Meet Jake

Jake Willers is an international TV presenter, filmmaker and author. He has traveled to over 30 countries and filmed in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Having grown up on a wildlife park that he managed for many years, Jake gained a wealth of experience and a passion for the natural world, which he now injects into his children's books and filmmaking.

Jake has hosted 30 wildlife shows, which have enjoyed success in 147 countries and been translated into 25 languages, working with channels including National Geographic Channel International, Nat Geo Wild, and Channel FIVE, UK. In 2007 Jake moved from Cambridge, England to the US and formed NineCaribou Productions, LLC a production company dedicated to expanding people's knowledge of wildlife and the world around us.

Bear Tapes

Paranoia of losing a shot tape while in the field runs rife within production crews and ours was no different. We were a small crew of three filming black bears in South Lake Tahoe for the National Geographic Channel. 

Our crew consisted of Dave - Cameraman/DP, Me - Presenter and Nick - Audio Technician. In addition to the primary duty of audio, Nick was charged with the job keeping the shot tapes safe. This was back in the day, when we were using a Sony F900 video camera. The shot tapes were the footage not only from bears we were incredibly fortunate to film in Lake Tahoe during our short four day trip, but also from Alligators we filmed in Florida the week before. 

As you can imagine, these tapes were worth more than their weight in gold. Dave was terrified the backpack full of tapes wouldn’t be safe in our crappy hotel room or in our car and insisted that Nick wear the backpack at all times wherever we went. That way, even if we lost the $80,000 camera, we still had the irreplaceable tapes. 

On the last day of the shoot we were filming a large bear-proof dumpster which stood under a lean-to. I was explaining to the camera how bears continue to frequent dumpsters because people often neglect to lock them up or even leave garbage in the lean-to. When we were finished we packed up and headed to the next location. A few miles down the road, Nick started panicking and yelled, “Where’s the backpack… where’s the backpack?”

Dave and I thought he was kidding. He couldn’t be serious. His only two responsibilities were to hold the mic’s boom pole and keep ahold of the backpack. He didn’t even have to record audio as that was being done directly to camera, how hard could it be to wear a backpack?

“No really, I haven’t got the pack – I left it at the dumpster!”, Nick said.

I slammed on the brakes, swung the rental car around and drove like an idiot back to the dumpster. To our relief there sat the backpack wedged between the lean-to and the dumpster. 

Of all the places to leave the most precious cargo we had he left it by a dumpster. Needless to say we all leaned a lesson that day!

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