Behind-the-scene notes from National Geographic expeditions


 
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In depth, exclusive, information about the shot of Tiger Shark filmed in Western Australia
Photograph of the crew of the Tiger Shark documentary

Sally Brown, Masseuse

At breakfast one morning, cinematographer Jeff Wayman’s conversation shifted to his massage-therapy addiction. Producer Greg Marshall chimed in, “You like massages?” “Oooohhh, yeah,” Jeff slowly smiled a shark’s grin. “I’ve got to have ’em at least twice a week.”

In a moment everyone realized his relaxed state had little to do with the steady breeze. “Where did you get a massage out here?” asked Greg.

“From a woman who lives in a tree over there by the tennis courts,” Jeff said. “Oh, sure. Right,” the crew replied in disbelief.

“No, I’m serious!” replied Jeff. “Want to see?”

Within two minutes the crew was crawling through a tangle of tree branches into Sally Brown’s tree house. Its magical appearance and ambience made it clear why local children are convinced Sally is a fairy.

“I came to Monkey Mia”—the resort that was our base of operations—“to be with the dolphins,” said Sally. “I swim with them every day. Honestly, I communicate with them using mental imaging,” she said.

“Do they communicate back to you?” we all asked.

“Their feedback is definitely there.”

Later, back in my hotel room, my seven-year-old daughter sadly told me over the phone that she’d discovered the truth about the Easter Bunny. “Oh, yeah?” I said. “Well, I met a real fairy today.”

Table Talk

Typically the filming day began at sunrise—with breakfast, if a sunrise shot wasn’t necessary—and concluded at sunset. The crew rarely took time for an organized lunch. Mealtime conversation topics ranged from movies to pro basketball to noisy refrigerators. Only on a shoot, where quiet is key, can you appreciate the outrageous volume of a refrigerator motor. In fact, one afternoon the crew, shooting a sequence in Mike’s makeshift lab, ran from door to door asking all the neighbors to shut off their air conditioners.






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Photograph of Brown and Holmes

Photograph of Sally's tree house
  Sally’s Tree House   

Photograph of two pelicans on the Shark Bay beach

Photograph of a pelican on the Shark Bay beach

Photograph of Marshall leaving a camper

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