Hi! My name is Bertie Gregory and I’m a 29-year-old British wildlife filmmaker. My goal is to tell stories that get people to fall in love with the natural world and show that looking after wildlife is more than just a nice thing to do—it's crucial to all our futures. I’ve got a new series from National Geographic now streaming on Disney : Epic Adventures with Bertie Gregory. We take the latest filming tech (like drones and underwater scooters!) into some of the harshest environments on our planet. The show also breaks the mold of traditional willdife programs by taking you behind the scenes on our adventure. We show the highs, the lows and everything in between. This season, we venture to the icy worlds of Antarctica to capture the biggest gathering of whales ever filmed and come face-to-face with specialist buffalo-hunting lions in Zambia. I'm looking forward to your questions! 

PROOF: https://i.redd.it/xpz5np0t2jm91.jpg

Thanks so much for your questions! I had loads of fun answering them, but I’ve gotta run now… please check out my show Epic Adventures on Disney+!!

Comments: 252 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

IncreaseNo646676 karma

Have there been any changes to your outlook on your own life after spending time in the wild and being in an environment that’s as organic as it’s gets? Maybe changes of perspective, has that understanding of knowing your place in said environment, changed your outlook at all on human interaction?

what are a few things that impressed you? In maybe the behavior of animals, pack loyalty, maybe even ceremonial moments for passed away animals amongst its own community?

nationalgeographic143 karma

The main thing I've realized is just how hard wild animals lives' are. In the case of the lions in Epic Adventures, every time they want to eat they have to take on 300 angry 1500-pound buffalo. Certainly makes going to the supermarket look quite straightforwards.

The most impressive thing that I've ever seen was the gathering of 300 fin whales in Antarctica.. def worth checking out that episode "Tracking Ocean Giants"

One-Revenue-61854 karma

What would you rather fight? 200 mouse-sized Hippos or 1 hippo-sized mouse?

nationalgeographic49 karma

Really good question... like with all potentially dangerous animal encounters I would back away slowly from either and remain calm. (Sorry for boring answer!)

rob4rugby47 karma

What’s the animal that you’ve dreamed the most trying to film, but still haven’t got there yet?

nationalgeographic73 karma

Arctic Wolves!

DoubbleDutchh43 karma

What has been your scariest encounter in the wild?

nationalgeographic80 karma

On Epic Adventures I had a crocodile in my bed! Was filming in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for the Lions episode (Battle of the Beasts).

RCart5839 karma

During your youth, what was something you did that a profound effect on what you are doing now with your life?

nationalgeographic53 karma

When I was growing up, my family was obsessed with water sports and I spent a load of time in the sea- that's where my love of the outdoors came from. 

p0tatolif335 karma

Who is a wildlife / adventurer / photographer you would love to meet?

nationalgeographic80 karma

Jimmy Chin. (I'm meeting him this afternoon, eek!)

BerkayBing0731 karma

If you weren't a human, What animal would you want to be and why?

nationalgeographic70 karma

Killer whale! Because you get to swim around with your friends and everywhere you go everything is scared of you!

Key-Suit858023 karma

Do you feel you have had to make any sacrifices to get to this point in your career? Eg. Friendships, relationships…

nationalgeographic41 karma

Yes. I have no further comment lol

Succulentmeat22 karma

Where has been your favourite filming location?

nationalgeographic43 karma

Antarctica. It's big, beautiful, and wild. And has penguins! And who doesn't love a penguin.

True_Shop141521 karma

What made you want to become a wildlife filmer? What is your biggest inspiration?

nationalgeographic62 karma

I grew up watching David Attenborough documentaries. He's a legend.

MarcusHogan120 karma

What’s been your most amazing adventure at home? I’ve been incredibly inspired by your work over the years! I’m out with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group tomorrow hoping to film basking sharks underwater and from the air and have spent the day watching Epic Adventures in anticipation!!!!!

nationalgeographic19 karma

I live in the city of Bristol in southwest England and love watching the peregrine falcons that live in the middle of the city. Good luck with the sharks and thanks for watching!!

wavvy119 karma

What is your least favorite part of the job?

nationalgeographic41 karma

Packing up to come home. Equipment's always broken and everything smells bad!

McKCupid19 karma

Hi Bertie!

I was wondering how do I pack my life up right now and begin working/learning from you?

23 about to be 24, recently just moved form Chicago to LA! It hit me, about a month ago, what I have to do in my life. Doing what I always wanted to as a child. Being in nature, with animals, discovering the planet and all of its creatures from large to microscopic.

