WorkCabin Creative is about having a genuine connection to conservation and our conservation clients. It's about walking the talk and understanding the language of what we film and produce for organizations big and small. WorkCabin Creative's difference is why leading conservation organizations choose WorkCabin Creative, Ontario, Canada's Conservation Media House.
Let's chat! Call or text me today
(519) 429-3729
Follow us

What’s It Really Like Being a Conservation Filmmaker?

Ontario environmental filmmaker

What’s It Really Like Being a Conservation Filmmaker?

Based on comments that I often receive, the life of a conservation and nature filmmaker seems like a dream job. I won’t lie: It is a sweet full-time job and aligns 1000% with my lifelong passion.

But for all the romanticizing of the profession, there’s a lot more to the job. Over the past 10 years of doing this there have been mistakes, blood (yes, occasional cuts are part of life outside!), and lessons learned the hard way. You don’t get to where you want to be without the hardships and experiences that can take years to build the character of a conservation filmmaker.

So, yes, capturing the beauty of the natural world, shedding light on endangered species, and advocating for conservation through the lens of a camera — it’s easy to envision a life of adventure and wonder. However, beneath the surface lies a world of hard work, determination, and gritty perseverance. It’s tough to break into the field and climb the ladder to bigger and bigger project contracts.

The investment in equipment alone can be daunting. You can’t look amateurish with your gear, and yet you can’t afford an IMAX camera. So you have to find that happy medium of affording the gear to get the job done right. And that includes high-end professional post-production tools. Plus, to top all that off, you need to see a return on your investment in equipment.

Obviously, long before the cameras start rolling and the stunning visuals hit the screen, the journey of a conservation filmmaker begins with a passion for nature and a commitment to preserving it. It’s a calling driven by a deep-seated love for the environment and a desire to share its wonders with the world. This is one reason I’ve grown to love social media. It has helped accelerate showing the real nature-loving and advocate side of my life.

But make no mistake; this dream job is not for the faint of heart. Behind every breathtaking shot lies hours of grueling work, often in challenging conditions that test both the filmmaker’s physical endurance and mental resilience. Problem solving on the spot is an essential skill. Years ago I remember forgetting a MicroSD card for my drone. The error had disaster written all over it. Until I took a step back and considered a Plan B. Wait, I thought. My smartphone had a MicroSD card. Presto! I removed it, formatted it in my drone. And I was in the air and doing the work I was hired to do.

And then there are the bugs. And hot, humid days and bugs. Ticks too. Ands wading through water and getting soakers just to get the shot. Imagine trekking through dense old growth forests, battling swarms of biting insects, and trudging up steep hiking trails weighed down by heavy backpacks filled with camera gear. Every step is a test of determination, every obstacle a reminder of the dedication required to capture nature’s most elusive moments. You can’t quit. No matter how breathless you become.

The reality of conservation filmmaking is far from glamorous. It’s early mornings and late nights, braving bad weather conditions to get the perfect shot. It’s days spent waiting patiently, hoping for a rare glimpse of elusive wildlife. It’s navigating unpredictable terrain, from rugged coastlines to remote wilderness areas, all in pursuit of that one incredible moment that will captivate audiences and inspire change.

But amidst the challenges and hardships, there is also immense satisfaction in knowing that every frame captured has the potential to make a difference. Conservation filmmakers and videographers are storytellers, using their craft to raise awareness, provoke thought, and ignite passion for the natural world.

Through our lenses, we shine a spotlight on the beauty of biodiversity and the urgent need to protect it. We bring to life the struggles of endangered species fighting for survival and the delicate balance of ecosystems hanging in the balance. And with each film we produce, we hope to inspire others to become advocates for conservation.

Conservation filmmaking may be tough, but for those who are called to it, the rewards are immeasurable.

Gregg McLachlan
Follow me