What it's like to film a wildlife show. Interview with new Discovery heroes


In Discovery Channel's new Legends of the Wild, survivalist Damian Duffy and photographer Matt Hoffman travel through dangerous areas of the planet to uncover nature's most intriguing secrets. To mark the premiere, we chatted with Matt and Damian about what it's like making a wildlife show.
About love for wild nature

Matt: Growing up in Australia, my parents often took me on holiday, but we never flew on planes, we always traveled by land. We traveled to incredible places and observed wildlife. Then I realized that I liked it. When I was nine years old, I got a video camera and started filming wild animals. And since then it has become my passion.

Damian: When I was a kid, I used to run around and catch all sorts of snakes in the bushes. Only later did I find out that they could easily kill me. But this only fueled my interest in wild and dangerous animals. After all, they are underestimated. More precisely, they distort what they are, seeing them only as a threat. But the poisonous spider, the African elephant, and the jaguar are all part of the ecosystem. And if I can tell people about them in a positive way, especially if these species are endangered, then why not?

About fears

Matt: I try not to think about fear. Everything we do is planned and planned. We carefully choose the places where we go: we study in advance and calculate the dangers and obstacles we may encounter. Of course, I don't want to be eaten by wild animals. We do dangerous things, but we think everything over a hundred times before rushing into an adventure. There is no place for fear in such matters. It interferes with rational thinking and can provoke a dangerous situation.
About danger

Matt: Here's a story. Once in Costa Rica, we were sailing in an inflatable canoe along a river, and four-meter-tall American crocodiles were swimming in the water. We then wanted to find out whether crocodiles ate turtles, and tried to find skeletons or dead carcasses of olive turtles as evidence.

And on one shore we see a skeleton, but getting to it is dangerous: our legs are literally hanging from the canoe, and it will not be difficult for the crocodiles to drag us under the water. Realizing this made our hair stand on end, but, despite our fear, we had to get to the find to take a closer look.
About the contents of the adventurer's backpack

Damian: I always have a camera in my backpack. I don’t see any point in traveling without our technology. No one will believe us that we were where we were and saw what we saw. Now, if we run out of food or water, we can somehow get out. But if we don’t have our cameras with us, we can’t do anything about it.

Matt: That's right. I also always have walkie-talkies with me. Damian often finds himself in ridiculous situations, and they allow him to stay in touch with him. There is no way without this.
About the new program “Legends of Wildlife”

Damian: The new program has amazing, exotic locations and charismatic presenters (laughs). We are two Australians who travel and talk about wildlife in our own unique way.

Matt: Yeah, we do it our own way. And yes, the places we will show are mind-blowing. Take for example the state of Victoria, where there are abandoned gold mines. Or Costa Rica, where we filmed jaguars eating together. In South America we swam in the Pantanal National Park with piranhas and caimans. And that's not all.

By the way, the episode from Costa Rica is the one I am most proud of. The jaguars were only five meters away from us, we could hear the bones crunching on their teeth. It was a very exciting moment because no one had ever been able to film jaguars eating together. These are solitary animals, they live on their own, but the fact that they ate together and did not have to fight for food was a fantastic sight.
Advice for future adventurers

Damian: Read books.

Matt: I agree. Read to know what you are doing, where you are going and what awaits you there. Without preparation you will have problems.

Damian: And this doesn't just apply to encounters with wild animals. The places themselves are fraught with danger. You can’t go on such trips alone or with just anyone; you need to choose a knowledgeable person who shares your passion. Who knows, maybe you will make a great team and you will be invited to the Discovery TV channel.

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