Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 3rd, 2011
Animal Planet’s extremely popular program “Finding Bigfoot” has been revealed to have been a highly edited form of “reality television” entertainment. In post-production, it has slowly come out that the production company, unknown to the BFRO members, edited into the Georgia episode, for example, wood knocks and noises to increase the show’s dramatic effect.
In an exclusive interview with one of the members of the production staff for “Finding Bigfoot” who was also on the BFRO staff, today Cryptomundo readers get more information about the footprint find from Georgia.
I talked to this gentlemen Tyler Wm Bounds yesterday, and he told me:
Hello Mr. Coleman. First, I’m a longtime fan of yours, your books, your museum, and of Cryptomundo.
I’m a member of the BFRO, and I consider all of the cast members, including Moneymaker, good friends.
I was a production assistant and “fixer” for a few episodes – GA, OR and WA.
I am actually the one who found the prints in GA.
I was employed by the production company.
I asked him, “Why didn’t they credit you with the cast find?”
Because at the time, I hadn’t signed an “appearance release,” and I didn’t really care about being on TV, so I agreed to let Cliff “find” them.
“Were you the first to find something and it had to be credited to the talent?”
Yes, I was the first. He gave me credit, but I don’t think he discussed why it was done the way it was.
The original cast of the first track found in Georgia during the “Finding Bigfoot” shoot.
The first generation copy cast of the “Finding Bigfoot” Georgia cast.
This gentleman has written down some of his thoughts, to share with Cryptomundo:
My name is Tyler Bounds, and I am a BFRO member and was also a production assistant on the “Finding Bigfoot” show. A little background: I was raised in Washington, and have had an interest in all things Bigfoot since I was very young. I have spent most of my life wandering the forests and mountains of WA, hiking, backpacking, learning all I could about the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest, and the last several years, investigating bigfoot sightings. I have a college education, and consider myself a rational observer. And I do know the difference between elk, coyote and owl vocalizations. As you may have read in Cliff’s notes (ha!), I was the person that found the footprints in Georgia, and I can state with near certainty that the prints were not fabricated or planted by myself, any of the cast, or the production crew. I say “near certainty” because I think that without seeing what made the prints, we may never know what actually left those tracks. The prints, 2 right feet, were 14 1/2″ long x 5 3/4″ wide (#1) and 14 3/4″ long x 5 1/2″ wide (#2), translating to a shoe size 18 or so, much bigger than Bobo’s foot. The production crew and I decided to have Cliff “discover” the prints for a few reasons. One: I had, at that time, not signed an ‘appearance release’ form, which they were sticklers about, so to have me appear on camera could have caused problems. Also, I was pretty sweaty, dirty and disheveled from running around in the woods and hillsides looking for evidence, and I didn’t really care if I was on TV or not. Two: They wanted to film Cliff actually FINDING them, and film his genuine reaction, which they did, and which you all saw. That was not faked. Three: They wanted to film Cliff casting the prints, and wanted to have some sort of continuity or congruence with the finder/caster. Cliff has made a lot of casts, and I was more than willing to let his expertise take center stage. Had I thought then that by simply letting Cliff make the discovery would result in people assuming it was a conspiracy, or that all of the show was contrived, I would have gladly stepped in and explained it all to the audience, but I didn’t. There was always an agreement between Cliff, the production folks, and myself that Cliff would give credit to me for finding the prints, which I appreciate, even though it seems to be causing me some headaches and frustration now. It amazes me how much talk a quick, on-the-fly decision can raise. Another reason for letting things move along quickly and with minimal hassle was because we were pretty far out in the woods, and it was starting to get dark (it was Feb.16, night falls pretty early.). As it was, Cliff and I sat on top of a hill watching plaster set in the dark while the crew hiked back to the cars to eat, charge batteries, get lights, and other duties that they were responsible for.
I wish I could answer more questions regarding the authenticity of other scenes, but I wasn’t present for the night investigations that the cast embarked upon, nor did I have anything to do with the editing process. What I can do is direct you to go to Cliff’s site, where after every episode he will be adding details to scenes and experiences seen, or not seen, on the show. As with his comments regarding the first episode, I hope you would agree he has been open and honest about what happened behind-the-scenes during filming.
And as an aside, I don’t think that calling sasquatches ’squatches’ disrespects anybody or anything, as much as calling hippopotami ‘hippos’ or crocodiles ‘crocs’ disrespects the animals or the people who named them, but, as I was a paleontology major in college, I do cringe slightly when people call Tyrannosaurus Rex ‘T. Rex’, so I see where you are coming from. But when we are out doing our thing, we refer to things as looking or feeling ’squatchy’, we call our outings ’squatching’, we call ourselves ’squatchers’, etc. I assure you, we don’t consider our usage of the word as disrespectful, and so far, we haven’t had any complaints from the Original Inhabitants or the sasquatches, so I think we’re good to go. Thank you all for your time, and thanks to those of you who took the time to watch the show, we worked hard on it, and had a good time doing it.
“Do you know of any other similar things that we can anticipate from upcoming episodes?”
And as far as upcoming episodes, I wasn’t present when other pieces of “evidence” were found in other states, so I can’t go on record about that. I did sign NDAs and contracts after I found the prints, and then they did include me in that GA episode later, labelling me as a “member of the Georgia BFRO,” even though I’m from Washington. What I can really discuss, with any authority, is the footprint find, since I was there, I was in possession of the original casts for a few weeks, since AP wanted the originals. The footprint info has been discussed on Cliff’s new website.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.