Wild Weekend Adventures

Some people never get the chance to live their dream. But for Clyde and Steve Graf who grew up in the wilderness, their passion for travel and making films has led to their first television series – Wild Weekend Adventures.

Challenge: Where will you travel to film the series?

Graf Boys: The series will be about nature and wildlife in Australia and New Zealand and, later, in Canada.

We’ll head into the Aussie outback, to the sapphire fields near Rubyvale, 1000 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. There are mine shafts, craters and dirt tracks that wind among the dingoes and kangaroos, and the occasional murky waterhole.

We’ll find a wash or gutter where there are rocks and gravel, make our own sieves and run the stones through them to find sapphires. There’s nothing like finding treasure.

We’ll interact with deer in Fjordland and with kiwi on wild Stewart Island in New Zealand. Filming red deer is a thrill. They’re the most aggressive, most throaty of all the deer. I first heard a stag vocalising when I was eight and I was terrified.

We film action sequences as they unfold, so the viewer feels the same excitement that we feel. It’s not easy because we only film real, wild-action footage.

Challenge: What does your job involve?

Graf Boys: We’re the presenters and camera crew. We do the editing, the post-production and marketing. It means that we have less time to be out in the field. But the great thing is we’ve got experience at everything. It gives us control over everything we do.

Challenge: How difficult is it to get a series on TV?

Graf Boys: We tried every 12 months over three years. Then one day I decided to change the delivery of the proposal. Instead of talking about hunting I told the commissioning programmers about finding sapphires and turning them into jewellery.

I originally called the series ‘Wild Exposure’ but changed it to ‘Wild Weekend Adventures’. Everyone likes an adventure. It appeals to a bigger audience.

Challenge: How do you propose a program to a television channel?

Graf Boys: You present your concept by email. On our first attempt, we convinced the commissioning programmer at TV3 (New Zealand) to give us a half-hour interview and we brought along a 20-minute DVD showing the best of what we do.

That was our opportunity to convince her that we were worth a shot. In the meantime, one of our environmental DVDs Poisoning Paradise (about the use of 1080 poison) was causing controversy in the news.

‘Wild Exposure’ was rejected but we tried again later. This time we just presented four pages – an amended concept, a synopsis, some history and a breakdown of episodes. They loved the concept and committed to ten episodes.

We love what we do and we believe in doing more than we’re paid for. Until you’ve proven what you can do, you’re just another dreamer, so be prepared to be generous in a negotiation. You need to be an expert in your own subject and gracious in a knock-back.

Nine times out of ten, you’ll be rejected. But remember that opportunity always follows failure if you don’t give up.

Based on the article by Kathy White