National Geographic Announces Third Year of Field Ready Program

Nat Geo field ready program participant takinging a picture


National Geographic Content and National Geographic Society announced the third year of its Field Ready Program, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion in global unscripted television production for historically underrepresented creators and storytellers interested in working behind the camera in natural history, science, and exploration filmmaking.

The Field Ready Program offers one-on-one mentorship with some of the most seasoned filmmakers; includes monthly master classes and Q&A sessions with industry leaders; and hosts a training and discussion series where participants meet industry leaders through specialized workshops that help them navigate the unique world of factual production.

“We are thrilled to welcome the third-year cohort of our Field Ready Program,” National Geographic Content president Courteney Monroe said ahead of the global brand’s appearance at Wildscreen Festival 2022 held in Bristol, UK, from October 10-14. “As leaders in global unscripted content production, we are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion behind the camera, particularly in natural history filmmaking, a genre that has notably lacked diverse voices. We are proud to partner with our colleagues at the National Geographic Society to provide diverse emerging talent with access to training, mentorship, and practical in-field experience across our global productions.”

To date, the program has been widely successful with early-career storytellers from 15 countries focused on filmmaking having completed the program and 60% of its participants working on National Geographic productions around the globe.


Nat Geo field ready program participants next to a van with all their equipment


“As an example of our commitment, we are pleased to bring members of the third-year cohort to Wildscreen Festival 2022,” said Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of Development & Production, who is spearheading the project for National Geographic Content. “We feel confident that exposure to events of this caliber further enriches their experience and will broaden their horizons at the very start of their participation in the program.”

This year’s Field Ready Program commenced Monday, October 10, with the mentees attending the Wildscreen Festival through full sponsorship by National Geographic. The mentees will have an opportunity to network with their class cohorts, industry professionals, and National Geographic executives.

“Field Ready provides historically underrepresented early-career National Geographic Explorers with mentorship and hands-on experience needed for them to tangibly break into the film industry,” said Kaitlin Yarnall, the National Geographic Society’s chief storytelling officer. “When we create pathways for emerging voices, we take the critical steps toward diversifying filmmaking—a field that has historically lacked representation. Our storytelling and impact truly become so much stronger by hearing more perspectives and creating different narratives.”

Jessica Suarez, National Geographic Explorer, and 2021 Field Ready participant added, “Thank you for the entire Field Ready experience. It was really an incredible journey this past year and such a warm welcome to natural history filmmaking that will absolutely have a lasting impact on my career. The tree-climbing course I took in Bristol shaped my career and next steps, helping me realize how much I want to become a camera operator and director of photography.” Suarez, a UK participant, finished year two of the program and is now working on a production in the United States.

Upon graduating, the Field Ready class of mentees will be announced to the wider production community as qualified candidates for National Geographic productions around the world. The program has become a reliable resource to National Geographic’s production partners for hiring and mentoring the next generation of talent. By investing in a diverse community of qualified candidates and endorsing them as field ready, the goal is to impact the industry and further cement National Geographic’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion.


by Disney Career Recruitment