Listen: A Chat With Guy Gsell, President & Founder of Field Station Dinosaurs
"Now. Let's join a conversation with Guy Gazelle the president and Chief Executive Producer of field station dinosaurs here on those leadership guy. Welcome the show so happy to have you here. It's great to be here. My curiosity is piqued. I have so many questions first and foremost I'm a kid I was. I guess every boy's goes to kind of girls. Go through horseface think little boys go through dinosaur phases maybe right. I was like a dinosaur fanatic. It was a freak about dinosaurs. Now we see more and more girls are into the dinosaurs in fact one of the most popular web series now is Dyno Dana. Yeah that's right. That's right. I've seen that that it had really gone out of fashion have they. They just always consistently popular yeah when I was putting my business plan together and I I was going out to investors trying to convince them to invest in a dinosaur park which is not something that exists you know really and because what I had to sell was the popularity of dinosaurs yeah and that the dinosaurs have been popular so they I sparked the imagination. You're in the eighteen eighties. They were lines around the block right to see the first dinosaurs in in London and in Philadelphia the the biggest blockbuster movie of the of the nineteen teens was was Gertie. The dinosaur which is a which is a cartoon in on the biggest blockbuster movie. The of twenty eighteen was drastic world three. I mean it's just has never has never gone down right. Why the FA- I mean I guess I guess it's intuitive who'd of why we're so fascinated with him because he seems so unreal I guess but what do you think the fascination is around. I think that they seem unreal but they were real and that's the fascination and that's what kids love about them because at an age where more and more things taken away from kids so there is no Santa Claus there is no tooth fairy. There is no Easter Bunny. There is no abominable snowman but but there is this they were real. We never take the dinosaurs away from the kids and the other thing that I think that really resonates with children is they have a shaky sense of time a few days in a while two years ago seventeen million years years ago. That's all the same to a little kid but when you tell them they lived right here so here in Derby we have a you you know a tyrannosaurus which is the kind of dinosaurs that actually marine reptile that lived right here in Kansas Yeah and when you tell them they lived here right where you are that really resonates with kids. They're like Oh. This giant thing was here that I think is what's interesting you so. I oh I think back to that. When I was that age you know eight nine when I was just so every tunnel to the library has picking a book doing learn everything that could about it and this isn't the seventies and when I found out that these lived here and I remember going to one of the I guess it was called the on this fear here at the time it was used to be the old original library and they had you know those fossils of this marine animal lived here and I'm like what you know. This was an ocean just fascinating. It's interesting that you put it that way. Yeah how how okay so. How did it all start so were you fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid yeah I was? I might really really early. Earliest memory was going to the New York world's fair in the in the nineteen sixty five at the world's for ran two years but I only remember number nineteen sixty five to sixty four and they had the the very famous sinclair dinosaur exhibit and I remember that exhibit and being really fascinated with with that and you know my first my favorite book when I was a kid was Danny and the dinosaur the whole dinosaur kids still read that makes me very happy happy and if I go anywhere and I say have any of you have read this book all the kids for his hands so yes now. I did not stay a dinosaur this or fanatic I mean that was something from my childhood that that I remembered fondly search like dinosaurs went ahead kids of my own taking them to the American Museum of Natural History three to see the dinosaur bones Was You know a big highlight of of being a dad for kids that age but I came back to the dinosaurs really when I started working in the exhibit business and how do we get involved in the business. I mean were you kind of looking at your background where you you integrate drama theatre acting. That was kind of what you thought your dream. Your path was going to be yes so I worked in the theatre. My my whole career as of of playwright as stage manager I did. I did some acting I became the managing director of a theater company. I mean I sort of worked my way up what you would call a theater generalist and so I was working at a theater in Red Bank New Jersey in we've did the capital campaign and we built a brand new theater and what happened is that caught the attention of some New York theater producers they were developing. I Am Exhibit Hall in The New York Times building in Times Square and because I had years of theater experience and I had just built a brand new building just done exactly what they wanted to do and almost built from scratch an organization they hired me to come in and and develop Ben. I was the original director of Discovery Times Square so that's how I got into the exhibit business guys in the theater we're going into the exhibit business and they hired a guy from the theater to go into the exhibit business with them and it was in the exhibit business and we did. King Tut and Titanic Harry Potter we did the the largest taurine exhibits that are that are currently out there and in the exhibit business we were constantly doing testing trying to figure out what what what exhibit to bring in next and dinosaurs always scored the highest every every time we did any kind of Nielsen intesting audience testing dinosaurs came in as the thing that was going to be the most popular and it wasn't appropriate. We had fairly low ceilings. Nothing being big enough to bring in a giant dinosaur. We were doing more high end. Shows like King Tut. We did the densities girls the producers didn't I think that animatronic dinosaurs really was a good match with the Dead Sea Scrolls so I got the idea then I said yes I should somebody should go out out there and do an outdoor animatronic dinosaur exhibit in New Jersey and sort of hit me that is actually the most qualified person to do that so in what way why why well I had the exhibit experience. I've grew up in North North Jersey just outside of New York City so I knew the the area. I knew exactly what would happen. I just built a exhibit hall. I had just built a theater so I had a lot of experience launching things and building things so I don wow so. Let's hang hang on so that that nudging that you've got he say okay I'm going to we need to put this dinosaur park. In New Jersey came in a dream and a PIFF AENA calling thing on a train on a journey what if you had to look back in retrospect and evaluate why this calling you think is it because you like the excitement of creating an exhibit. Do you like the educational aspect of it. What do you what what is it So I spent twelve of my years in theater. I spent working in children's theatre. touring internationally with a theater company called the paper. APOR bag players so teaching kids entertaining kids that is something that that that I really like and and understand hand so that aspect of it is very exciting to me. and that's what we do there. I mean in addition to Amtrak dinosaurs we have over forty live chain games and shows and activities that kids participate in so it's. I really did take my my years as a theater artist and combine line that with my experience in the exhibit business and my experience in in administration and and and management and I said I'm just gonNA put these altogether and I'm just GonNa Start this dinosaur park so sitting on the train you felt this was the purpose of calling. It was so strong that you immediately jobbers is something that you ruminated marinated over for quite a while so I not a fool so I was gonNA. Just quit my job I because because I had been working in the theater and had done a capital campaign. I knew a number of people who were both philanthropists but I also knew a number RAV people who were had had done some investing in theater had done investing in Broadway shows and I went went to them and I said to this my my business partners now my business partners then my perspective business partners and explain to them the the allure of dinosaurs and why I thought this would work and I said I need some seed money. I and the seed money was enough for me to quit my job and to scout out locations and try to secure location for the park and to find out more more about the business of dinosaur park because they exist. They're not they're not as big in North America much bigger in Asia and there are many more in Europe than than here it and find where I would find these animatronic dinosaurs and what they would cost and sort of got a business plan together so those investors said yes we. We are excited by this. We think this is great. We see the good work."