Progress has been made rapidly this last month. I travelled up to Inverness and the Cairngorms; which was fantastically beautiful at this time of the year, a fresh powder of snow covered most of the highlands.
Whilst there, Andrew (a friend and fellow course member) and I visited the Highland Wildlife Park, who kindly allowed us access to film their 11 captive European Grey Wolves. This was my first real filming venture and I was able to capture some wonderful footage. Ideas for the film developed from the interview carried out at the centre, and I find my film moving in a slightly altered direction.
We were also able to visit the Scottish Deer Centre, just short of Cupar. This allowed me to see another group of Wolves who were very different as well as Red Deer, however filming here was tricky due to fencing.
Following from this I travelled alone down to a very warm welcome at the Wildwood Trust site. I stayed longest here spending all day each day filming their 2 hand reared and 3 wild Wolves. To begin with they were as cautious as expected, but after a few hours they ignored me. During my time I experienced a good deal of rain, but my spirit was not dampened! Anne Riddell, my contact at the centre, held a talk for some students about Nadja and Michka. I could not thank her enough for doing so, I saw the distinct behaviours of the hand reared Wolves in comparison to the pack which will allow me to discuss perception in a way that the ITV film did not.
My final day was the highlight. In the morning I was setting up a different angled shot, when the pack moved into the frame, to my astonishment they began howling. This luck continued into the afternoon where they treated me to a second round of howling. It was truly magical and for that I felt very attached to them by the end of my time. It was hard to say goodbye!
In reflection my filming technique has vastly improved throughout my experience so far, the trips have drained my money but were worth every penny, I have negotiated travelling alone for which I feel proud and my continuous research is taking over my laptop!
This past week I have been considering a working title. I feel that 'The proposed reintroduction of the Wolf to Scotland by S.N.H to control Red Deer populations and the perceptions surrounding this issue' would be rather a mouthful. With some inspiration and help the name 'the wolves among us' has been considered, but this will no doubt change.
Having been away carrying out this work I sense a personal pressure to move everything forward. I found myself watching other films to draw inspiration and I have considered that my narrative will be of the greatest importance and will need to be drafted shortly. Nevertheless, the essay for the Wildlife Media module regarding the popularisation of wildlife documentaries has to take priority.
In terms of moving forward with my project the next big step is to draft the narrative script, and continue the other written work. I am keen to do this despite how much information there is to condense into a concise and interesting narrative that aims to influence the perceptions that are held and ease the worries surrounding this topic. I intend to utilise my time and have all of the filming complete by the end of March and to have already started the edit by this point.