Patrick McLaughlin, Sound Recorder / Still Photographer / PA / Wilderness Adventure Guru

Quick Facts:

  • Nickname: Pat
  • Home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • What got you into filmmaking? I have always been interested in telling interesting stories. I began college as a screenwriting major, but graduated with a degree in biology, and I currently work in West Africa as a conservation biologist. Like filmmakers, scientists are essentially just telling stories, trying to understand and convey what they learn about how the world works. I have always wanted to have a foot in both worlds, to help convey science through film instead of just statistics and specimens. As a scientist, broadening your audience beyond other scientists is vital to both conservation and education. To that end, I have always had a keen interest in filmmaking.
  • How did you first meet Nikki? I met Nikki the day before she began her epic Long Trail attempt, in the middle of the woods of Northern Vermont.  
  • Why did you become involved in the making of the film? Jaime and I spent some time leading a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip in Tanzania this past summer. She told me about Nikki and the Finding Traction film, and I was just blown away by the entire story. Knowing that I was looking to gain more experience in filmmaking, Jaime graciously offered me the chance to join her crew. The chance to be a part of such an amazing project was an easy decision, and quite an honor.
  • Greatest inspiration: I guess it’s a tie between Forrest Gump and Gandhi
  • Proudest moment: Becoming an uncle 
  • Biggest fear: Questionnaires
  • Favorite food during field production: Dried Mango
  • Best adventure: Driving a 1983 Ford Fiesta from England to Mongolia
  • 3 Things People Should Know About You: 1. I study frogs, 2. I like bacon, and 3. I type with 2 fingers.
  • What’s Next? I am leading a research expedition this month in West Africa. We’re looking to document primate abundance in the remote tropical forests of Bioko Island, one of their last strongholds in the region where they are protected from hunting. Additionally, we will conduct extensive surveys for new species of amphibians and insects, while also inventing new and creative ways to cook SPAM.

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The film was funded!