October 1951 was an eventful month; ‘ An American in Paris’ hit theatres, Sting was born and more importantly Eryri* became the first National Park in Wales. Fast forward 70 years and The Snowdonia National Park commissioned us to make a series of films for their birthday, documenting people’s passion for the area and how it inspires them in their daily lives.
A documentary series?
Real people, with real stories?
It’s almost as if someone climbed inside Josh’s brain, took out his favourite things and put them down in a brief. Of course, we wanted in.
*For all you Sais out there, as this was a Welsh-first project (and proud), we’ll be using the terms ‘Eryri’ and ‘Snowdonia’ interchangeably — so keep up. 😘
Honest, human and uniquely inspiring. That’s the Eryri we wanted to portray.
Above all, we wanted this series to be a true celebration and appreciation of the National Park and paint a picture that’s as colourful in character as much as it is breathtaking in visuals. This was an opportunity to celebrate what makes Snowdonia so special; the sense of community, the culture and the connection with nature. Therefore, we needed the right stories.
Thankfully, in North Wales, it goes down from six degrees of separation to about two. So between us and the team at the National Park, finding the perfect participants that were available was a pretty seamless process and we were ready to film.
We wanted the interviews to feel genuine, raw and candid — as if they were captured from a memory or from our own eyes. So, we kept the pace relaxed but with a dynamic flow that weaved in a constant, visual presence of the park — shifting from wide panoramic views to close-up shots focusing on the smallest of details to create a rich tapestry with people at its core.
Even with regular recruit Dom on-board, there were only three of us back-to-back shooting for a week, so to call us a skeleton crew would be a little generous. Think of us as more of a spine — agile, flexible and filled with a lot of nerve.
5 films. 5 locations. No signal.
Not only did that mean ordering a takeaway was very hard, but we needed to stay on track. And thanks to Amy, our Head of Production, we had a watertight plan that set us up for success. Everything came up Milhouse, and in all honesty, this was one of the smoothest shoots we’ve ever had.
Even when it came to the weather, we were convinced Josh had developed magic powers. Whenever he wanted fog, he got it. Rain? No problem. Just a slight overcast with enough sun poking through? You betcha. One more day of filming, and we would have had our pitchforks at the ready to put him on trial.
Even once we were back, the good luck (or skill) continued and we delivered a hole-in-one during post thanks to Michael, Josh and grade-master Lewis. So all that was left was to add in the Welsh subtitles, and the job was a good ‘un.
Not that we’re complaining, but this was one of those projects where everything went well and it was purely a joy to work on. When the only negative is being scared of ticks on a shoot, you know it’s been a very good day at work.
This came down to two main reasons:
- The brief was our bara brith and butter.
As much as our happiness does matter, if the client isn’t happy then we didn’t do our job. This is what they had to say:
From the get-go the pro-active team grasped the concept of what we were after and understood the brief completely, we felt at total ease working with them because of their intelligent and professional manner.
The team were all extremely pleased with the end product, from the storytelling to the fantastic imagery and atmospheric music which all complimented fantastically well together.
We would welcome any opportunity to work together again in the future.Ioan Gwilym, Corporate Services Communications Officer, Snowdonia National Park