Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Getting started in Wildlife TV - Have you thought about Wildscreen?

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Originall posted in The Naturewatch 29th Sept 2010


'One thing for sure is that, whatever the path, it’s up to the individual and their dogged persistence combined with undying passion that will get them through the bumpy, muddy, arduous jungle road that is the path towards becoming a wildlife photographer or filmmaker.' - Sandesh Kadur Felis Blog

Other than being dogged and persistent, another top tip is to attend the Wildscreen international film festival.

What is Wildscreen?

This biannual festival is the Mecca for Wildlife Filmmakers, internationally acknowledged as the most influential and prestigious event of its kind in the world. The aim of Wildscreen is to celebrate, applaud and encourage excellence, and responsibility, in wildlife and environmental filmmaking - films which increase the global viewing public's understanding of the natural world, and the need to conserve it.

By attending wildscreen you'll get a real flavour for the wildlife filmmaking industry and see what's hot and what's not for those who are commissioning programmes or hiring new talent. You'll hear behind the scenes stories from producers and presenters, cameramen and editors and discover what it takes to make a top natural history film. Most importantly you'll meet people who can inspire and help you on your way. And as Sandesh says it will 'help fuel the passion and jump-start your career in wildlife TV' - it certainly did that for me when I was seeking my break in the industry almost 10 years ago and It's been a top event in my calendar ever since.

If you're fresh from university then you'll probably find the festival a bit on the expensive side - about 600pounds to register as a full delegate. The budget option is to become a festival volunteer, or apply for a reduced rate as a newcomer. If you've just produced your first wildlife film then enter it for the highly prized newcomers award - a real springboard to success.



The Workshops

The workshops are really worth attending as you'll get hands on with cutting edge technology and learn from the experts - everything from highspeed filming and 3D cameras to workshops about how to be a wildlife TV researcher. This year I'll be running one entitled 'Breaking out of the Box' about how to produce content for a web audience.

The Awards

The highlight of the festival for me is always the Gala Panda Awards Ceremony. Wildscreen is a competition as well as a Festival and this is the night when the award winners will be announced. The stakes are high as the awards have established themselves as the Green Oscars, and the posh black-tie do certainly has an air of hollywood glitz about it. This year it will be hosted by Kate Silverton and Benedict Allen.

I'll be there in anticipation of one of my series winning an accolade. 'Life' is up for a whole range of awards, and 'How Earth Made Us' is in the running for the Earth Science Award, as well as best series.

It was an honour at the 2008 Panda Awards, when we won the Golden Panda for 'Life in Cold Blood'.
 
For handy tips and advice on starting a career in wildlife television get your hands on a copy of the book by Piers Warren titled: Careers in Wildlife Filmmaking.

Good luck
- Paul 

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