Skip to main content

Turn Fear Into Opportunity

Lesson 1 of 1

Turn Fear Into Opportunity with Filipe DeAndrade

Filipe DeAndrade, Kenna Klosterman

Turn Fear Into Opportunity

Filipe DeAndrade, Kenna Klosterman

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

1. Turn Fear Into Opportunity with Filipe DeAndrade


  Class Trailer
Now Playing

Lesson Info

Turn Fear Into Opportunity with Filipe DeAndrade

Mhm. Yeah. Look, No! Hello, everyone. And welcome to Creativelive. Welcome to Creative Live TV. Welcome to the We are photographers. Podcast. I'm your host, Ken Klosterman. We're coming to you live today from my living room to wherever it is that you are, uh, probably staying at home. Staying safe. So want Thio again? Say that I hope that you are all doing well. We here at Creativelive if you're watching on creativelive dot com slash tv If you're watching on Facebook live YouTube, live Twitter live we welcome you to join the conversation. About a little over a month ago, we started creative live TV to continue to connect us all as creatives. All of you out there a lot of times now we can feel unconnected. So we want you to connect, be entertained, be inspired. And, man, today you are going to be inspired by my guest For the we are photographers podcast. His name is Felipe de Andrade, and he is an incredible human being. When I first met him a couple weeks ago virtually of course, it wa...

