The creative process

I have to say its all new to me. I have never blogged and as a rule I don’t read blogs. My internet usage for the most part consists of checking my email and perhaps four other sites on a regular basis. So why am I starting a blog? Well, the answers are not clear to me yet but I think I would like it to be a very functional and useful blog about the work I do, lessons learned and impressions gained from being an independent filmmaker.

So a little bit about me. I have worked for roughly ten years as a freelance camerman, editor and director in the documentary world. Based for the most part out of Cape Town I have been lucky enough to have some wonderful experiences through my work. Its been a real journey. Rarely easy but always rewarding. I often get asked “So how can I get to do what you do?” Traveling to remote places and filming everything from mountain gorillas to a first descent of a tributary of the Amazon. The truth is that there is no formula. For the most part it is being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and grabbing onto opportunities with both hands as the come by. There is a certain element of ruthlessness in pursuing filming opportunities, not taking no for an answer and being persistent. I think the  most important thing for me has been knowing very strongly what I don’t want to do and by avoiding those things. For the  most part I now find myself doing work that really inspires me both physically and creatively. I am very lucky.


Film making is a strange game. One would think that by doing something for ten years it would become easier. I think that the opposite is true. When I first started shooting it was a matter of just pointing the camera and capturing what was in front of the lens – most of my effort went into making sure that a shot was correctly exposed and fighting with the camera to produce nice images and make sure that there was usable sound. During this stage I had some spectacular failures but also some amazing results that were just pure luck. As you develop as a cameraperson, I am loathed to call myself a cinematographer or DOP, you start to become crippled by the choices you are presented with. When you start to think about your stylistic approach, and what you really want to say through your images it become much harder. I think that is why film making can become such an obsessive pursuit – you want to master it, but the more you learn about it the further away the attainment of any sort of mastery seems. I like that some how.

So in short this blog is going to chronicle some of my shoots both past and coming up. I will share some of my work as well as work of people who inspire me. It may get technical at times when I talk about gear choices and editing tricks.

I hope it will be a fun and frustrating journey.


About kyleodonoghue

Environmental and Adventure Filmmaker
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7 Responses to The creative process

  1. Liezel says:

    Really looking forward to reading your blog Kyle! I’ve been hoping that you might share your many adventures for a long time, so thank you for this treat and I hope 2012 brings you great shoots and exciting journeys

  2. Hi Liezel…. hoping people will not be bored stiff! Its good to write a bit anyhow… Hope you are keeping well. K

  3. simon says:

    hi kyle
    the silverback approves,
    we’ll check in from time to time, love to marthe.

    • Howzit Si, great to hear from you… glad you approve. Mostly just an excuse to write a bit at the moment, but I’ll see how it goes. Hope you guys are doing well. We’re off to cut a Christmas tree! Marthe sends love.

  4. Nic Paton says:

    Thanks Kyle for “sticking your neck out” like this. One gets a little jaded about what constitutes “reality” as far as filming goes, but you seem to be keeping a healthy relationship to it.

    The way I see it a camera operator who puts their life on the line (or themselves/ their endeavors IN the frame) is way more interesting than a prima donna DOP who needs an air conditioned caravan before they pull the trigger.

    • Hi Nic, thanks so much. At this stage it is more of writing excercise, but I am enjoying it so far. I think the main thing I get from writing it, is that reflecting on process is as important as actually practicing a skill – in this case filming adventure docs. I hope you are keeping well. cheers.

      • Nic Paton says:

        Well reflection is a discipline that is at a low ebb in our culture: I find that I can very easily move onto the next thing without taking in what has just happened. The filmaker cannot really reflect deeply enough, if their work is to last.

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