CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION
Paul Wildman is a risk-taker. After a decade working in the advertising industry, Paul walked away from a successful-albeit unfulfilling-career, boarded a plane and took off for a new life. The rest is history. An award-winning cinematographer, Paul now travels the world filming big wild animals, those that roam both topside as well as under water. Paul is also heavily committed to the environment as an active supporter of protect-the-ocean organizations. He currently sits on the board of advisors of Shark Angels, and his gear brand of choice is SCUBAPRO.
I was born in the United Kingdom, in Doncaster, Yorkshire. When I was five years old my folks emigrated to South Africa, where I grew up in the African bush. When I turned 18 I enrolled in a school for advertising, where I graduated after three years with a diploma in Specialized Graphic Design. I worked in the advertising industry for 10 years, on the production side as an editor and cameraman. I ended up owning my own studio with a few friends, creating one of the most sought-after small studios in South Africa.
"But adventure called, and I eventually left South Africa to travel. I ended up in Malaysia, where I lived for six years on a small island called Kapalai, located off the eastern coast of Borneo and very near the famous diving destination of Sipadan Island. There I started and ran a small underwater film studio with a good friend, filming the diverse marine wildlife of the area. After that I spent another year in the Maldives doing basically the same thing.
"I now live in South Africa again where I operate 'Built By Wildman,' a production facility for high-end underwater filming as well as terrestrial wildlife filming. I've filmed for some of the biggest television networks and film makers from all corners of the world.
"It was by pure chance. One day I happened to go out to lunch with a good family friend named Colin, who happened to bring along a friend of his, a fellow named Brian, who just happened to be a dive instructor. As we were sitting down for lunch, Colin handed me a roll of cash and said, 'Pass this to Brian.' So I handed Brian the cash, at which time Colin said, 'You've just paid to do your open water course.' From there nothing could stop me. I shot up to Dive Master level quickly and never looked back. That lunch was the defining moment in my life, setting me on a different path that changed my career forever.
"It means peace and quiet--I don't have anyone talking my ear off under water! No, seriously, diving means the world to me. It's my life, my career. Without it I honestly don't know what I'd do. It gives me the opportunity to travel to amazing places, meet amazing people, see amazing animals, and dive with the most amazing gear.
"It has changed everything about it, the way I see the world, the way I see people. It has given me a new career which many people are so envious of, especially when I tell them exactly what I get to do, and where I get to do it. Diving has also sent me down a road that let me meet a couple of special people that have had the hugest impact in my life.
Mmmmm…diving is awesome and when I was younger I did some really crazy diving, really pushed the limits beyond what we were supposed to do (I give 'big ups' to SCUBAPRO gear for always performing so well for me during this time). Now I am a big fan of freediving. With filming it gives me more freedom to move around and be extremely quiet under water, enabling me to get closer interaction with the animals and to get those awesome shots. But shark diving is probably at the top of my list; actually, any big predator will do. There's nothing more breathtaking than being in the water with something as amazing as a crocodile or a big shark as it's coming right up to you--there are simply no words for it.
"Worst question EVER… I've dived all over the world, and some places are better than others, but I find that every place has something special about it. That said, if you want to know my absolute top destinations, here they are: Sipadan, Tonga, Fiji, South Africa, Mozambique, Mexico, Maldives, Bahamas-these are just a few to wet your appetite.
"A few come to mind: tiger sharks eating turtles; swimming with Great Whites; saltwater crocodiles kissing my lens. But I guess my favorite would be when award-winning cameraman Andy Brandy Casagrande and I were filming in South Africa, off the coast of Gansbaai. One dive we had seven white sharks swimming around us, nosing right up to our cameras, pushing us around, challenging us. It was amazing, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"Simple. Let's stop f--king it up."
"Having the courage and the confidence in myself to change careers. Leaving what was actually a comfortable but not very stimulating career, starting from scratch, sticking with it, creating not just a new career but a new lifestyle. I look at what I have accomplished in the last 12 years and am amazed. It's been an adventure, and if I had the chance, I'd do it all over again.
"1. Why haven't you done it already? 2. Enjoy it. 3. Always use SCUBAPRO gear. 4. Get your friends involved."
"Because we need to show more people what this ocean actually looks like. Some people havenever even seen the ocean. More people need to see what's under there. The more eyes we havewitnessing the damage we are doing, the more voices that are speaking out, the better for ouroceans and for everybody.
Simply because SCUBAPRO is the ONLY brand that's been able to keep it up with me and my style of diving. All other brands I've tried have failed me at one time or another. SCUBAPRO never has.