Visuals and backstory on some of Stephen Gagné's past film work

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Stephen has worked on a number of films for PBS, both behind and in front of the cameras. It began with an underwater piano he built to play for wild dolphins, which became the focus of Dolphin, an award-winning PBS special . He also was did location sound during the film's production when not underwater.

He got the strongest response playing for wild spotted dolphins in the Bahamas, near the Bermuda Triangle.


Shadowmaster took three months to film in Bali, partly because the script was a team effort written on location, with the assistance of a Balinese Shadowmaster, Shaman, and others in the village of Tunjuk. It became a one hour PBS special. Stephenj's roles were location sound, production still photography, and, aided by Will Wilkinson, a 2004 re-cut and transfer into DVD format.


These stills are from a second PBS special shot a few years after Dolphin came out, called In the Kingdom of The Dolphins. Stephen's shown here with an underwater "frequency shifting" recorder he designed to allow live, sync recordings of dolphin vocalizations while filming them, which had never been attempted before with wild dolphins. Its companion box (not shown) allowed us to play their own calls back to them, recorded in previous trips, to gague their reactions while filming, and see if they'd attempt to reply. Fortunately (for the filmmakers, at least) they did.

Stephen did the original musical score for the underwater TV special
Baja's Giants of the Deep.
Here's a publicity and credits blurb.

Playing for Rosie, one of Dr. Lilly's research dolphins

Stephen was part of a 3 person team that shot a PBS special in Japan called Island at the Edge, about a fishing crisis they had involving the slaughter of thousands of dolphins that were competing with fishermen for food. The film won a Golden Globe Award.

ABS Sports brought Sally Kellerman (Mash) along to add some star power to the scene when Stephen played underwater for some wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii. Unfortunately, unlike the spotted Bahamas dolphins, the spinners showed little interest. ABC still managed to stretch their investement into a half hour show, though.