In the best case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” that we’ve seen in recent memory, it seems that Season 2 of Behind the Attraction found the perfect way to remedy a serious error from Season 1. After it was revealed that the work of YouTuber James St. Ogne had been used without permission during the Tower of Terror episode of the first season, the director and producer didn’t simply apologize to him and give him credit. He actually hired the guy.
Season 2 of Behind the Attraction debuted on Disney+ yesterday and James St. Ogne celebrated the show, which covers the changes to Pirates of the Caribbean and an entire episode about Epcot. Among other topics, it revealed that St. Ogne was a “Blueprint Designer” for the show. As he says, it was certainly an “unexpected" chain of events that led him to that point.
James St. Ogne produced the Art of Engineering YouTube channel where he looked at the engineering behind all sorts of things, including theme park attractions. Two years ago when the first season of Behind the Attraction ran on Disney+ he noticed that the show’s rendering of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction looked strikingly similar to his own. He called out the similarity, and the tweet went viral in the theme park community
Eventually, St. Ogne reported that he spoke directly with Brian Volk-Weiss, the series director and one of the producers. Volk-Weiss admitted that the Art of Engineering work had been used through a “chain of mistakes.” He apologized for the error and the credits of the episode were amended to include St. Ogne.
St Ogne was happy with the resolution and we thought that was the end of it, but apparently not. It seems when it was time to go back to make Season 2 of Behind the Attraction, the show just decided to hire the guy whose work had already been used. His work was up to snuff for the show, so it makes all the sense in the world.
Based on the credit, it appears St. Ogne was put to work doing exactly what he had done to get inadvertently noticed by the show in the first place. The series regularly uses blueprint-style drawings to give viewers a look at how attractions are put together. It was St. Ogne's drawing of the workings on the Tower of Terror that found its way, threw an as yet unclear chain of mistakes, into Behind the Attraction.
It’s certainly a strange way for a YouTuber to make the jump to television, but I guess you take the opportunities however they come. And honestly, it makes sense for Behind the Attraction as well. However you come across somebody with the talent to do work that you need, when you find them, grab them.
There are some impressive creators found on YouTube. Within the theme park space alone you have the technical expertise of something like Art of Engineering or the documentary filmmaking skills of Defunctland. It’s wonderful to see one of these people become a “professional” in their area of expertise. Hopefully, he won’t be the last who is recognized for their ability.