s like you are my new favorite human because you have so much energy and spunk and spirit for life. Hey is a film filmmaker 10 times Emmy Award winner. He is a conservationist. He is the host for the Nat Geo Wild show Untamed. And so I am pleased to to have Philippe de Andrade here today. Felipe, how are you doing, Kina? That was the most vicious, Delicious, The most heartwarming intro I've ever received. Completely undeserving of it. But thank you. Anyways, that means, ah lot that you would conjure up all those nice words in that order for me. Thank you for that. Oh, please you You truly are an inspiration, and I'm super excited. We had you on creativelive TV a couple of weeks ago to share a lot of the work that you're doing. And we had such a great response from the community watching and, you know, seeing the work that you dio that we wanted to bring you on. And we have were photographers. The podcast is really more about your story as a human, as a creative even more so than the work itself. So I'm super excited to dive into you know who you are and why you do what you do today. And so again, everybody If you are watching on creativelive dot com TV, click on the chat icon, Tell us where you're tuning in from as well as on Facebook and and all of that. So, Phil, I want to start out with, uh, you have made the statement that you believe that animals saved your life and you want to return the favor, talk to me about how animals saved your life. Well, I guess if we're gonna have Mother Goose time, we might as well get right into it, right? Like no creative? No, you know, metaphorical foreplay of like, Oh, what kind of camera do you use? What's your favorite lens on assignment? Nope. Right away. Like, give us your personal journey. All right, let's get into it. Um, so for me, I resonate. I relate so much with wildlife in the sense where you know, people often say that animals don't have a voice. And I couldn't disagree with that statement mawr because I truly believe that animals were talking to us all the time. I mean, they're using body language. They're using their own interpretation of intelligence, which is different than ours, not any less significant than ours. Just different. And when we start to pay attention when we start to speak it and more importantly, when we start to listen to animals, languages, we start Thio understand the world around us and what they're telling us and why they're telling us what they're telling us. So for me in my personal life, you know, I immigrated to the United States, I was raised by a single mother. We had some very challenging circumstances and I felt like nobody was listening to me. I felt like I didn't have this platform. I felt like I had to hide for much of my life because you know of the circumstance that we were in being illegal immigrants for 14 years and I felt like nobody was listening to me. But more importantly, again, I didn't have that stage. I didn't have that platform, so I related with wildlife so much because I felt like we weren't listening to animals. And it was when I truly dove into telling their stories, you know, sharing the circumstances of nature, what nature is going through and what we humans are doing to it that I found my own voice. I found my own platform, my own microphone, and that truly became the camera. I mean, I think that, you know, you think about medieval times you think about Lord of the Rings and wielding these dragons and these swords and, you know, like the camera right now, the microphone, the pen that is the greatest weapon we have at our disposal as human beings. Because sharing stories is innate. Lee. What? What? Not just humans, but creatures dio. I mean, the humpback whale song travels generations. It changes through generations. And so we're no different in that we can share our stories. And so I just found a way to share my story, which was these animals saved me at a time in my life when I couldn't connect with anything else. And so now I feel it's my responsibility to tell their stories. Wow, it's There's so many things in what you just said that I want to dive further into I mean, just the concept of animals going back to just animals speaking to us in all these different ways and you being drawn to that Those experiences You have had so many incredible experiences with animals, and I'm curious if There's one memory that you have where you kind of first realized like this. I'm up close and personal with this particular animal, and we're having this energetic exchange connection. Like, can you just take us toe one of one? A story cannot. Come on, I've got a d h d as if I put too much Red Bull in my coffee. I can't sit still for two minutes and you're gonna make me pick one story. You're gonna make me narrow it down in tow one. Okay, Well, um, if I had to pick one moment, if I had to pick an instance that truly stuck out to me in my life so far in my career so far, I would have to say that it's the experience that I've had with the Jaguar. And for me, the very first thing that I feared in life was the Jaguar. I mean, I was, you know, born in Brazil. And very early on my mom would tell me, you know, Phillips, like stopping a little shits or else the Jaguars is going to get you. And even when we moved to the States, like, do your homework, the Jaguars is going to get you. I don't know why she made everything plural. I don't know why she thought that Jaguars were going toe take a hold of me in Cleveland, Ohio. But the point was is that the Jaguar was always that, like it was my boogeyman, right? Like it wasn't like, Don't ride your bike too far down the street. You might get stolen. It was like, you know, stop climbing that tree and get in bed by, like, 10 PM because the Jaguar is gonna eat you. Um, And so that fear that I had for the Jaguar turned into fascination, and that fascination turned into a calling. And my first National Geographic film was on the Jaguar was called Jaguar Beach. Where on this very special beach in Costa Rica, sea turtles air aggregating their nesting period. They're coming up by the tens of thousands. And while doing so, Jaguars air coming out of the jungle and feeding on them. So I had to stop these Jaguars. I had to become a cat. I had to stop thinking like Phillipe and Roddy had to get down on all fours. I just start smelling, taking in the environmental changes around me and reacting to those changes in anticipating what was about to happen. Because when you're stalking a predator, you need to get in the mindset of a predator. You can't be reacting to situations you need to be ahead of the situations. So if I was to document the Jaguar, I needed to start thinking like the Jaguar. And inevitably, what ended up happening is I spent 21 days, you know, in a hide what felt like a dragon's womb. I mean, losing £10 a night, sweating it out So many mosquitoes that I swore I was gonna be lifted up off that beach carried away by mosquitoes. Don't recommend that If that was an Airbnb like a half a star on Yelp, like would not recommend to a friend this camera hide that I was sitting in 120 degrees in the jungle in the middle of the night. But what came of it was this experience, this interaction this moment, you know, being about 15 ft away from the third largest big cat in the world with the most formidable bite force of any big cat in the Jaguar and the Jaguar, you know it gets its what what that word means. That it's native tongue is that which can kill within a single bound. So they're the ultimate ambush predator. They sneak up on the prey and then literally within one bound, they can pounce on it. And jaguars killed differently than other big cats were like a lion or a tiger will suffocate by, you know, closing down on the on the throat. The jaguar kills by piercing the back of the skull and crushing the skull and brain of their prey. So this is an animal you don't wanna mess around with. This is an animal that, you know, carries the spirit and vigor of the jungle and all the secrets that it hides. And so when I had the opportunity to be ft away from this animal, I felt like it gave me that opportunity. It shared that moment with me. It knew I was there long before I knew it was there. And when that animal looked at me, it looked through me. And I will never forget what I felt like on the beach that day in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle five hours removed from the next closest human being. Having this animal that allowed me to experience it and share the same space with it felt like all the efforts. All of the hard work that I had put into a single frame revealed a side of nature, revealed a side of storytelling and and a reward that I never imagined. I mean, my life changed when I saw that animal for the first time. And what ended up happening even more so is two months after I left that female Jaguar that I saw for the first time she gave birth to two young cubs. They let me name one of them. I named it Jane after my idol, Jane Goodall and the biologist named the other one Felipe. So there's a little Philippe Jaguar cub running around on the beach is right now. Felipe, that is incredible. So the Jaguar Wow. Wow. Just the fact. I mean, first of all, the whole thing. And no wonder. I