Making Films That Make a Difference

There are many wildlife conservation and environmental issues that could be tackled effectively if only the people involved were informed or educated about the causes and solutions that could make a difference.

Films and the Media are some of the most powerful communication tools we have, but we need to make the right films and distribute them to the audience \ decision makers \ community \ corporation \ law enforcers \ government bodies who can create that change.

So how do you go about this? How do you produce a clear message? Who are your target audience? What style of film would be most successful? What equipment do you need? How do you record sound? How do you edit everything together? What part should a narrator play? How do you monitor effectiveness?

All of these questions and more are answered in this unique hands-on training programme over a weekend in Norfolk, UK. It is designed specifically for those who are interested in gaining the skills to use films and the media to enhance the effectiveness of conservation and environmental campaigning. It is also invaluable for those who may need to employ professional film-makers for conservation productions.

The location is Thorpe Woodlands in Thetford Forest Park, where accommodation is shared rooms (or there are nearby bed and breakfasts/hotels if you prefer), and there will be excellent home-cooked food.

No experience or equipment is required, but it is recommended you bring your camera equipment if you have any.

I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely weekend. I learned a lot, enjoyed every minute of it and made lots of good friends.
It was a great weekend thanks to our awesome and wonderful tutors Piers, Mike, Madelaine, Jason and Richard. What a dedicated team! I learned a lot, laughed a lot and got tons of inspiration and strength to go on.
Thank you for providing this course – the wider content opened my eyes to some big issues and new ways of getting involved. Having such a range of expertise and experience all in one room was brilliant.


Friday: aim to arrive by 6pm
7pm – evening meal served
8pm – introductory chat – who we are, who you are, and what we will be doing this weekend
9.30pm – time to relax, chat with new friends, and watch wildlife conservation films

8am – breakfast
9am – introduction to conservation film-making with video examples – the variety of approaches and productions and how can films be effective in producing change – introduction to FTMAD (Films That Make a Difference database and project)
11am – coffee break
11.30am – intro to cameras, formats, lenses, support systems and techniques for working in the field
1pm – lunch
1.45pm – brief on filming tasks
2.30pm – working in small groups you will be given tasks and have one and a half hours to film three different animal subjects
4pm – tea break
4.30pm – view footage shot – critique and advice
5.30pm – the importance of the soundtrack and sound recording techniques
6.30pm – free time
7pm – evening meal served
As darkness falls there will be a demonstration of infra-red camera technology and a further chance to view conservation films

8am – breakfast
9am – pre-production planning and how to raise funds for your film
10am – methods for recording interviews/pieces to camera
10.30am – coffee break
11am – filming interviews/presenters practical
12.30pm – view footage shot – critique and advice
1pm – lunch
1.45pm – continue viewing footage
2.30pm – a demonstration of editing and outputting a film – post-production on a budget
3.15pm – what to do with your production – getting it seen, including the use of social media
4pm – course ends


Piers Warren
Piers WarrenPrincipal of Wildeye
Piers is well known throughout the wildlife film-making industry as the founder of Wildlife Film News and former producer of, which he created in the 1990s. With a strong background in biology, education and conservation, he has had a lifelong passion for wildlife films and has a wide knowledge of natural history. He cut his teeth in the industry as a sound engineer and multi-media producer, running a studio for many years before creating Wildeye (click photo to read more).
Madelaine Westwood
Madelaine WestwoodProduction Tutor
Madelaine is the founder of GAFI and the Pedal Powered Cinema Project. As a wildlife filmmaker for over twenty years, Madelaine has learned that moving images can have a powerful effect upon the people who view them. With a background in documentaries working with broadcasters such as National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, Channel 4, plus five years in commercials and corporate films, Madelaine decided to use this experience to try and reach the people who needed to see the films the most – those who live and work in the areas most affected by environmental damage, climate change, habitat loss and species extinction (click photo to read more).
Mike Linley
Mike LinleyCamera and Production Tutor
Mike was a producer and scientific advisor to Survival the Internationally acclaimed wildlife programme making company from 1980 until its demise in 2001. During this time he filmed and produced over 60 documentaries, many of which won major International awards. He also researched, wrote and produced over 200 wildlife programmes for children including the series Animals in Action. He then formed Hairy Frog Productions, an independent wildlife production company (click photo to read more).
Richard Brock
Richard BrockConservation Film Tutor
Richard worked in the BBC Natural History Unit for 35 years producing, among others, the highly successful Life on Earth and Living Planet series with David Attenborough. Concerned by the lack of willingness to address the real current state of the environment he left the BBC and started his own independent production company Living Planet Productions which has made over 100 films on a wide range of environmental topics, shown all over the world (click photo to read more).
Jason Peters
Jason PetersFilms That Make a Difference Co-ordinator
Jason has been fascinated by wildlife ever since growing up on a farm in Sussex. He then went on to study wildlife film-making in Cape Town and has since worked mainly as a researcher. Jason is passionate about finding solutions to conservation and development issues and believes visual media to be the most effective tool for prompting change. He is also the project co-ordinator on the Films That Make A Difference database and is thrilled to be involved in this initiative to catalogue films that have already made a difference in the hope of inspiring others to do the same (click photo to read more).

Booking Information

Costs: £325 per person
This includes tuition, accommodation, and meals.

Dates: 4-6 August 2017
Note that if a course you are interested in is marked as fully booked you can ask to be put on a reserve list should anyone drop out…

To apply for a place please complete the form below, you will then be forwarded to a page which explains how to pay the deposit/fee to secure your booking:

Your name
Email address
Which date are you applying for?
Mobile phone number
How will you be travelling and where from?
Briefly, what you do now, and why you want to do this course?
What equipment (if appropriate) will you be bringing with you?
Do you have any special dietary requirements?
Is there any reason why you might keep others awake at night? eg snoring
How will you be paying the deposit/fee?
Where did you hear about this course?

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