XL1s and a plane ticket, now my own series on Animal Planet at DVinfo.net

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Old December 1st, 2006, 09:54 AM   #1
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XL1s and a plane ticket, now my own series on Animal Planet

Hello everyone,

As the DV info website has been valuable to me in producing my first projects, I would like to share what I have been working on with you. It truely fits within this catagory. The series is a four-part adventure series for Animal Planet. It is mostly just myself who has done almost all aspects of production and my partner who hosts the series.

2 years ago, I bought a plane ticket to Africa, and along with a friend (who lives in Tanzania) set out to make a pilot for a series about a guy who lives and works in Africa as a Safari Guide. Together we shot two half hour programs for no money, and cut the first part into a 22 minute pilot which I pitched to Animal Planet. By the end of the meeting, I had sold my show, which would be cut into a one hour program with the other half hour story.

Since then I have been shooting new episode comminsioned by Animal Planet. Hopefully the series will be seen worldwide very soon.

I invite anyone who wishes to get a sneek peek at my show, which aired in Canada this November. Here is a full episode online.

http://www.digitalcrossing.ca/UA%20-...%20-%20PT1.wmv

http://www.digitalcrossing.ca/UA%20-...%20-%20PT2.wmv


I shoot on an Xl1s and Gl2, which have been put to the extremes while filming. I'm also an ex-visual FX guy, which helps greatly to increase the look of the film.

If your interested, I also have a website for the series at www.ultimateafrica.tv which has a directors blog.

I welcome any emails, and love to help those lookign to learn more about breaking in to the industry.

Hope you enjoy it!

Michael

michaelds@ digitalcrossing.ca (remover spaces)
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Last edited by Michael Dalton; December 1st, 2006 at 03:27 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 10:00 AM   #2
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Congratulations Michael. Sounds great and I will watch for it. Keep shooting!

By the way, you are hereby banned from any contests! Just kidding! :)

Mike
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Old December 1st, 2006, 11:13 AM   #3
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Michael,
Congratulations, although I am unable to view the programe. Africa is a country my wife and I love. We have spent the last two winters in Kenya on various safaris producing Staff training films for a well known European Travel Company. We are off again the end of December, this time on a trip organised by ourselves through contracts we have made over there. We have a few ideas for the footage we hope to shoot and will update later if they come to anything.
Any idea when your programes will be shown on European satellite. Like the web site, again well done

Many regards

Mick
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Old December 1st, 2006, 12:39 PM   #4
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that's a remarkable story. very inspiring!
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Old December 1st, 2006, 03:07 PM   #5
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Not sure what happened to the link

Here are direct links to the files

http://www.digitalcrossing.ca/UA - E...AIRS - PT1.wmv
http://www.digitalcrossing.ca/UA - E...AIRS - PT2.wmv

I updated this link, you needed all of it.

A word of caution, some scene are a little graphic due to the nature of the subject. For the record, I am anti-hunting!

Cheers,

Michael
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Old December 1st, 2006, 05:43 PM   #6
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Interesting stuff Michael, your supplied links works well now! I know how hard it is to make a wildelife documentary, no luxury hotels and limoes.

I'v send you an e-mail about my muskox project.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 04:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Congratulations Michael. Sounds great and I will watch for it. Keep shooting!

By the way, you are hereby baned from any contests! Just kidding! :)

Mike
Maybe we could ask him to help with the judging. Although I imagine that he's very busy at the moment.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 03:42 PM   #8
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Great work!

Congratulations on getting on Animal Planet!

Was the music "canned" or was the project scored?
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 05:37 PM   #9
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Hey Michael,

That's fantastic news!

Do you mind sharing how you achieved your pitch meeting with Animal Planet? If not, no worries. Did you have previous experience working with them? It has been a bit "difficult" to get these types of meetings without some form of contact or past relationship with some of our local or regional stations.

Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing the show.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 09:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for the nice comments.