mean, just listening to you. We've got some folks who are tuning in online right now, Gabrielle saying I love his energy. It's so contagious. Uh, totally agree with you. Uh, but that that through all of that, what was your biggest fear? Yeah, through this experience of connecting with the Jaguar to now, there be a little one that's named after you. That's just okay. That's amazing. Uh, I and I think it's sorry, really. And in the fascinating thing for me is is, you know, fear. A lot of times we see it within society. We see it in culture. We see it in politics like fear. It could be the biggest motivator. Ah, lot of times. But it's there, and it's there for a reason. And when you challenge your fear, a beautiful thing happens. I believe that fear is not there to keep you from doing something. It's just there to allow you to be in the moment, be present with the situation at hand, and to make you think about Are you doing this the smartest way? How is your approach paying off? Is it paying off like what is the experience for the subject on the other side of the lens? Not just the experience that you're having so fear. It could be a beautiful, powerful, inspiring motivating thing that if you don't allow it to control you. Life happens. I agree so much. And I mean, it's clearly evident in the work that you do that you have had thio push through. Uh, so maney fear based situations or what I would put myself in as fear based situations. Uh, but that I mean again, the fear and in all the studying that you do of animals like fear is a natural thing to protect us. Like you said as well, Like, it's something in our brains that's that's happening. And the fear part of our brain is that that instinctual part, Um and and so you know Yeah, it's just it's a beautiful way to recognize the value that figure brings to us. I wanna I wanna turn to Jane Goodall because you have in your instagram and you guys, if you are not already please go Follow Philippe on Philippe Underscore and Dan Draddy. His images are phenomenal and films and all of it. Uh, but you have on there and you're, you know, highly esteemed bullet points that you hug to Jane Goodall. So tell me about hugging Jane Goodall because I would hug her if I was placed in the room with her If you have should allow me to. Okay, let me tell you about And I know we don't have all the time in the world. I mean, Mother Goose time. I could go on forever. I remember I have a d h d. So you gotta try to wheel in what's happening up here? Nuggets from my noggin, so to speak. But we could get carried away with the Nuggets really easily. But my first experience with Jane Goodall was actually had stemmed from my Jaguar documentary. So I was documenting the Jaguar back in 2000 and 18, I believe. Forgive me if I'm forgive me if I'm misplacing the timing, but it was when Hurricane Nate Tropical Storm Nate hit Central America. It displaced about half a million people in Costa Rica. I mean, this was like a class for this was intense, and I was on a remote beach. And what ended up happening is the area flooded so much that crocodiles American crocodiles were starting to surround the biology station. So is me one other film maker, the producer on the team and then two biologists. So the four of us, the four of us in this biology station held up for five straight days, unable to leave because there were new rivers. There were like new challenges. Literally. The landscape changed right in front of us after this tropical storm hit, and we could literally could not get out. So we had to wait. As the rivers and the waters receded, the crocodiles made their way away from the Ranger station, and we had to hike out of their carrying our camera gear over our heads in literally like a 30 something mild day through the mountains, through the jungles, through the mangroves, through the beaches of Costa Rica to be able to be evacuated out of this national park. And I missed my flight. I was supposed to be on my way to meet my idol, Jane Goodall. Like Mother Nature herself. I was supposed to be on a flight to go to her premiere at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for her documentary Jane, which was an Oscar nominated film. I was finally going to meet my idol in downtown L. A. And a tropical storm hit. I thought this was the universe calling me and being like dude not your turn. Not gonna happen like no, don't get anywhere near like Mother Nature was reacting in a way that it's like Jane's bodyguard. Like, we don't want this weird Brazilian around her like we don't know what's gonna happen. The sobbing is gonna fill up the floor and everybody in the room is going to drown. We don't need that situation on our hands. So we had to be evacuated out of this situation. I missed my flight to go to L. A. I caught the next flight out after the day after, you know, we got out of there and I finally got to be in front of her. I mean, I probably still had crocodile poop in my hair. I was wearing the same clothes that I was in the jungle with, and I got to hug and embrace chain and the energy, the conversation, the looks, the enthusiasm that she gave me at a time where she could have been so standoffish. You know, it was about like 11 30 at night, the day before the premiere of her film, and everybody is like paparazzi style around her and for her to give me the time that she did, I will never, ever, ever forget that all the things that she's accomplished. I read through the window when I was in sixth grade. I read Africa and my blood Ah, couple years later and she became my inspiration. But that 5 to 7 minutes that she gave me was enough for me to know that if I want to become Jane, if I want to carry the torch that she's passing on to the next generation of conservationists, the most important thing that I can do is share in somebody else's experience. When hopefully if hopefully I become the next Jane Goodall. I mean, she could have been rude to me. She could have been tired him and like Sorry, dude, like you smell like Big Foot's toenail clippings. I gotta get to my hotel room. I got a big day tomorrow. I don't know if you know, but I got a premiere in Hollywood Bowl. But that embrace that she gave me for me was the most important thing she's ever given me, including her research and conservation. It's amazing what that energetic connections with, whether it's with humans, whether it's with animals, Uh, that that is this level of connection that she gave you that you are giving to other people on. And it's so evident in your personality and the care that you give Thio everything that you dio uh and e you're maybe not Jane Goodall. But you're Philippe de Andreotti on that is I just it Z It's really an amazing story to hear that what that kind of clicked in you to continue because once it's the awareness right of, uh, of what it means to be such a such a human. Um, t give that to people. I want to go back. Toso, one of my colleagues who introduced us NASA shout out, Shout out to NASA. So So she shared with me the video of when the moment when you one, uh, the Naji Oh, the Wild to inspire short film competition. And, uh, you know, an older video. I think that was in 2015 that you won that where they announced you winning and then you coming up on stage and your mom coming out and I was in tears of the host of the event was in tears. Can you tell me? Tell us what winning that competition and what was it that you had created for that competition? And then how did that change the course of your career? Well, it's interesting, right? Because I think just to back that up a little bit, I think, for any photographers, filmmakers, creatives, writers, editors, anybody listening to this right now, this is the most. The most common question I get is you know, how do I do what you're doing, like, how do I work for National Geographic? Or how do I tell a wildlife films like, How do I do what you're doing? And there's this idea when I was not doing this for a living that this opportunity is only available to some of us. This opportunity, you know, has toe find us and has to be presented to us in order for us to live out our dreams and live out our passions. And when I think about my own story, that couldn't be farther from the truth because, you know the truth is I applied for countless internships with National Geographic. When I was in college, I was studying film and wildlife ecology and conservation. I wanted to blend the two and make wildlife films. Um, but, you know, it never worked out quite the way that I thought it would. In fact, I when I finally got an internship with the production company Fisher Productions and Utah, I thought I was going to get a job, and that was gonna set me on this path going forward, and it didn't work out that way. So I went and lived in the woods for six months and hike the Appalachian Trail. You know, I would. I didn't always make the most responsible decisions, but I made the decisions to follow my heart and to follow my passions. And when the opportunity for the Wild to inspire film competition came up, I was living and working in New York, um, for a production company, and I was simultaneously working on a direct TV commercial campaign, so I was overloaded. I mean, I was working 90 or more hours