5 Things to Be Thankful for In Your Doc Life + Conversation with Wildlife Filmmaker, Zoltan Torok

Zoltan Torok is one of the world’s premiere wildlife filmmakers. He spends days, sometimes weeks-on-end in some of the most remote regions of the earth, behind some of the most fantastical-looking camera setups, in order to bring you mere seconds of footage of some animal species that neither you nor just about anyone else has ever seen before.

For our shared conversation, I had the pleasure of speaking with him about this often appreciated but not fully understood niche of cinema known as wildlife documentary.


Topics Discussed

  • why spending time in nature is just as important as learning the techniques of filmmaking for an aspiring wildlife filmmaker
  • what the responsibility is for a wildlife filmmaker to show the reality of certain wildlife settings
  • how preparation, research, and patience are critical components to the wildlife filmmaker’s work
  • the precarious, sometimes dangerous situations that a wildlife filmmaker might find themselves in
  • 3 things needed to start becoming a wildlife filmmaker


5 Things to Be Thankful for In Your Doc Life

Here in the USA, we are in the midst of our Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a time where we get together with family and/or friends, share an extravagant meal, and we reflect on the love and appreciation that we have for the people that we have in our lives.


I thought what better way to express the gratitude that I have for you, #doclifers, as well as the appreciation that I have for being able to live my doc life, than to open up this week’s podcast with a segment that examines 5 things that all of us #doclifers can be truly thankful for.


After listening to the episode, I do hope that you’ll consider leaving some comments about what you might be thankful for in your own doc life!


Related Resources

Watch the amazing full length wildlife documentary, WILD HUNGARY: A Water Wonderland, a film that has specific scenes that are referenced in this episode!



Apple | Spotify | Stitcher |


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Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.


  1. Bradford on 12/12/2017 at 8:12 PM

    Who was that guy on the voice mail? He was hilarious.

    • thedocu5 on 12/12/2017 at 8:22 PM

      He’s the future Voice of All-Things Sailing, is who he is. 😉

      • Bradford on 12/14/2017 at 3:22 PM

        Now THAT is a truly scary thought.

  2. Nikki Rose on 02/09/2018 at 9:56 PM

    Dear Chris,
    Many thanks for your inspiring and informative programs. When you were speaking with Zoltan about his decisions for not showing the audience “human interventions,” such as the foxes coming down the mountain with the military installation behind him, I wonder if he or others in his field should consider including those facts – at least most of the time?
    Considering this is the documentary genre, should we really assume that audiences that love wildlife don’t want to know the realities? Or is it the commissioning organization? Leaving those facts out likely deters audiences from being more informed about the threats the very animals they enjoy seeing on screen are facing.
    Of course, Doc filmmakers don’t have to be activists or depress their audiences with all realities (fine-line challenges), but they are sometimes our only messengers to the truth out there in the wilderness. Just a thought! His work sounds amazing…I’m just thinking of how to weave that into awareness of the protection of wildlife. All the best

    • Chris on 02/16/2018 at 2:35 AM

      Nikki, great thoughts. And totally understandable. It’s definitely something that I could tell concerned Zoltan – this intentional neglecting of broadcast companies to tell certain (more negative, but very real) aspects of nature. I got the sense that Zoltan very much wanted these moments to have more of an opportunity to be shown. Of course, if someone like Zoltan is hired to shoot something, he doesn’t have any control over what’s finally edited for programming.

      Thank you for the thoughts, Nikki! Glad that you were inspired to comment on the episode!

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