So let me know! I’m ready to go!

nationalgeographic28 karma

Hey! That's really kind. I don't have anything I can offer you right now but if this is something you'd like to do, I recommend making your own films. It's the best way to start and learn! Hope our paths cross in the future!

Key-Suit858016 karma

Have you ever struggled mentally whilst being away in shoots for long periods of time?

nationalgeographic26 karma

Yea- being in a high-stress, potentially dangerous environment with the pressure of delivering a show can be quite a lot. I've found the best way to cope with this is to work with great people.

Tinawebmom12 karma

I love nature films until something sad happens.

Do you ever intervene for a baby? Example mommy monkey gets killed by large cat leaving baby alone. The other monkeys won't take care of baby.

Do you rescue the abandoned baby?

Are there any nature films you've made that aren't sad?

What's your favorite thing about making these films?

nationalgeographic35 karma

As a wildlife filmmaker, the golden rule is always do not interfere. That said, if we come across an animal that is in trouble because of human actions, we would intervene or find someone else who is qualified to help. I once found a turtle that was stuck in fishing nets and couldn't get to the surface and we cut it free and it went off on its day.

I would hope that none of my nature films are totally sad- I think it's important to show the threats animals face, but I always try to pair that with hope and inspiration.

My favorite thing is getting to see animals doing incredible things.

wild_fauna12311 karma

My main question is how are you so damn adorable.

But also, what advice do you have for young environmentalists, explorers, and film makers who would love to work with Nat Geo? Seems like a really tough company to get your foot in the door. Is it mainly about who you know?

Can’t wait to watch this series! Congrats

nationalgeographic18 karma

Thank you very much that's very kind. In answer to your question, if you want to be a wildlife filmmaker- nothing beats spending time out in nature learning how to be close to animals without disturbing them. It's easy to get caught up about learning to use big fancy cameras, but your field craft is so much more important. This will set you apart from the competition. I'd really recommend applying for a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant, as that's a great way to get a project you feel passionate about funded and your foot in the door at Nat Geo (that worked for me).

shanball1110 karma

What was your most exciting problem-solve on this project? E.g. a situation where filming conditions were rough or your equipment failed and you figured out a fix you were really proud of?

nationalgeographic22 karma

Sam, the other cinematographer I work with, fixed a broken camera by setting fire to elephant poo. He was very proud, I was pretty grossed out.

angelknive59 karma

What is the funniest thing you’ve seen an animal do?

nationalgeographic13 karma

A pilot whale poo'd in my face on the dolphin episode of epic adventures. Sometimes you've gotta laugh so you dont cry!

abbiebe898 karma

What is a core memory for you out in the wild?

nationalgeographic15 karma

getting a buzz from sneaking up close to a roe deer without spooking it when I was about 10!

OsakaWilson8 karma

Just for fun, would you be willing to ask Akari and Hikari if they would please watch your show and mention why they might enjoy it? We'd probably watch it anyway, but it would be fun to show my girls the post before we watch.

nationalgeographic12 karma

Hey Akari! Hey Hikari! I hope you enjoy Epic Adventures! We had a lot of fun making it and I'll never forget seeing 300 giant whales in a big feeding party with 1000s of penguins all in front of big snowy mountains in Antarctica.

anica_bananica7 karma

What was the toughest project so far? What keeps you motivated? Btw, you make my day every time you post on Instagram, thank you.

nationalgeographic14 karma

Toughest project was filming the Antarctic Fin Whales episode for Epic Adventures. What keeps me motivated was being surrounded by an amazing team and the thought that if we keep going, we might see something that no human has ever seen before. Thanks very much, I better keep posting then :)

amiibohunter20156 karma

What's your favorite wildlife moment you got on film?

Also, what kind of equipment do you guys use?

nationalgeographic10 karma

Seeing 300 fin whales together in Antarctica in Epic Adventures :)

We use a big range of camera equipment, but we mainly shoot on Red cameras.

kjwhimsical-915 karma

What is the most intelligent species you encounter?

nationalgeographic9 karma

killer whale. They just ooze intelligence.

Kohxku4 karma

I'm currently study biodiversity and conservation in uni in london, any opportunities I can get involved in?

nationalgeographic3 karma

Yes, apply for a National Geographic Young Explorers grant!

iDead45364 karma

Ho do you look up to as a mentor for this? How did you get started? And why is it Steve Irwin if it is

nationalgeographic8 karma

It's another Steve, Steve Winter (Nat Geo Magazine photographer). I've been lucky enough to work with lots of great mentors at Nat Geo and at the BBC.

bennedictst4 karma

Hi Bertie! I was a really big fan of your first mini series for Nat Geo on coastal wolves on Vancouver Island. It looked like such a beautiful place and highlighted a unique species. I'm excited to watch your new series!

