T I NY CREATURES | WI LDL I FE
We were always working on what the animals’ natural behaviours were, which were often around things that they liked
numerous observational natural history shows like Planet Earth II , as well as Hidden Kingdoms back in 2014, which concentrated on the smaller animals that populate forests and jungles but, importantly in reference to Tiny Creatures , was shot from their own lowly perspective. Jones explains the basic differences between his show and more traditional documentaries. “This show is, in some ways, completely different from shooting traditional natural history, as those shows shoot a lot of footage and then come back and try to find their story. We had our stories already and, like a commercial for instance, we then had to find out the best way to shoot them.”
Although Jones worries about the trolling the show has received, he’s proud he’s made something that families can watch and also surreptitiously acts as a route into the meatier natural history shows like Planet Earth and Our Planet . “The young kids who have no interest in natural history might use Tiny Creatures as a springboard to the other shows. That’s how I sold it to Netflix, as an entry point,” he says. “Also, although we have a great score from Benjamin Squires, if you do turn the sound off, you don’t lose any of the meaning. The message still comes through. “We leant on our years of experience to make the shows and would never make an animal do something it was uncomfortable doing, so we were always working on what their natural behaviours were, which were often around things that they liked, for example feeding and exercise.” It was this enjoyable behaviour from the animals that was the fabric and starting point for the narratives. “They would be out doing their thing, but we would put a
Jones took his skills in capturing footage from the small animal kingdom and decided to move away from the observational to the resurgent staged- narrative, animal-behaviour genre; thinking back to US content like The Incredible Journey and even Tom & Jerry – the way the humans are characterised in Tiny Creatures is a nod to the weary perception that animals have of humans in those classic cartoons.
ABOVE Jonathan Jones, the director and DOP of Tiny Creatures, shooting on location
SEPTEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 23
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