Alex Goetz has an overwhelming passion for conservation, animals, and film which is what keeps him going on his alternative career path of being a Wildlife Filmmaker. Not only is Alex very passionate about this industry, he also doesn’t like someone telling him he can’t do something. He came up with the idea of becoming a Wildlife Filmmaker when he has young boy watching Planet Earth, and he was told he would never actually do it. From that moment, he set out on a quest to prove the naysayers wrong, and he indeed has done that.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

He and his partner, Justin Grubb, were awarded $6,000 from the Stuart R. Givens Memorial Grant after detailing the dream they would pursue if given the opportunity. Receiving this grant was the catalyst that catapulted Alex into his wildlife film career and landed him in the jungles of Costa Rica to film sloths, snakes, and all four species of monkeys in that area. This opportunity also gave him the chance to learn on the job, and he was able to get some amazing footage from the experience. So amazing that the staff of the Toledo Zoo took notice and he was offered a position in the Communications department to film and photograph the animals there. Although he has some ways to go, Alex is well on his way to a successful wildlife film career.

Hearing “No!”

Being told “no” is a part of life. However, it comes as a given when you pursue such a niche field as wildlife filmmaking. Alex applied to National Geographic’s film competition Wild to Inspire to find new wildlife filmmakers, but didn’t make it to final round. Discouraged from the missed opportunity, he applied again the following year, won, and landed an opportunity to film all throughout Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa for five weeks. Alex describes Africa as “the mecca of wildlife film,” so to be able to film the most iconic animals was such a career high.

Understanding that a non-traditional career path can be tough, Alex recommends this: “You have to learn to stay positive or else you won’t make it very far. Set an overall goal so that you know what you’re aiming for. If you don’t have a passion for it, just stop.” This passion drives him forward, even in the face of rejection. Alex is very excited that he has his “toe in the door” at National Geographic and plans to pursue other national opportunities to further drive himself into the wildlife film industry. For him, the thrill of not knowing what is going to happen next is both terrifying and exciting.