My question: Is there any place you've visited to film that you'd consider moving to, just for the wildlife?

nationalgeographic8 karma

Thanks! Good question. I think it would actually be Vancouver Island!

cheesyrack4 karma

I know wildlife photography involves a lot of time just waiting for an animal to cross your path. For every hour of footage that makes the final cut for a series, about how many hours of your time do you spend just watching and waiting to get the shot? Hopefully you understand what I’m trying to ask lol

nationalgeographic6 karma

Good question. To give an example, on the Antarctica whale episode of Epic Adventures we had just 6 days out of the month long shoot when we could actually film (the weather was really bad!)

justifiedbonafide3 karma

your enthusiasm is really contagious. what are some animals you haven’t encountered yet, but would really like to? it’s probably hard to summarize- but what’s being in antarctica like? besides cold : )

nationalgeographic3 karma

Thanks very much. Arctic Wolf. Big, beautiful, wild.. mind-blowing landscape with even more mind-blowing animals.

NardDog473 karma

Loved the show so far! What’s your “bucket shot” something you’ve always wanted to get or have you gotten it already?

nationalgeographic4 karma

Thanks!!! You'll have to wait for season 2 for that answer!

skeeterou3 karma

What kind of camera gear and tech are you guys using? I've shot for Nat Geo shows before, but not in a bit, and was just wondering what you guys are lugging around these days. I'm guessing Sony FX3 or Canon C70 camera-wise?

nationalgeographic3 karma

We primarily shoot on Red cameras.

koscheiiii3 karma

what talents or skills are needed to join you guys on adventures like this? Except photographers, do you only have biologists in the team? There must be someone to just lead the way or carry the stuff?

nationalgeographic9 karma

Passion and persistence!

Each shoot the structure of the team is different. Aside from camera crew and biologists, we often have expedition support. For example, on the Antarctica episode we had 3 boat crew... Ben, Dave and Marion - they kept us safe and were very good at dodging icebergs with the boat!

MsgMeASquirrelPls3 karma

What's a story you'd love to tell on screen but haven't had the chance to yet?

nationalgeographic6 karma

You'll have to wait for season 2!

bunontheedge3 karma

What is your go to camera/video setup if you could only bring one?

nationalgeographic5 karma

Every filming mission is different, but the Shotover is pretty awesome. It's a gyrostabilized camera that you can put on a vehicle, boat, or aircraft and track with the animals and still get stable shots. (It's how they filmed the new Top Gun film from plane to plane)

h1lif33 karma

Out of all of the places you've gone to so far, is there a place you would love to go back again, and one you would never go back to, and why?

edit: follow up question: what food do you miss the most when you are out on trips?

nationalgeographic3 karma

Antarctica, can't get enough of that place. I haven't yet been to a place that I don't want to go back to, there's always more to learn.

Burritos. Burritos are the best.

boynamedsue83 karma

How did you get a job working for National Geographic?

nationalgeographic3 karma

I started assisting National Geographic photographer Steve Winter. He's such a dude.

ColdFireLightPoE3 karma

I don't know a lot about your work and experiences (but that will probably change because I just got Nat. Geo.), have you ever explored Alaska thoroughly? I'm really into survival shows, particularly those in winter climates.

nationalgeographic4 karma

I've never been to Alaska. Hopefully one day soon!

Any-Play-13003 karma

Hi Bertie !

I never thought I would get to have any conversation with you even remotely. I am currently a PhD student based in Europe and India. With no experience I am an amateur photographer and have passion for exploring.

After watching your documentaries whether The Ressurection Island or The Big Freeze, I am in awe. My question is how did you get started with NatGeo and are there any entry level oppurtunities to work on field as an assistant or intern with NatGeo for someone not based in US.

What are the options to start with NatGeo?

nationalgeographic6 karma

Nice to meet you! Hope your PhD is going well. I started by assisting Nat Geo photographer Steve Winter after meeting him at a photo event/conference. Best way to start is by making your own wildlife films!

Savings_Marsupial2043 karma

Have you ever been in a "well this is how I die" situation? What was the situation

nationalgeographic2 karma

we're about half way through filming for season 2 of Epic Adventures. On a recent shoot it got quite hairy while filming in some waves. Can't say too much more but you'll see when it comes out!

niccis4ur3 karma

Has there ever been a time while filming that animal behavior surprised you? Or has there ever been a time where you were surprised by similarities between human and animal behavior?

nationalgeographic5 karma

Yes, I'm continually surprised by wild animals - they aren't good at reading scripts!!