a week like just to make ends meet, to try and pay off my college loans out of state tuition at University of Florida. Um, and I saw this opportunity this competition where the winner gets to go to Africa with national geographic as the universe like calling me and me being lucky enough to pick up the phone. I mean, this was the most delicious slice of life pie I've ever sunk my teeth into. And of course, there was no guarantee, Right? Like, I spent about a month making my, uh, my short film entry and they could have said no. And I could have been right back where I was, but I knew that if I didn't take this chance on this competition, I would never forgive myself. So I created a short film called Adapt, which you guys confined very easily. Um, it was a video of staff picks, so I was very proud of that. But if you just Google adapt Philippe de Andrade, you can watch the film. Andi, that was my entry. And ultimately it got me to go to Africa, which National Geographic gave me about five weeks over there, and I said, Thank you. Buy me one way ticket and I'll let you know when I'm coming back. I stayed for like over four months, went to six different countries, and I think it's that that experience for me as again somebody else who's listening to this that once have following the, you know, in a similar journey It zits not about how Maney knows you receive. You know, I was turned down from internships. I was turned down from jobs. I was turned down from assignments. I submitted photos and received rejection letters. I mean, countless like it took me years. And one of my favorite stories is Michael Nick Nichols, who I think is the best photographer of all time. It took him 10 years to get in with Natcho. So my point is, it doesn't matter how Maney knows you get all it matters. Is that one? Yes, And a lot of times that one yes can come from yourself. It can come from setting money aside from, you know, putting an assignment together on your own dime and going out, making something happen and then sharing it with the world or with the editors of Nat Geo or Creative Live in hopes that you know something more will happen. But it was ultimately it wasn't that one decision to apply for this, you know, film competition that got me in with that, Geo. It was the relentless effort of never giving up on my dream, my plans, my goals, my ambitions that inevitably it was gonna happen. That's how I always looked at my dream. It was goingto happen. It was just a matter of time. Now is my time. What do you believe about mindset? That will or where did you come to learn that mindset? Because you, if you're able to visualize all of these things happening versus getting one rejection and saying, Oh, not meant to be for myself. Like, Was that talk to you from your childhood from your mom, like, Where do you think you got that from? That's a great question. I mean, you know, I I can't remember which book it was off the top of my head. But one of my favorite quotes I've ever read is we are a residual self of our pats, past thoughts and experiences. And so the person you are today and I even use that quote something similar to that in my short film Adapt where I say, you know, I believe that we are who we are because of what we go through, not in spite of what we go through. So in my personal life I had overcome Ah, lot of challenges again, being raised by a single mother living in poverty, growing up in Cleveland as an illegal immigrant, you know, and feeling the pressure off off what? That circumstance starts to take a hold of you. And fortunately, having a mother that, you know, I always tell people I was lucky enough to be raised by a single mother. Not I was raised, but I was lucky enough because I got to witness through her challenges through her suffering through her efforts. You know that this life is truly what you make of it. And when people say, you know, lace up your boots and goto work, they don't realize that some of us have, ah, lot more lacing up to Dio. You know, the journey to getting to where you need and want to be can be a lot can come with a lot more hurdles, but ultimately those hurdles prepare you, you know, And for me, I think I adopted at an early age that a situation wasn't a problem. It was just something that I have to do so that when I became older, receiving knows wasn't what was going to define me. It was just learning ability. It was Why did they say no? What could I have done better? Is this the Are these the types of people that I want to be working with? What was the energy in the room that didn't allow me, you know, or the situation of work out the way I wanted Thio and apply that to the next thing. When I applied for my first job in New York City after hiking the Appalachian Trail on having 17 cents to my name and hitchhiking in New York City and sleeping on couches and bouncing around, you know, until I inevitably got a job, the first job I applied Thio was at a post production house and I thought, You know, I'll be an editor like they make you know, this is a well known place. They've won a lot of enemies and Oscars. And if I get this, Tropical sent me forth on this path of film and it was solely for editing, and they were like, What are you interested in? What are you doing? And I'm like, Well, I just got done living in the woods for six months. And let me tell you all these stories and I want to travel the world. I want a photograph wildlife, and I want to do all these things that I wanna be and explore. And they're like, you know, you're applying for a job as an editor, right? Like what? Like they, you know. And when the report came back, they were like, Sorry, we're not giving you the job, But we think the world of you, We think that you're going to go on to do these great things. I was pissed. I was upset with myself because I needed to put food on my table. I needed a job, but by not getting that job, it opened up this opportunity toe where I did get a production job in New York City that allowed me to travel that allowed me to shoot. That allowed me to work with directors and directors of photography, tomb or harness. The skill set that I wanted to use. I was looking for money and by them telling me No, they gave me an opportunity. I've I've heard you say that in order Thio or I don't know if it's in order to be successful, but that you yourself, you just do what you love that you would do for free. And then things happen. It is not that you were, you know, doing things for free. But is that sort of the message that you put out there to people? Or can you talk to me a little bit more about that sentiment? Because I, like you, just said, If you're doing something for money, it's a very different energy and residents that's happening exactly. And of course, we have to make money, right? Like we as creatives, we have to be able to support ourselves because doing things for free and you know, to build our portfolio or toe harness our skill set isn't gonna keep us alive. So we inevitably we have to get good at the money side if we want to do what we want to dio um, but more so in the beginning, and and with while being respectful to other people's circumstances, right, like there's single parents out there. There's people that air, you know, in their fifties and sixties and still wanting to live out their dreams and wanting to give everything up and do what they love, you know, or even after retirement. Like I met so many people on the Appalachian Trail that were like, I always told myself that when I retired, I'm going to give myself this thing that I wanted to do my whole life. So we never truly lose that that passion. But obviously with some circumstances, there are more hurdles than other. But in respects to living out your dream, I truly believe that if you put a time limit if you put a time stamp on how much you're gonna allow yourself to chase your passion and to make it happen, you should never you should never even begin. I mean, I used to live in L. A. And I would tell my friends this that are actors all the time because they would say I'm here for two years. And if it doesn't happen in two years that I'm going to go back home or I'm gonna get a job in a banker, I'm gonna try toe like then, then what's the bother? What's the point? Because life doesn't work that way. I mean, I'm sure we all as creatives, you have personal stories where so many times you've wanted to give up so many times. I've wanted to get up, and I thought it was over for me. But that persistence factor, what it does is if you have, if you're a creative, if you're a passionate individual and you wanna make something, you have a fire that's burning inside of you. And the more you live your life, the more challenges you overcome, the more things you go through, those air logs that air chopped up and thrown inside of the fire that burns in you. If you're not putting yourself out there, if you're not taking chances if you're not getting knows, if you're not getting rejections, then guess what happens. That fire that fire starts to sizzle out, it starts to diminish and it starts to go away because those knows those challenges are what define your skill set and creates the callous around your heart that allows you to endure. And so I truly