Members of the film crew that produces Gold Rush: Alaskashare their stories and reflections about what it's like living and working with a group of rookie gold miners deep in the Alaskan wilderness.
Film Crew Members:
- SAM BROWN: Associate Producer
- SIMON EVERSON: Supervising Producer on location, episodes 7-10
- SAM MAYNARD: Series Producer
- JAMIE BERRY: Supervising Producer on Location, episodes 1 to 4
- MATT TESTA: Supervising Producer on Location, episodes 4- 7
1. How does working on Gold Rush compare with other productions you've been involved with?
SAM BROWN: The Gold Rush shoot was without doubt the most intense experience of my career and definitely the steepest learning curve. It never stopped, or even slowed down, for the whole four months I was out there. It wasn't unusual to work seven days a week and I slept with my boots on more times than I care to remember. But our production team was the best bunch of people I have ever worked with and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
SIMON EVERSON: Before Gold Rush, I was working on another Discovery series Frontline Battle Machines which I filmed in the Afghan battle zone. Although I could walk around freely in Alaska without the fear of booby traps and bombs exploding under my feet - or being shot at - the threat of a bear confrontation never went away. Wherever you go you carry bear pepper spray and an air horn so you're always prepared for the unexpected. Filming any documentary is always exciting, but being in awesome Alaska with the Hoffman crew was an amazing experience that felt like a privilege most of the time in spite of the rain, snow, and freezing weather. Whether you're in front of the camera or behind it, every person feels great as a member of the same team.
SAM MAYNARD: I specialize in working on long term projects in remote locations and this one has been as intense as any production I've ever run. Short planning time; the unpredictability of gold mining; the fact that we are making an observational documentary and not a reality show which we can produce; the bears, the guns and the gold, it's a rock 'n' roll mix. And the commute from London is a little tiring.
JAMIE BERRY: To be filming a slice of American history was like nothing else I'd experienced before. These were men who were suffering at the hands of the economic downturn and you really got the sense that it was a tale of "what's happening now." To capture the sense of the American dream being reborn was one of the major challenges of the series.
WATCH VIDEO: The Miners' Desperate Plan
In logistical terms, it was literally a juggernaut. Keeping track of four cars and four trucks on the way out of Oregon was a military operation. Coordinating four camera crews and a helicopter from a moving car is not easy either. The 2000-mile road trip, through some of the most stunning landscape in the world, involved us constantly 'leapfrogging' the convoy and setting up cameras to get drive by shots.
MATT TESTA: Every TV show is its own time capsule, reflecting something about the moment in which it was made, but I think we were all motivated as producers by just how relevant the Gold Rush story is right now. Here you've got these six guys who are struggling in the recession - they could be your neighbors - and they respond by risking it all with this amazing adventure. It's a very American story that is both timely and timeless. The notion of searching for a better life on the frontier is a theme that runs throughout a lot of our history. It's a cherished ideal that people can really connect with these days.