky. If only he can convince his audience that he’s the entertainment warrior for the next generation.
Spending a day with the Turtle Man was quite the adventure. I had heard of Ernie Brown Jr’s adventures catching snappers with his bare hands some time ago, but couldn’t quite make the time to get ‘er done, as they say. On a Saturday in October, along with Louisville photographer Jonathan Palmer, I had one of the more surreal and entertaining days I’ve had in a long, long time.
This is the kind of story I love shooting, and it’s another interesting experiment for reporter Amy Wilson and me. It’s our second story using voice-over (the other one being about Rocky, the young boxer). These videos are so much more complete with Amy’s writing and narration.
I think I’ve been so hesitant to try voice-overs for fear of being like TV. But I’ve come to realize that my fear was that we would be too much like the local TV segments that are frequently shallow and unimaginative (not all, bust most).
Now I’m realizing that being like TV isn’t so bad if you set the bar higher – like 60 Minutes, This American Life, and CBS Sunday Morning. I hope Turtle Man is a step in that direction ’cause I sure do have a lot of fun doing these and find it very satisfying.
You can see Jonathan’s take on Turtle Man here.