believe that if you want to do something and if there's a fire that is burning in, you don't give yourself a time limit with your dream. Just take your dream and turn it into a plan. Get proactive. Get creative. Start to visualize in a month. I want to be here in six months. I want to be there. Who are the people that are doing what I wanna be doing? Let me reach out to them on and try and get some feedback, some advice, or even go and work with them. I tell people all the time like blow up your heroes like like hit him up on social media and be persistent. I wanna come work with you. I want to shoot with you. I'll do it for free. I wanna learn with you. I mean, if you go and work with somebody that you admire and you give them a free month of your time and you're hardworking and you're talented, they may hire you after that. You know, I think as you're telling that as you're talking to this, it's like for me, it comes back around. Thio fear that ah, lot of people including myself, will have you no fear of being rejected by that hero of yours. You know, fear that you'll continue to, you know, to get those knows. And I can only imagine what What the world would be if if we were all able to look at fears, opportunity challenges as opportunity. Um, and it just it's it's so inspiring to continue to, you know, see people, um, and hear people talking to the way to you know, that they live their life without that. Yeah, well, you hit on something that's so important. And this word fear fear is the invisible monster, right? Like all you have to do is is called back to Hollywood films. And the scariest films, the most impactful ones are ones where you never even see the monster. You don't like Blair Witch Project. I mean, that was like a societal phenomena, right? It was I mean it. I remember being, I don't know, I think I was, like, in middle school or something. When I first saw that film and it was everywhere, I mean, people were like, This is really right. Like, this is happening like like it was a huge It was a big deal. And even in scary movies Ah, lot of times the most impactful in the scariest ones, you never see the monster. Why? Because they are playing off of the psychology that the biggest, most scariest, most like intimidating monster is the one that you create in your head. That is a psychological breakdown, where the situations that you are fearful of rejections, getting turned away like having people hate your work. That is the monster that you're creating inside of your head. And that's a lot scarier than actually going through rejections and getting knows, because once you get that, at least you've tried and at least you have another stuff that you could take. But a lot of times, people don't allow themselves even to start because of that invisible monster. So you got to defeat that invisible monster before you can defeat the naysayers before you can prove anything to yourself. Absolutely. And yet, and we're faced with that in the mind stuff every day. You know it's not. It's like it won't. It's a continual thing, and you can get better at not, you know, pushing it aside. But it continues to to be there. And so how do you battle that? I mean, there are there specific practices, or have you just learned it by doing over and over and over again? So I think a beautiful thing happens when you start to understand your emotions and you start to channel that energy in different ways. You know, a lot of times, people, I get messages everyday. Like, aren't you afraid of, You know, photographing jaguars. What were you feeling when that shark came up to you? Like what about that venomous snake like, weren't you afraid that it can bite you when you were taking those photos? And I think the more you put yourself out there, the more you realize that fear is necessary. That fear is an important, you know, energy to be experiencing because it can keep you safe. It can keep you educated. It's just a matter of channeling that energy, asking yourself why you're going through it and redirecting that energy towards a positive thing. And it's fear I believe is not there to keep you from doing something. Fear exists to make yourself to make you ask yourself, Am I doing this the right way? What kind of situation am I getting myself into? M. I is prepared as I could be. What experiences the subject is the animal is the person going through on the other side. It's there to make you stop, think, be present and channel that energy in a new way. It's not their toe overcome you into cripple you. That's where I think a lot of times people make the mistake about fear is they go. That scares me. I don't want to do it. I don't I never, ever, ever resolve to that mentality. If something scares me, I asked myself, Why does it scares me? Is there is there a learning opportunity? And ultimately, how can I channel that energy towards something positive? And that may keep me from doing things in certain ways, but it doesn't keep me from learning and from growing. So it's all a matter of understanding your emotions and being able to channel that energy. And the best way to do that is to put yourself out there is toe, have life experiences, is to take chances because ultimately, like we're all highly migratory beings, right, like this is a beautiful planet we live on and we should share it and we should learn from each other. But there is no substitute from experience and the more experience you have, especially as a creative the better you are doing what you want to dio. I agree. If you don't get out of your head it, then you're never going toe have those experiences that it sounds like to me like you have that full awareness like it's conscious that you ask yourself. Okay, here's the situation. What a my toe. Learn from it. What am I? You know? So it's this constant awareness that of what you're doing that I think a lot of people don't have and that again takes practice. I want to talk about your show untamed. And so you kind of somewhere it says I read like you went from college student Thio hosting your own Nat Geo wild show. Uh, tell us about what the show is and just how it how it came about. What does it mean for you in your life? Well, it came about in a very interesting way. I mean, you know, I didn't want my experience with National Geographic to be like a one night stand. I wanted to be a love affair that would last for the rest of my life. And so I after going toe, Africa came back and I told them like Alright. What's next like let's do a show together. You know, I immediately walked off stage in Sun Valley Film Festival in 2000 and 16 after presenting, you know, the film that I made over in Africa and I don't think they were ready for that. The people that I, you know, grabbed and took to the side and was like, All right, I want to show Let's do it. And they were like, What? Like, dude, you just stepped off stage. Can you give us a minute to process all this? Um, but ultimately, I ended up at pitching that Geo on the Siri's concept for untamed where me and my best friends drove around documenting wildlife in a ambulance that I bought and converted into a camper. Um, not necessarily. Even by choice, it was just, you know, financial restrictions that if I wanted to be a wildlife photographer, I had to give up certain things, like rent. Um, you know what I mean? And monthly bills. So? So that was the cheapest way to go. Um, and luckily, Nat Geo was into it. You know, like we put this trailer together, we put this Siri's concept together we drove the van upto Washington D. C. And let them take a look at it and pitch them. And here's the universe working in an interesting way. They pitched us the exact same concept. They pitched us the exact same Siri's me and my best friends. And you know who I'm still working with today? Brian McGary, my business partner. They wanted us to do the exact same show. They just called it Phillips Wild America, which, let's be honest, if I got inside of an ambulance and drove around the country in something called Phillips Wild America, it sounds like I'm selling like exotic burritos out of the back of this thing, So I don't know if that would, Um, yeah, I don't know how much. I don't know how many neighborhoods that would be allowed into with an ambulance called with Phillips Wild America spray painted on the side. So luckily we cut the we kept the title untamed, and Season one was in the States, Um, and then for Season two, I wanted to be a little bit closer, the wildlife and travel a little bit less so we went down to Costa Rica and Now that you know, we're all excited about this Disney acquisition of National Geographic, it's going to transition into something different, a little bit more exciting and hopefully beyond Disney Plus so that every subscriber can watch it digitally. That's amazing. One of the things that you said, um, kind of clicked back to the beginning of the conversation in that when you it will hop up the stage and said, You know, Nat Geo, we're going to do this thing together Like a lot of people might say to you, Oh, you're so lucky with what you get to Dio and like you worked for it Nobody, you know, you made that happen. You and so I just I think it's, um just an interesting way of looking at how