Independent Filmmaker

Bill Macdonald

Bill Macdonald is an independent filmmaker and speaker. He is the owner of the film production enterprise Macdonald Productions, which has a primary focus of providing and producing filmography from the aquatic world.

From 1975 to 1980, Macdonald was a member of the Cousteau dive and film team. He had the opportunity to work with Philippe Cousteau on a number of projects. He was also an environmental spokesman responsible for giving over 350 lectures to different universities around America on behalf of The Cousteau Society.

In 1976, he was working for The Cousteau Society as their Marine Awareness director. Jacques Cousteau assigned him a project, which required Bill to create a visual representation of aquatic wildlife for the vocal rock group Crosby, Stills and Nash. The video would be used to accompany the group’s song “Wind on the Water.” He created the film by using video clips from the film archives that belonged to the Cousteau Society. The main focus of the video includes dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. This visual representation of these beautiful creatures was used by the group for over 30 years during their live concerts.

Macdonald has also worked with sports and aquatics. In 1982, he was involved in filming and producing a sports series for Comcast Cablevision. Set in sunny Southern California, the 10 episode series involved filming various underwater sports that ranged from outrigger canoe racing and surfing to scuba diving and ballooning. Each episode was 30 minutes long and was hosted by Macdonald.

In 1983, Macdonald Productions contributed to the independent film industry by creating “Diving California’s Channel Islands” for Truth Aquatics. Production was done in the California Channel Islands, which are located off the coast near Santa Barbara, California. This video has been commercially distributed to a number of sports diving groups in the USA and other locations around the world.

Scuba diving and physical disability became a focal point for this independent film production house in 1984. Macdonald was a producer of “Freedom in Depth.” Hosted by coproducer Jean-Michel Cousteau, this film explored the relationship between physically disabled individuals and the freedom that they found while they were in the water.

Bill also served as an associate producer for “Tarawa and Big Cats.” This was created for Burrud Productions in 1988. While producing this film, he also had a chance to get behind the camera and do some work filming the project. Macdonald was also involved with a treasure series and worked as a supervising producer for the episode known as “Treasure of San Felipe. In later episodes, he acted as cameraman during scenes that involved cave diving and exploration.

Environmental awareness has always been a key element that’s incorporated into Macdonald’s films. Another contribution by this independent filmmaking enterprise was the film “Synthetic Sea.” It focused on making individuals aware of the enormous amounts of debris that are accumulating in the ocean. This is the type of film that the International Documentary Association promotes. The film has been translated into Spanish and Japanese.

In 1996, while working with his wife Susan, they produced the “Secrets of California Waters.” One of the exciting aspects of the underwater world is that you never know what you will find. In this film, many secrets were revealed as the couple discovered many types of rare encounters with aquatic life such as elephant seal harems and basking sharks.

In 1999, Macdonald added to the series by creating “More Secrets of California Waters.” This film highlighted the kelp environment. The Discovery Channel has used video from the film to produce their one-hour film focusing on the Channel Islands.

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