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Working with Inspirational People

Working with Inspirational People

I think it’s true to say that I work with inspirational people almost all of the time. With regard to passion for nature conservation people don’t come more inspirational than Iolo Williams. I’ve worked with Iolo for more than 5 years now. From time to time I work with other well known people too.  Earlier this year that came about in an unforeseen way. Working with inspirational people is one of the perks of my job. By the way – this post has nothing at all to do with wildlife filming!

Mentoring Young People

Back at the start of the year I was asked to take part in a project in the Swansea area of South Wales. The idea was to help a group of teenagers to make a movie about the young life of Richard Burton. In the summer the film was shown as part of a premier evening. To see those youngsters taking applause on stage for their efforts was a delight to behold, it really was. My part in the project was tiny compared to some of the other people. The main objective was a good outcome for the young people, and in most cases the project achieved that. For myself, I learned a lot too, not just about Richard Burton, but about the lives of teenagers in the 2017! And myself.

There is a link to the premiere event here.

In the movies

Working with Inspirational People
Graham Horder and Michael Sheen on location

Richard Burton was born in Pontrhydyfen, a small mining village up the Afan Valley north of Port Talbot. He then grew up in Taibach, nearer Port Talbot. What a life he had, even as a boy. One day I was out filming wildlife somewhere and my phone went. I might have been in Snowdonia, can’t remember. It was Eirwen Hopkins, leader of the project, asking if I was available to film an interview with Michael Sheen sometime soon, with some of the students in attendance.

Suffice to say, that with an incredible amount of work on the part of Eirwen, (working with inspirational people – she is one) we met Michael on the set of a new, hush hush, Netflix movie. The filming was taking place not too far from Port Talbot in a woodland.

Life Advice

Michael was about to go on set when we arrived, and although under pressure from his PA, who was actually lovely, proceeded to talk and talk. Richard Burton was an inspiration to Michael, both of them being local lads, both of them having influential mentors who helped them in their careers. Beyond that though Mr. Sheen gave the most fantastic motivational life advice interview that I’ve had the privilege to witness, and he just carried on – despite being need on set.

As is often the case I can’t help myself saying something daft in these circumstances, and offered, ‘I’m more use to filming woodpeckers than film stars.’ Which his PA thought was hilarious, saying, ‘Michael the woodpecker’. I’ll never learn.

The Spirit of the Kite

The Spirit of the Kite

‘The Spirit of the Kite’ is the first novel in a series called, ‘The Life and Times of Tudor Morgan’.

The Spirit of the Kite - cover
Cover of ‘The Spirit of the Kite’

Tudor Morgan is a wildlife cameraman that I created from  my wildlife filming experiences over the years.  The idea started out as a screenplay for a film.  To be honest, I lost faith in that ambition: it’s difficult enough to get a simple documentary series commissioned let alone a feature film. One day, should the series become popular, that might change.

Thinking about it, the story idea was always going to make a better book or series of books.  The re-write started earlier this year. Because the plot was well formed it was easier than it might have been.

‘The Spirit of the Kite’ came from a belief. It is not necessarily my belief. The belief is to do with the spirits of living creatures and how our own spirits are inextricably linked with those of wild creatures. This was the seed for a number of other ideas which I took and juggled around until I had a semblance of a good story.

The first novel is approximately 91000 words and will be published later this year.

Egg Collecting

Wildlife conservation is at the heart and soul of what I believe in. One of the aims with this series of books is to integrate ideas about wildlife conservation. In the book above, ‘The Spirit of the Kite’, the key issue is the collection of the eggs of rare birds. This activity has been going on for years, and people still do it. Egg collecting is a totally selfish act on the part of the collector, and rare birds are put in even greater peril by egg collectors.

Being a wildlife cameraman for real is rather more like this link. But if you want a bit of murder mystery in your life, strange goings on in the countryside and a good laugh you might find ‘The Life and Times of Tudor Morgan’ to be up your street.

If you ever suspect an egg collecting incident you should report it using the information on this link. Egg collecting and how to report it.

 

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels.  For several years the Welsh Government has threatened to drive a new motorway through the Gwent Levels.  It’s the sort of thing that governments do.  Perhaps they think that they will leave a legacy of some sort.  They give little consideration to clean air and can only think in terms of growth, building and destruction.

For more information about nature conservation in Gwent take a look at the GWT website.

The Video

Making videos like this is something I encourage anyone involved in wildlife television to do.  Anyone can do this, not just wildlife cameramen.  Iolo volunteered his time to do this and so did my wife and I.  It’s a simple video delivered with the passion and common sense that we’ve come to expect of Iolo.  I count myself lucky to work with him as wildlife cameraman on many television projects.

The Threats

Iolo Williams - M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels
Water vole on the Gwent Levels

There are so many threats to our environment that it can feel overwhelming.  Politicians do not think far enough ahead.  What will it be like to live in this area of South East Wales if they have their way.  Apart from the environmental destruction the road will cost more than our little country can possibly afford.  Predictions tell us that traffic will reduce in the years to come, so where is the sense in a completely new road.

Future Generations

Soon the Gwent Wildlife Trust will release a video of children talking about the proposed relief motorway. I feel privileged to have worked on this video.  Soon you can see it here.  With any luck you will see it everywhere.  Young people shouldn’t have to look forward to a land of roads, trading estates, tightly packed housing and air that’s unfit to breathe.  The Welsh Government needs to wake up and introduce a bit of imagination into its thinking.  You cannot build yourself out of everything – eventually you will build yourself into a corner you cannot escape from.

Being a wildlife cameraman doesn’t make me sick

Being a wildlife cameraman doesn’t make me sick Being a wildlife cameraman doesn’t make me sick. It’s official.  At least, so far it hasn’t made me sick. I’m not talking about medical sickness caused by gastroenteritis or other afflictions.  I’m talking about sickness caused by motion.  It is an interesting subject and you can read… Continue Reading