you've accomplished Everything is, um, is just your ability thio not take no for an answer. Uh, tell us more about the mission behind. Untamed as the Siri's is now. Yeah, well and briefly to like you bring up such an important point because a lot of people that word luck, you know, one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, he says, like luck is when preparation meets opportunity and I truly believe that like you become luckier, quote unquote, the more you put yourself out there, you put yourself Maurin line toe. Have luck if you're out there if you're working, if you're creating, if you're taking chances, you're in the environment where things Congar Oh, your way and positivity can happen. So that's absolutely critical to understand for anyone. Nothing is given to you in this world, you know what I mean? So you have to be constantly working for it. And even when you have the stage, you know, or share the stage, which I'm lucky right now to be sharing the stage at National Geographic with a lot of other amazing, accomplished brilliant explorers, Um, it doesn't mean that you're set. You have to keep working. You have to keep challenging yourself, and you have to keep pushing your boundaries. Um, so with something like untamed, what I'm interested in is creating this presence, creating this alternate, um uh, character in conservation where when I and a lot of other people think about conservationist and presenters, you know, we might see like the you know, the 60 year old white male, maybe with an English accent in proper and done up. And that figure that, you know, like that across the pawn. Kendall, if you will, is not who most of us are. You know what I mean? Like like Like I don't look that way. You don't look that way. The people operating this Siri's don't look that way. We're all unique individuals with unique backgrounds and stories. And what I was seeing in the creative in the conservation space was that a lot of the stories were the same, you know, and it alienated a lot of people. I mean, the most rewarding messages I get or from other minorities or even, you know, from women telling me, like your story about your mom, your story about an immigrant being an immigrant. Your story, you know, like how you look different sound different. Like I've been through different things. It gives me hope that I can enter this space that's so untamed for me. Are you still there? Okay, there. Um, untamed for me is not just about sharing wildlife stories, but it's about sharing my story as a different, you know, character in this space to give hope and to give a platform to other people that are looking, you know, for that microphone, which is such a beautiful thing. And it's I'm curious if there any other stories you said you you have heard back from people who have said that they're inspired. Have there? Has there been anybody who you have seen get out and do something based on what they learned from you? Oh, my gosh. Um, okay, this is, um, man, there's there's some incredible stories, but I'm trying to think off which one I want to tell and if I want to call somebody out. Wow, that is a great question. And we don't have to call anybody out if you you know, if you don't want to go there. But I'm just it's it's cool to see, you know, just like your moment with Jane Goodall. Like Thio continue the full circle, um, of of paying it forward again. And because maybe let's just go and talk about your education, um, commitment and and focus because along with the conservation work is also your focus on education. Um and so tell us a little bit about why that is so important to you and what you are seeing just in general from from feedback from people that you're helping educate. Okay, so I think I'm going to try to answer both questions in the same answer, because I have. Ah, I don't know. I have this weird thing where, like, I don't want Thio. I don't know, it feels weird, but I don't want to talk about like somebody else in a way where, like, I changed their life, I don't know. That feels weird, but what I what I do want to do is I want to share a story where somebody else changed my life in a way that I hope I'm doing for other people. So, um, when I found out about jaguars eating sea turtles, it was in a 2000 and 11 natural history documentary, Siri's and this Siri's. It was in North America, produced by I Believe Discovery and the BBC. Absolutely beautiful. It's narrated by Tom Selleck. You can feel his mustache brushing against your lobe as he's doing the narration. I mean, this is as Americana as it gets, right? Like every time he talks, there's just a guitar strum happening in surround sound inside of your court I mean, it's beautiful is perfect, and it's the story of North America's wild backyard. And they talk about the Jaguars and the sea turtles, and they talk about it for like, less than five minutes. And that sequence really sparked that interested me because with having a background in biology with big cats, you know, I had never heard of this particular story. I know big cats, as you know, strong, formidable like, you know, lines chasing down gazelle and the savannahs of Africa, where tigers stalking, you know, like their prey, like in the corridors of India. But I've never heard of Jaguars and then a aquatic species like sea turtles. That's just different. So it touched on it briefly, and it always resonated with me. And then one day when I went to Costa Rica, I was like, You know what? I'm going to do One of the stories that we're going to tell us on the Jaguar we don't have the money. We don't have the time we don't have. The resource is it's gonna be way over budget, but I have to feed my soul with this. And so it became and it ended up becoming one hour documentary on Big Cat Week and one of my episodes front tamed. But when I was out there, the biologist was like, Hey, do you mind if we hire a local on you? Mind if we bring him on board? He could be your camera assistant. He's one of my best friends. He's worked on these productions before, and I was like, Yeah, go for it. His name is Alonso Sanchez. He's an amazing photographer in Costa Rica and we were stalking the Jaguar. Alonso and I. He was my camera assistant and we were about two weeks in and we had, like, a couple of days left more than two weeks, and we had a couple of days left to go and we had not anything from the Jaguar. No Jaguar kills no footage, nothing. And we're sitting in this ranger station. It's pouring down rain. God's crying on earth. I mean, you're in Costa Rica in the wet season, so you could imagine. And he looked at me and he goes, How do you even know about this? Like, why are you even here? He's like people in Costa Rica don't know that Jaguars reading sea turtles. How did you end up here? And I was like, Dude, I saw this documentary Siris in 2000 and 11, like at the time, like eight years ago, you know? And I was like and it inspired me to come and learn mawr about my favorite animal, the Jaguar, because I didn't know that they hunted in this way. And the fact that the sea turtles over 100 million years old, that's an interesting natural history behavior. And he just it was him and I in this Ranger station. And when I told him that and he was like, What's the name of the Siri's? And I was like North America. He literally started toe weep. He started to cry, and I was like, Okay, like what? Dude, was it something I said, like, What the hell is going on? And he said, I filmed that entire sequence and I was like, What? And he's like the BBC came to document the Jaguar Ah, hurricane hit much like it did when I was there and they had to evacuate. They got nothing from the Jaguar, and so they left him with the trap cameras. They left him with all the gear and he this field assistant, this local Costa Rican ended up documenting what came on this North American natural history. Siri's That inspired me to go there, and we realized that under the same roof, in the middle of nowhere, stalking the Jaguar, and two days later, we got our Jaguar sequence. Man, do you have stories? I mean, it's those moments. It's I don't know those moments of whatever you want. People call it synchronicity ease or what have you that, um, just make you wonder? Uh huh. I'm curious. What? What makes you wonder? Like what? I don't know. I I mean, I'm not trying to follow, like, a one track mind here. I just I honestly I can't thank her enough, but, like, Well, my mom gave me what my mom did for me when I was young. Really set the foundation for the rest of my life. And when I would ask why? Why? Why? Why, Why, Why, Why, Why, why, like any other kid does she indulged me. She answered my wise, the best that she could. And if she didn't have answers, then she would give me a book I mean, I was a voracious reader as a child, like still am to this day. You know, I try to finish a book a week, and the reason is is whatever you've been through in this life, somebody has gone through it before you and they've written about it. So the opportunity toe learn is available to all of us, and the opportunity to accelerate our growth as individuals is available to us. It's just a matter of putting in the research, putting in the homework, putting in the time. And so the fact that