Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Wolf Among Us

I have neglected my blog with some regret over the past few months, having completed university and moved back home. But I have some news - I finally did it! 'The Wolf Among Us' is by no means perfect and I would have loved a few extra hours here and there to polish it off, yet I am overwhelmed at the support it has received. I met my main aim by altering the false perceptions of those watching. As a result of this I managed to achieve an overall 2:1 degree in BA (Hons) wildlife and media. I am very proud of myself for sticking it out and I am leaving with some exciting prospects ahead!

Big news out of the way I invite you to watch my film if you have not done so already. The idea is to educate the audience of the issues surrounding the reintroduction of wolves. See for yourself that the 'big bad wolf' is just a fairytale! 

Click here to watch!

My film highlights our need to bring education to the public in order for feared species such as the wolf to find their natural place back in Scotland. Apex predators like the wolf can restore balance, encouraging deer to move across the land rather than overgrazing, thus breathing life back into what little remains of the Caledonian forests.

There are many people to thank; words cannot express my gratitude to all those who helped and supported me during this experience! In reflection my three years at the University of Cumbria, although a little stressful, were so beneficial to my future. The final film set me up to aim high, develop my new skills and to work ever harder to make it a career as well as a passion. 

Moving forward from this, I plan to buy a Mac for editing and try my hand at more short films, perhaps for competitions and organisations as well as my own show reel. I have been gathering footage since leaving and have plans to travel.  Until I am able to produce film, I am keen to involve photography and also to delve into conservation projects, with this blog acting as my platform to do so.

I wish to share my wildlife experiences with you as I find them, along side any ideas I have. This will mostly cover local sites, some of which have already provided me with some fantastic material, including some footage of the heron pictured and some macro shots from the stunning meadow near my home. I hope to put these together for you very soon so check back if you are interested!

If there is anything you would like to ask me please feel free to drop me an E-mail at  - Emily

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


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.

More from me at a later date, and thank you for reading my progress!

Emily Prouse

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Project Update

Since my initial post I have been keen to keep the ball rolling, working at every opportunity having discovered coffee to be very useful in my ventures!

Ideas for the film are growing rapidly and my enthusiasm to continue has been only enhanced by the films shown at the Foxes Cinema Lounge night, hosted by my good friend Jess Owen. These were an inspiring mix of peer films of mainly wildlife subjects showing a range of filming techniques and styles.

This past week we were also invited to pitch our idea to the group by our tutor Michael Mitchell. As before; 'The proposed reintroduction of the Wolf to Scotland by S.N.H to control Red Deer populations and the perceptions surrounding this issue.'

Having had mine approved previously it took away pressure from this session, nevertheless it was worthwhile to receive ideas and opinions from both my peers and my tutor. It led to finding another suitable contact for filming and also helped me structure the argument so that it flows seamlessly throughout the plot.

Before the pitch I had been disheartened to discover that ITV Countrywise had been doing a short piece with Ben Fogle at the Predator Experience site 'walking with wolves'. 

I was disheartened for three reasons; firstly because I thought they had covered my idea better than I could ever hope to achieve due to special access and budgets, secondly because I had contacted Predator Experience myself the day before and was awaiting their reply and lastly upon watching the piece because it was not what I had imagined.

The coverage showed two Wolves acting as pack animals. It showed them jumping up at the presenter in an intimidating fashion which would not otherwise be expected from an encounter, potentially putting fear into the audience. Although the piece was shot fantastically and provided an interesting insight into wolves behaviour within a pack that you could be a part of by visiting Predator Experience, I still feel that public perception was jeopardised in that it may harm how the reintroduction of Wolves would be viewed. For this reason I now see this as a personal challenge to improve my own film to inform the public in a much more positive and representative manner.

In terms of moving forward with my project the next big step is to complete all of the research. In honesty, this is an intimidating task as there is a lot of information to put together and it may dent my motivation slightly so I will be tackling it in stages. 

Further from this I have contacted a few centres and influential people regarding filming, and had a great positive response, meaning I can begin arranging filming for January and February 2014. I am keen to get to these places, meet the people involved and utilise my camera to produce my best work yet.

Emily Prouse

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Final Year - Wildlife and Media

The first mention of a 'dissertation' project last year had me feeling daunted and clueless as to what was expected. 

Our last project film had been rushed and the insane work load in such a short time frame left me reeling. The Gambia and Scotland trips and their corresponding deadlines had meant I had a matter of days to film, edit, propose and complete a 10 minute piece named 'Reality Bites'. I was pleased with my outcome but I feel that it was not entirely relevant, therefore I am grasping the opportunity to get ahead with this film before our May 2014 deadline.

Inspired by the work my cousin undertook, an idea came to me and flourished quickly;

The proposed reintroduction of the Wolf to Scotland by SNH to control Red Deer populations and the perceptions surrounding this issue. 

This hopes to involve several factors including filming at centres supporting wolves as well as taking the perception of farmers and distinguishing how the issues of lost livestock could be tackled. These will link together to create a storyline within the maximum 20 minute limit.

At this stage it has been confirmed as a solid idea by Michael Mitchell. However, this may still change as I gather research and form more contacts. I will try to add any updates as my project progresses!

Emily Prouse