|Written by Paul Mahoney|
|Tuesday, 05 January 2010 09:21|
Where are you based?
National Geographic Television, Washington DC, U.S.A
What kind of films do you make? How would you describe what you do?
I mostly work on either pure natural history films, or films about people and animals.
Who or what inspired you to work with film and why cover nature and conservation issues?
I have always loved animals. From a very young age I enjoyed going for walks in the woods and on the beach, and it just grew from there. After I completed a Zoology degree I knew I didn’t want to be an academic, and I had always loved watching David Attenborough on TV. So I completed a Masters in film and went into TV with the idea that I could show others just how wonderful I knew the natural world to be. And perhaps inspire them to live in a way that would help preserve the natural world.
What is the favourite film you’ve worked on?
That’s difficult. The film I am in the middle of working on always tends to be my favorite.
What has been your biggest challenge filming in the field?
I filmed in Maine in February in temperatures that were well below freezing, and I didn’t have quite the right clothing. Being outside for hours eventually turned my hands completely numb and it was a big challenge to try and operate the camera at the crucial moments.
How has technology changed your job? Has it hindered or enhanced telling the conservation story?
As technology improves it has definitely enhanced telling the conservation story. From infrared that first captured the nightlife of animals, to super high-speed cameras that showed us things that happen too fast for our eyes to perceive, each new technological advancement has uncovered another aspect of life on earth.
What is your favourite place in nature?
Any of the beaches around Scotland.
From your field experience, what is your biggest concern when it comes to the environment?
On a shoot for National Geographic’s ‘Explorer’ I went in to the Wind River Mountains to film on the high altitude glaciers. I was travelling with two scientists who had been to the same spot several years earlier and when they pointed out to me the previous extent of the ice. The difference was astonishing. My biggest concern would be the speed at which we are changing our planet, particularly with respect to the climate and loss of biodiversity. It’s happening so fast and the impact will be so long lived.
How do you think the media industry should be addressing environment and conservation issues?
I think there are many good approaches. TV reaches a huge audience globally, and anything that we can say about conservation will reach a lot of people, which I think is a great way to communicate some conservation issues. I also think there’s tremendous value in harder hitting films made for cinema or less mainstream audiences. In addition to spreading information I also try to work in a way that benefits the environment. I like using local film equipment rather than shipping it all round the world, or buying stock footage from conservation organizations. Collectively we spend a lot of money making environmental programs so I think it’s important to spend it wisely and to remember that the small things do add up.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am series producing a ten part series for National Geographic Channel at the moment.
Where are you going next?
I’m not sure yet, I’m looking at a few different options.
What would you like to remembered for?