A Melbourne-based filmmaker is currently searching for a suitable Australian animal so he can film it every day for a year and create a local version of the super successful Netflix special My Octopus Teacher. Despite the obvious potential in such an ambitious project, experienced cinematographer Callum Jones says he’s finding it very hard to identify a member of the local fauna that could teach him valuable life lessons.

My Octopus Teacher has enjoyed widespread acclaim this year, the documentary sharing the touching tale of a freediving enthusiast in South Africa who befriends a local octopus and then starts visiting it every day to track its movements. The intimate experience of witnessing a wild animal go about its business in its natural habitat coincidentally helps the man to make sense of the challenges he faces living on dry land.

Keen to leverage the popularity of the Netflix documentary, Jones has been searching for over a month in an attempt to choose an Australian animal that could match the teaching skills of that wild octopus. But it hasn’t been as easy as he first thought.

Speaking exclusively to The Watsonia Bugle, Jones said, “I mean, what can Aussie animals teach me? A kangaroo will just show me how to punch on with his family. A crocodile will teach me to see something I like, catch it in my vice-like jaws, and then roll it around under water until it drowns. And a koala just sleeps in a tree for most of the day, is half-pissed when it’s conscious, and most likely has chlamydia. I’m not seeing a whole bunch of useful take-home messages in amongst this. I’ll have to broaden my search.”

Exactly where he takes that search remains unknown, and Jones said our suggestion that wild octopus also live in our oceans was unhelpful. He said, “Well, yeah, I know that. But I can’t just copy it exactly can I? Plus, I can’t bloody swim!”

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