Rising Star - Mark Woodward

I joined Big Wave on work experience back in 2001, and apart from a brief stint in London working on a Nat Geo series, I’ve been there ever since. I now produce, direct and edit many of Big Wave’s shows and what I love about the company is that there’s no strict hierarchy. Everyone, from the runner to the exec producer pitches ideas, comments on cuts, and makes the tea. It’s a great place to work.

Big Wave Productions - makes award-winning science, wildlife, history and adventure programmes for broadcasters worldwide, working with the world’s leading scientists and conservationists and have won more than 80 awards and nominations for our work.

"Mark Woodward, our series producer at Big Wave stands out,  he joined us for work experience and never left. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him, he is very kind, big hearted, and exceptionally talented as a writer, producer, and editor. He is also a great all-rounder,  with very strong editorial sense. I would trust him with any project.  He is about to become a shareholder of Big Wave." 
Sarah Cunliffe of Big Wave

We asked our Rising Star a few key questions:

What is your proudest achievement?

As a producer, it was the moment 200 blue sharks turned up in the Irish Sea to feed on the carcass of a 40-foot dead whale we had found, frozen, transported and towed out to sea. It was the biggest gathering of sharks every filmed in UK waters and a logistical nightmare to shoot. It took two years to get the right permits together and we had to employ the world’s top freezing scientists (yes, that is a thing) to come up with a way of freezing something that big, insulated by tonnes of blubber. On top of it all, we had no idea how many sharks were in the Irish Sea and whether they’d show any interest in our whale. When it turned in to this huge beautiful swarm, it was an incredible moment (marred only slightly by seasickness!)

What was your first break in the business?

Like many people in the TV industry in the UK, I spent a fruitless summer after university leafing through the PACT handbook and firing off emails to every production company in the land. Fortunately for me, one letter stuck and I soon found myself feeding flies to a gecko in the late, great Tony Allen’s studio in Oxford. I was instantly hooked.

What was your best of career move?

The best move I ever made was learning to edit. It has made me a much better director in the field, and means I can take projects right through from development to delivery. It also gives me a nice balance between time in the field, time in the edit and time in development.  

What part of the job or business do you relish the least?

I’d merrily never camp in the Australian outback in December again!  100 degree heat, 90% humidity, a one-man tent and some over familiar insect fauna made for a rather sleepless month.

What are you working on now?

We’re just been commissioned to make a new Shark Week show for Discovery featuring some pretty amazing underwater technology, and a BBC4 doc following the wildlife and people of the New Forest through the seasons.  

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