Brand new to 2014, Eden Shorts is a one-minute wildlife filmmaking competition aiming to inspire budding camera-men and women, presenters and editors to produce a short film which captures their wonder of the natural world with the best entries broadcast on the channel.
The idea first came to me after seeing E4’s Estings – short animated films that you may have noticed during the adverts – and it dawned on me: what do viewers of Eden all share? Simple: a passion for the natural world and a burning desire to communicate it!
Most people can count themselves in that bracket, and even if you don’t have the inclination to get out and do it for real I’m sure you can attest to having dreamed of being a part of the latest Sir David Attenborough documentary series. We’ve all been there.
We managed to hook expert broadcaster Michaela Strachan (who also narrated our promo), natural history producer and presenter Nigel Marven and Eden’s General Manager Emma Boston as the judges for the competition, ensuring a range of experience within the industry.
The ever-lovely Michaela was very excited to get involved, commenting:
It is great to be involved in this amazing project, Eden Shorts, which gives promising and dedicated nature filmmakers a great opportunity to showcase their work.
I was also very lucky to work further with Nigel and the incredibly talented Simon King on a series of How To Guide videos which imparted hints and tips to the potential entrants. In addition, we also commissioned a series of blog posts by accomplished members of the industry in order to inspire and inform those producing their own Eden Shorts film.
Not only did these handy guides ensure the best quality from our entries, but also served as valuable assets in order to hook our promotional activities. Rather than stick to the standard marketing routes of on-air promo and direction-heavy sponsored social posts, we were able to utilise these guides and the credibility and influence of the people who created them to further promote Eden Shorts to a far wider audience than through conventional methods.
For a taste of the incredible standard we received, you can watch a compilation of the very best here:
Having anticipated around 50-100, we ended the competition on almost 400 entries, which is an absolutely fantastic response. Alongside the unexpected volume we were also presented with a truly prodigious array of skills, knowledge and enthusiasm. We could have picked many more than 10 for our shortlist.
It was hugely rewarding to work with all the judges, contributors and entrants, while working closely with Wildscreen Festival (where I presented the winners) amongst other partners exemplified why the natural history industry, while taxing, is a pleasure to work in.