Friday, April 26, 2013

Penner's Spotlight - Max Elliott Anderson - India

Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight

Name: Max Elliott Anderson of Illinois
Location: Bangalore, India

Project India: Cobras, Caves, Chimps and more
Several years ago, I traveled to Bangalore, India, to shoot a dramatic film for children called, Mark of the Red Hand. We had a local committee that had set up the shooting locations and arranged for all the cast of characters…including a snake charmer. I remember traveling back from a remote location, late one night. 
Because of my long legs, I sat in the front, and the snake charmer sat in the back with three woven baskets; each containing a cobra. The tops were secured with flimsy string. All the way back to town in the darkness, I was sure I could feel one of those rascals slithering around my feet and ankles.
In one location, we filmed at a zoo. I was allowed inside the habitat where two young tigers lived. To say they were aggressive would be an understatement. They’d trot away from my camera position, turn, get up a full head of steam, and continue running. The name of this game was called, Knock over the Cameraman if You Can.
Wild monkeys seemed to be everywhere in Bangalore. Each morning I fed them snacks out my hotel window before leaving for the day’s shooting.
One afternoon, a man stopped by where we were filming. A cute chimpanzee rode along on his motorbike. We became fast friends.
A central location for the film, with a number of sequences to be shot, took place in a cave. We shot the exteriors of a cave out in a remote location. Then, for all the interior scenes, we built an elaborate set, made to look like a cave. I’m sure no one, watching the film today, would notice the difference.
After a lifetime of travel, and shooting films like Mark of the Red Hand, I find it easier to visualize characters, locations, and sequences for the action-adventures & mysteries I write for young readers today.
Have you been to India? Do you have a story to share about finding interesting animals along your travels? Please join the discussion below.
Max Elliot Anderson writes action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 and up. Using his extensive experience in dramatic film, video, and television commercial production all over the world, in locations like this, he tries to bring that same visual excitement, and heart-pounding action, to each adventure and mystery he writes.

At this point, 10 books are published and 10 more are contracted. A free catalog is available in a PDF file by emailing
To learn more about Max and his travels and books, check out:


  1. Max, thanks for that trip to India! I'm glad you were the one in there with the tigers and the snakes, while I was safely far away from them.

  2. I know, but somebody's gotta do it.