my mom indulge my curiosity answered my wise. And then when she couldn't, she made me learn for myself. It kept me curious. And when you think about the natural world, you know, I was sharing a story earlier on a podcast with National Geographic, where in and six they discovered the largest aggregation of marine biomass on our planet. It can be seen from space hundreds of whale sharks, animals, you know, over 40 ft in length, and then giant oceanic manta rays, pelagic pancakes, you know, with 12 ft wingspans coming together to feed on some of the tiniest, tiniest creatures like the spawning of the little two knee fish eggs and the fact that this behavior has been hiding under our noses for this long. And it was just recently discovered, you know, not even 14 years ago is a sign that there are so many secrets that nature has yet to reveal to us. And so when I think about wonder like you just said, everything is still out there for us to explore, like don't leave any rock, you know, overturned like don't be afraid to scratch any surface to keep asking. Why to keep indulging in your curiosity? Because much like the sciences, for every question that you answer, Ah, 100 more questions come of it. And so you're never done exploring and especially in nature, their arm or secrets to be shared and their arm or things to discover, especially with the advancements of technology. We're finally at a point in a sure there's plenty of creatives on here. Technology has finally caught up to our creativity where it's no longer If I had this, I could do this. Right now it's I have this. What can I do with it? What can I learn within What story can I tell? What areas of the world can I explore? And how can I share that with others? Like technology when applied to the natural world? In my opinion, uh, it za most beautiful The most beautiful recipe for how to live your life. Phil, I just I could talk to you all day. I know you've got two more podcasts. There are programs that you're doing just even today that it's such a beautiful way to end this conversation. Um, not just talking about wonder and curiosity, which I truly believe is the most important thing for for creatives. And I believe that we are all creative. That's what we say here. Creativelive There's a creator and all of us and so that the way you frame the technology that it's, you know, that everyone is on an equal ground right now in terms of it's up to you to use your mind and your heart and your soul to create. And you are clearly, um, doing that day in and day out. Thank you so much for for your time for being here for the second time, I was gonna ask, where can everybody follow you find you make sure that they know everything you're doing. Yeah. Thank you for thank you for the plug. I didn't ask Kenna to do that, but thank you. Now that you did, um, like you brought up earlier my instagram My handle is at Philippe f I l I p e Underscore de Andrade d e a n d r a d e um instagram. And then if you go on nat geo dot com slash untamed, you'll be able to see our untamed Siri's. And we have a documentary out right now called The River in the Wall, and it's available to rent or to purchase on ITunes. And it's something that I'm incredibly proud of. Um, we made that documentary directed by one of my best friends and accomplished filmmaker Ben Masters. And it's it's an important subject right now, so thank you for that. But I have a question for you, Kenna. No, Yes s questions here. So what I find fascinating about what you dio is you yourself are a creative. You yourself make and put things out there for the world to experience. And you're an amazing writer. You have such a way with words that resonates, you know, and talking to you is easy. I think it's easy for you to pull things out of people because you're such a great listener. Um, so I'm interested in for people listening at home for me myself. What is that one element? That one ingredient. That one variable that you yourself being in this position that you're in in getting to talk with all these different people. You know, these people that come on your show, these people that navigate through your channels, you know, What is that it factor? Or is there one that you see is a commonality between people that are lucky to do what they love to do, are lucky enough to call their dreams their jobs? This is what happens when there's one host toe, one host. Uh, first of all, thank you for your kind words and definitely not expecting the question back at me. But I have been so fortunate to be able Thio, whether it's been as you know, the host of credit live for 10 years, and all of the instructors and world class people who have come through on Ben so many folks here on the podcast, getting to know their personal stories get. It's a number of things that we already talked about in this conversation today. It is the people who actually sit down and do the work. Ah, lot of people out there, um, acknowledged that they they're not necessarily the greatest photographer out there, the greatest filmmaker out there, but they that they outworked or out tried, you know, 99.9% of the other people who gave up, Uh, and ultimately there's gotta be something inside of you that you can continue to wake up every day, and we all have our emotional roller coasters, especially as creatives. But it's the people who sit down and not knowing what's gonna come out. But just give yourself the space to do that, Um, that I think is kind of the through line, and I also think it's people who go through personal transformations that then have the desire to help other people. Transformers. Well, I I often hear you teach most what you need to learn on. I love that sentiment because as you're going through the process of learning something so much so that you feel the need. You want other people to experience the same thing. And ultimately that That is the teacher within us. Wow, that's beautiful. And And what I love about that is you know, so many times we want toe put it out there that we have all the answers. When, in fact, like we're answering questions more often than were you know what I mean? Like like through the struggle. The struggle is a beautiful thing. The process is a beautiful thing. So what, You just said it. It's such a revealing thing because it doesn't. You don't have to be an expert necessarily to be sharing the process, because in doing so, you're learning and you're teaching exactly. Exactly beautiful. Well, thank you for that question. Uh, believe again. Thank you so much for your time. Everybody be sure to go out, and I really appreciate that you mentioned, um, the latest film that you created so important, so powerful. Just give us the quick byline of what that film is about. Just so people will go and check it out. Yeah. So, um, the river in the wall is a feature length documentary. Um, and we wanted to have a different conversation around immigration. And around the wall nobody was talking about, like how a physical barrier would, uh, imposed on the ecology, the wildlife, the landscape off, you know, the border. And also, um, at this critical point where you know, Mexico is Texas third largest trading partner. When most immigrants, as a matter of fact, overwhelmingly, most immigrants are not coming across through the border. They're actually over staying their visas. Um, how a multibillion dollar physical structure, you know, addresses, desires, but not actual solutions. Um, and then also working with Mexico because we're actually at net zero with Mexico when it comes to immigration. Mexico is a partner in illegal immigration of the United States because they're facing some of the same things on their southern border, and it's not actually anywhere close. Uh, Mexicans air not here as illegal immigrants over other. You know, uh, countries overwhelmingly, they're not even close to number one. Um, so they're a partner in hours, So I think the film addresses a lot of fax over opinions. And so we spent 3.5 months on the border on the Rio Grande by mountain bike, horseback and canoe as to understand the area intimately and to talk with people because ultimately I feel like this is still a conversation we need to be having. Um, and an investment into foreign aid is an investment into our own economy. Because the one thing I discovered was my own story out there where the reason you flee a country is because you feel like you absolutely have no choice, you know? So a lot of times people want to say, Well, they should be helping themselves. But the reason that people are coming into the country illegally is because you know their their families, they themselves feel like they have zero options otherwise, and they're faced with, you know, their own mortality every single day, which has parents, which as individuals who want to survive on this planet, I'm sure we can all empathize with We would do drastic things as well. So the film is really about having conversations and sharing stories rather than you know, making hardline decisions on what we think we know and spending the time out there to get to know the border because there's so much more to it than a proposed wall. I think it's a beautiful culture filled with beautiful people and beautiful stories.

