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Wild Talk Africa 2013. Video Vignettes in which Industry Leaders Discuss Trends in the Wildlife Genre

2013 August 16
by Peter Hamilton

Wild Talk Africa was a tremendously exciting and well-organized conference focused on Natural History television that was held in Durban in July 2013.

It was my first attempt to capture expert interviews on the fly using my cellphone.

  • The results were mixed: my camera work is wobbly and the sound is often muffled by background noise. We’ll do better next time!
  • But the picture quality is terrific, and the content of these 3-4 minute interviews is of great practical use.

Here are my clips:

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The Future for Wildlife Television is Optimistic for a BBC/NHU Executive Producer

Chris Cole
Executive Producer
BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol

Chris looks at three trends in the wildlife genre. He is optimistic, seeing less growth than in the days when cab/sat was emerging, but still encouraging demand. We discuss technical impacts on the genre.  BTW, the NHU’s Africa won big at the Roscars with its unforgettable sequences of rhinos playing whoopee in the starlight, and of a titanic battle between alpha giraffes.

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The Rise of the UK Agent: My Role and the Value of Wild Talk

Edwina Thring
Managing Director
Wild Thring Media, London

Edwina discusses the emergence of the agent in the UK unscripted marketplace. She is enthusiastic about the quality of productions that she found at Wild Talk.

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Three Big Global Trends in Natural History Television

Vyv Simson
Commissioning Editor & Creative Director
NHU Africa, Cape Town

According to a BBC NHU veteran:

  1. 3D is dead for TV.
  2. The disparity is growing wider between the demands of North America for character-driven television and the rest of the world where there is still an audience for natural history.
  3. There is a big appetite amongst filmmakers to create wildlife films around issues – but broadcasters are by and large not interested, and that’s a shame!
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U.S. Commissioner’s Takeaways on Wild Talk Africa

Jordan Hall
Manager of Development
National Geographic Wild, Washington DC

Jordan really enjoys the passion of the delegates at Wild Talk. Their access is often amazing, and she is excited to learn about their projects. I ask her about the cost economies of production in South Africa. She loves the energy and youth of Wild Talk Africa, and describes the message she will take back to her fellow commissioners at Nat Geo in Washington.

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France’s Audience for Wildlife Television

Laurent Flahault
Commissioning Editor
France 5 / France Televisions, Paris
(English and French)

Laurent describes what kinds of programs work for the French audience that’s interested in Wildlife. A highlight: he says that ‘cute moments’ and bonds between humans and wild animals are more important than predatory sequences.

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Key Trends from a Distinguished South African DOP

Tim Chevalier
DOP, Tim Chevalier International, Cape Town

Tim is a prolific and highly-respected veteran DOP.  He specializes in Wildlife, Travel & Adventure, and recently Reality. He analyzes the pipeline of work coming his way: the breakdown by genre, his typical projects, the relative importance of the wildlife context, trends in budgets, and much, much more.

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South Africa’s Regulatory Environment for Docs

Marc Schwinges
CEO/EP, Underdog Productions
Executive Consultant, SASFED, Johannesburg

Marc is a leading producer and an outspoken industry advocate.  To explain the tepid demand for nonfiction in RSA, he describes the regulatory environment in South Africa, focusing on SABC, ETV and M-Net.

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Inside ORF-Austria’s Universum Strand

Thomas Matzek
Deputy Head of NHU
ORF, Vienna

ORF is a key player in the pure Wildlife commissioning niche, and its Universum strand garners astonishing audience shares year in and year out. Tom describes his unit’s commissions, co-productions (often with NDR-Germany) and acquisitions.

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Editing / Post: Thanks to George Mokhiber for editing the clips and uploading them to our YouTube channel.

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