The music was composed for the films by a guy in Toronto named Mike Alonzo who did a terrific job. I thought his work really enhance the adventures.

Pitching is a difficult thing, you have to understand that networks get many ideas. Mine was one of 600 that year, the only one chosen. National Geographic gets 1000 a month.

I think for me it was a few things, one being in Canada, being able to do as much as I can, and having a good original idea. It helped to have footage. I met the host after climbing Kilimanjaro, he took me on safari and I turned the camera on him. So my first pitch was with video of a very rough idea, which opened doors for me,

Having done a limited series, I can now understand why most networks don't work with first time filmmakers. It is an incredible risk. I got lucky that I was able to pull it off, and get the access I did. Ass you may have seen, it was incredibly hard going with some risk. I was willing to do a lot things other filmmakers would not do. It was a wild ride.

other then the idea, It was really of a lot of really hard work and perseverance.

Hope this helps.

Michael
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Old December 5th, 2006, 01:32 PM   #11
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Fantastic and inspiring work Michael
Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas
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Old December 5th, 2006, 05:28 PM   #12
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Michael,

Nice work, well produced, well edited. Also a very interesting storyline. The concept that hunting in small amounts provides the necessay revenue for wildlife conservation of massive areas.

No, I'm not trying to restart THAT thread.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 05:45 AM   #13
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Congratulations Michael, on finally having your projects accepted by Animal Planet and shown as a four-part adventure series! There is some nice camera work and even better editing techniques in the films shown in the series.

The storyline is good and kicks along at a fair pace, maintaining interest throughout. The story is also extremely controversial, and this of course helps sell the story because nothing raises interest more than controversial subjects.

(I do think that the opening movie would have been even more powerful if part of it concentrated on the local poacher’s viewpoint, and how they are usually only puppets controlled by bigger and richer key players, in the long and complex network of illegal trafficking of poached goods to sources outside of Africa).

I trained for 7-years in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and have travelled extensively to most wilderness areas of the Globe, primarily as a photojournalist/filmmaker dealing with nature subjects. I also know all too well the arguments for and against professional hunting, and although I strongly disagree with some of the views written in your website Directors Blog, I do heartily agree with most of them, and I think conservation and protecting the beautiful and diverse world that we live in is of paramount importance.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #14
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I would have to say it is tough dealing with controversial subjects, because you can see points to all sides, unfortunatly you are restricted by time and can only deal with so much when you need to keep the story moving.

With regards to showing more of other side, one of the biggest problem you have is the access, especially in a place like TZ which is not open to discussing anything controvercial, and hence why I focused more of the work of FCF.

I would really like to do a documentary from the African perspective, and get at the heart of problem, and that is poverty. You can debate the pros and cons of hunting with no clear winner, but it is really secondary to the issues of poverty. I spoke with many important people in conservation prior to taking the stance I did in the film (which is against my own personal view) and it was the results of their views, and opions that helped shape the story. In the end I asked the question is Tanzania better or worse off with hunting, and dispite all the negitives (and there is a lot), it is better off in my personal opinion.

An interesting point, the head of Anti-Poaching in the episode is against hunting, but works for the company since it offers him the greatest chance to do important conservation work.

Reaction has been mixed both positive and negative to our stance which is what you'd expect with a story like this. I appreciate all veiws.

I knew I was taking a big risk with the story, hence I choose much safer storylines for my other subjects. I will post another episode next week.

Best,

Michael
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #15
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I too am very much against hunting in this context. This story needed to be told and your work on this project will I hope bring much debate in the right quarters. It is difficult for people who have not experienced Africa to apprieciate the poverty there and any means of earning money that brings food to the table is going to be considered.
In kenya at the moment many big farms are turning themselves into conservation areas and useing tourism as a means of income and therefore not had to resort to hunting for income as yet. This is a very complex issue and your program is much needed to highlite this practice.

Many Thanks

Mick
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