Class Description


Our weekly audio podcast We Are Photographers brings you true stories from behind the lens and behind the lives of your favorite photographers, filmmakers, and creative industry game-changers. From their struggles to their wins, host Kenna Klosterman discovers the real human stories about why they do what they do.

Listen to this and other audio episodes on our audio Podcast page.


In this episode, Filipe takes us into the mindset of the animal he feared the most as a child - a jaguar. We learn how throughout Filipe's life he's turned fears into opportunity and he encourages us all to do the same. Hear how hugging his idol Jane Goodall motivated him to pay it forward to the next generation of conservationists. Filipe explains why he feels lucky to be raised by a single mother. Be inspired to embrace your camera as your own voice hearing Filipe's stories behind his show Untamed plus films Adapt and The River and The Wall.


Filipe DeAndrade is a Brazilian born, Cleveland raised, filmmaker who has a passion for wildlife and freely admits he is addicted to adventure. He’s a 10x Emmy award-winning wildlife filmmaker and conservationist. Filipe started a production house with his friends called Comfort Theory and in 2015 won National Geographic’s “Wild to Inspire” short film competition at the Sun Valley Film Festival. Nat Geo WILD then invited Filipe to work on several documentary projects and he is currently producing and hosting the series ‘Untamed’ for Nat Geo WILD.