Human/animal behaviour - there was this one time in Antarctica when a whale swam past me and as it went passed me it tucked its pectoral fin in so it didn't bump me with it, and it reminded me of two people passing in a tight corridor!

Puzzleheaded-Ebb-6602 karma

Why are you British?

nationalgeographic6 karma

Not sure, ask my parents...!

azfamilydad2 karma

Are you going to be traveling and doing any more Nat Geo live events?

Also wanted to say, my family and I love you shows and perspectives. From the costal wolves to the city birds and fin whales, we’ve enjoyed them all.

And, my kids (and I) were on the edge of our seats watching that leopard seal try to take a nibble. Glad you survived!

nationalgeographic3 karma

Thanks so much! yes, I'm doing some more live shows next year. I'd like to do more so please poke the Nat Geo live team for me!

Glad your kids liked the leopard seal encounter. It was definitely very exciting

NoseAlien2 karma

What are your thoughts on the discussion of altruism in the wild animal world? Have you filmed or encountered any events that could be classified as true altruistic behavior, or do you believe that any perceived such behavior has some explainable benefit to the animal “giving help”?

nationalgeographic5 karma

yes, there are many examples of altruism of the natural world. Generally it's explained by a longer term benefit. Eg Vampire bats that have had a successful night hunting will give some of their blood meal to non related members of the roost who have had less success. It makes sense for the bats to do this as the favour gets repaid when the circumstance are reversed on another night.

Juwudoko2 karma

How did you get into the BBC side of things? And could you describe some of the different (behind the scenes) methods to capture your footage.

nationalgeographic3 karma

I started working at the BBC by winning the annual camera bursary position at the natural history unit - I was attached to the next David Attenborough series (Seven Worlds, One Planet) for 2 years.

Key to getting great shots is passion and persistence. You need to read the landscape and animal behaviour and then stick it out, even when the weather gets bad!

Torontonian772 karma

I enjoyed watching The Big Freeze because I’m Canadian too. First of all, I enjoyed listening to your accent. Where do you sleep there while filming this in the northern part of Manitoba? What if you want to use the washroom? I know that it’s impossible to stay outdoors for more than 20 mins in -20 deg, how did you keep yourself warm? Was there a standby contingency plan that Disney provided in the event of an emergency given that… that place was uninhabited?

nationalgeographic3 karma

Thanks very much. We stayed in a cabin. When we were out filming, you go to the toilet in the wild. When it's really cold you've got to be quick or things start freezing!

We worked with an amazing outfitter that had air support if we needed it, weather permitting.

borntolandhard_2 karma

How is your day going?

nationalgeographic5 karma

pretty good so far. Had a great breakfast and now I'm chatting to you lovely people.

climbthemountainnow1 karma

Do you enjoy plants too?

nationalgeographic1 karma

Yes, they're amazing! I think my favorite is the strangler fig.

OldString10991 karma

If you could do anything, what would you want to do if you weren’t a wildlife filmmaker?

nationalgeographic4 karma

Not sure, I think I'd be pretty lost!

growingwithnate1 karma

Ever have any animals come to close while you were filming? Like invade your space and all you can do is remain still?

nationalgeographic2 karma

Yes, quite a few times. Many animals mirror your body language/state of mind so staying calm is really important. DO NOT FREAK OUT!!!

ArizonanCactus1 karma

What do you think about the dodo bird being revived?

nationalgeographic3 karma

I've watched too many Jurassic Park films to not be nervous about it!

mcn36631 karma

I love your work! I have always wondered: How do you make time for your family/ partner with such a busy job?

nationalgeographic4 karma

It's a challenge. To work in this industry you need to spend a lot of time away from home and that sometimes means making sacrifices. I've missed quite a lot of my friends weddings. That said, I feel very lucky to do what I do.

FurioustoDestroy1 karma

Have you ever came across something out of the ordinary or odd while out?

nationalgeographic4 karma

Yes, basically every day of the shoots! I recently saw a honey badger chase a lion. That was pretty funny.

Ancient-Joke98691 karma

Is water wet?

nationalgeographic3 karma

generally yes. Although in Antarctica it's often solid.

TheConnerDaniels1 karma

Who's your favorite deceased movie star?

nationalgeographic6 karma

Robin Williams. Mrs Doubtfire is the best!