Bill Macdonald
Biographical Information
Independent Producer of Televised Documentaries

A walk through time…

Bill Macdonald Productions is a film production enterprise whose mission is to document aquatic resources, marine life, and watersheds. We employ our high definition video archive of some 1000 hours to produce educational programming on watershed awareness. We make broadcast quality promotional videos that capture the very best in underwater experiences at the world’s foremost dive resorts and live-a-board dive vessels.

The last ten years…

Over the last ten years, with support and assistance from his wife Susan (herself an accomplished undersea photographer and researcher), Bill has produced many marine awareness videos. Recent productions

Include: Diving Promotional for the Manta Ray Bay Resort (2005 – 2010), Kungkungan Bay Resort

(1996 to 2010), Thalassa – Manado (2007 to 2010) and Sorido Resort in Raja Ampat , Indonesia (2008). In the year 2000 we produced “Bizarre Denizens of the Lembeh Straits” that is still popular today. In 2000 we began to work with Captain Charles Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation to document the unfortunate build-up of marine debris in the world ocean, and produced a signature film: “Synthetic Sea” that soon became a series. “Our Synthetic Sea” won an award for excellence at the Santa Cruz Environmental Film Festival. “Synthetic Sea” has been translated into Japanese and Spanish. The “Synthetic Sea Story” (2006) is a 30 minute overview of the state of the art in marine debris issues.

Bill Macdonald has recently produced a series of films to create an entire presentation called SEA PULSE. The films present the beauty of the world oceans most biodiverse reefs (“Heart of the Ocean”).  The threats to this world ocean are then depicted in the most recent Algalita program (“Synthetic Sea 2010”) featuring Captain Charles Moore, the dean of marine debris researchers.

Will the oceans maintain their beauty

“The Watershed Steward” is next on the film program and depicts the power of one man, Lenny Arkinstall to remove 100’s of tons of debris from the San Gabriel River Watershed. Lenny’s example is a positive way to deal with plastic trash.

Watershed Steward documentation

“Whales Die, Zombies Dance” follows and depicts Dance

4 Oceans a dance troupe who creates a parody of Michael Jackson’s Thriller Zombies, as it converts them into ‘Plastic Trash Zombies’ who emerge from a trashy ocean, draped in plastic, to protest.

The closing program The World Ocean “Trashed” is a 10 minute, NOAA award winning summary of the marine debris issue.

How are the oceans doing?

Archives from the early 1990’s:
“Indonesian Safari”, “Secrets of California Waters” and “More Secrets of California Waters” (1999) to assist in understanding tropical reef and kelp environments.

Resort Promotional Programs

Since 1982 we have been specializing in documenting and promoting some of the world’s prime dive destinations. Truth Aquatics, in California, Hotel Cabo San Lucas in Baja and Sipadan Is, Malaysia were the focus of early promotions during the 1980’s.

In the 1990s Macdonald Productions was active in the Indo Pacific region with numerous expeditions to the world’s most biologically diverse marine environment. These expeditions have documented many fascinating subjects, and some of the marine creatures are relatively new to human awareness, including the mimic octopus, pygmy sea horse, and the venomous snake blenny. For More information on Resort Promotional Programs contact us.

“Indonesian Safari” (1994) depicts the worlds most prolific and fragile reef ecosystems; in 1997 segments on Bali reefs and bizarre critters of Sulawesi were added. This program is used to depict Indonesia diving by the Indonesian government and Garuda Indonesia Airlines.

In Secrets of California Waters (1996) and More Secrets of California Waters (1999), Susan and Bill have compiled an impressive series of sequences revealing creatures and events most divers rarely encounter. The program focuses on basking sharks, elephant seal harems, sea lion behavior, and secluded locations seldom visited by humans. Videotaped over a four year period, Secrets of California Waters is a prime example of kelp environment awareness. From the smallest plankton to the largest inhabitant, the program has drawn rave reviews. So much so, that The Discovery Channel has commissioned much of the underwater material in a one-hour special on the Channel Islands National Park marine sanctuary.

Burrud Productions
In 1988, Bill Macdonald began his association with Burrud Productions during the filming of Tarawa and Big Cats as an associate producer and cameraman. By 1989, Macdonald was promoted to supervising producer for the Treasure of San Felipe, an episode in the treasure series hosted by Philip-Michael Thomas (Miami Vice). Also, Macdonald was associate producer for Kokoweef Treasure, and underwater cameraman for Secrets of the Sacred Wells (both episodes involved cave exploration and cave diving).

The Cousteau Society
Bill Macdonald has over thirty years of filming experience that includes a six year period as an integral member of The Cousteau Society’s diving and filming team from 1975 through 1980. Bill worked directly for the late Philippe Cousteau from whom he learned the Cousteau philosophy. As environmental spokesperson for The Cousteau Society, Bill Macdonald presented over 350 lectures to American university audiences. As the Marine Awareness Coordinator for The Cousteau Society, Bill Macdonald sailed aboard Calypso during the Mediterranean Pollution study which established an environmental baseline study in coastal Mediterranean waters. Macdonald shared these findings in a worldwide university lecture program for The Cousteau Society.

OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion)
In 1981, in his first major independent production, Bill Macdonald documented the worlds largest ocean energy test platform off Hawaii’s Kona Coast: OTEC-1. Today, the film stands as the sole historical document of the United States best effort in a field. OTEC stands for ocean thermal energy conversion a process that when refined, may some day revolutionize a way for tropical island peoples to extract energy from the sea, while harvesting pelagic fishes and conducting aqua culture in the process. While in Hawaii, Bill Macdonald was commissioned by Sea Grant to document the fabrication and deployment of a State of Hawaii program of fish aggregation devices throughout the island chain. In documenting the above deployments, Macdonald has a working background with ocean systems capable of enhancing productivity which, in turn, has a potential to boost ocean productivity and the humans using it.

Comcast Cablevision
In 1982, Macdonald returns to the mainland to produce, film, and host : “Coastal Focus” a series of ten half-hour programs on Southern California action sports for Comcast Cablevision: SCUBA diving; surfing; outrigger canoe racing; and ballooning.

Truth Aquatics
Another sport diving film: “Diving California’s Channel Islands” (1983)uses a sound track from Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN) to illustrate live-aboard diving in California’s Channel Islands. Diving California’s Channel Islands is a longtime corporate video for Truth Aquatics with 1000’s of copies in distribution to sport diving groups in the USA and overseas. This program (with updates and revisions) has been in circulation for almost fifteen years.

Crosby, Stills and Nash
Crosby, Stills, and Nash chose The Cousteau Society (in 1976) to produce and edit a musical visual to their hit song :”Wind on the Water” a moving tribute to whales and dolphins. Bill Macdonald, then a Cousteau Society Marine Awareness director was assigned by Jacques Yve Cousteau to produce the visual program from the Cousteau Society film archives. This film has been featured in their concerts for over thirty years “Wind on the Water” makes a strong case for the preservation and protection of these gentle mammals. As the film rolls on a large screen above the stage, the song in played in unison with the picture. Tens of millions of viewers have seen this live in concerts, on television, or via home video over a period now exceeding thirty years.

Handicapped SCUBA Diving
In 1984, Bill Macdonald Productions produced: “Freedom in Depth” a definitive film on handicapped SCUBA diving, hosted by Jean-Michel Cousteau. Freedom in Depth depicts disabled humans finding freedom from gravity through the buoyant properties of aquatic adventure.