Recently, I have been lucky enough to talk with someone who is more of a fanatic about Destination Truth than I am. Her name is Amanda Rosenblatt and the following interview is on the eve of the new season of Destination Truth starring Josh Gates. (SyFy - Sept 9th - 9pm) Amanda has recently had surgery and had her DT Facebook page with 20K followers shut down...but nothing keeps Amanda down...just read the interview and see for yourself.
Click READ MORE to the bottom right for the rest!
Destination Truth, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I'm Amanda - a 5' 1" Aquarius who likes puppies, long walks on the
beach, and hairy Yetis. But in all seriousness, I'm a college graduate who has continuously studied Journalism/Media from day one of high school, even after graduating college. I've been interested in the paranormal, crypto-zoological and all things weird since I was young. I'm currently in a position a lot of other people are in at the moment within this economy - at a job I never thought I'd be doing post college, but it basically pays the bills and gives me the time/freedom to do my fan work, as well as to have a social life and see my family. And, you know, eating and showering fit in there
at some point, too. Maybe even some dating and stepping out to see sunlight, once in a while. I'm also borderline obsessed with Lady Gaga and I don't care if that makes me sound lame.
Now that we know a little more about you, tell us how you got
involved with Syfy’s Destination Truth. Did you answer a want ad? Craigslist?
Well, let me start off by saying that this isn't an employed position and I
don't get paid to do this at all. Anyway, it's weird how I got involved. It was
the first semester of my senior year of college and I was sitting in my dorm
thinking of extra projects I could pursue to spruce up my resume. I was told
earlier that week about a blog called "Sex and the Ivy" by a fellow student,
which I checked out. As odd as it is, considering the controversial nature of
that site, I knew that blogging or having some sort of casual website
building or social media experience on the side would help me a lot.
I thought of my interests and what I could profile that already hasn't been
touched on. In between homework, my job, activities for my campus radio station and
general shenanigans, I sat down to watch one of my favorite shows,
"Destination Truth" on Syfy (it was then the SciFi Channel). Halfway through an
episode, it was either the second to last or the last episode of Season 2.5, it hit me
- I love this show, so why not focus on it? I checked Google to make sure there
wasn't already a fan site for this show, and other than a Myspace page that
mostly just had a few photos posted, there wasn't anything.
Cutting to the chase, I did my research and opened up what I thought would
just be a small site. Josh Gates (the host of "Destination Truth") and I started
briefly conversing via Facebook and email once he found out about the page
through one of his close friends. A little over a half year after I
started the site, as well as a corresponding YouTube channel, a Twitter account & a
few Facebook groups, I was invited to the Syfy Network Relaunch in NYC to
meet Josh in July of 2009. He gave me my first on-camera interview and
that whole day inspired me to start a BlogTalkRadio show, as well as my
other online outlets, to help promote this show, the stellar cast and its
Again, this isn't a job at all and I really dove headfirst into promoting
this program from a fan's point of view, all on my own efforts through self
motivation. I take money out of my own pocket to do contests or to travel to these
events. Yes, it can tend to be thankless when people don't read a signature or
disclaimer on one of my sites and assume Josh, or another cast member,
does all this work, but the pros outweigh the cons. I wouldn't do this if I knew my efforts
weren't appreciated by fans and the cast/crew/network alike. I didn't
expect it to reach this level and it's awesome, frankly.
I’ve seen you all over the web including Twitter, Facebook,
BlogTalkRadio, and Weebly promoting Josh Gates and Destination Truth. What do
you think the role of the web can play on a show like Destination Truth?
Social networking and alike online efforts are absolutely essential to
"Destination Truth", and other shows. I mean, do you see how much Craig
with the @Syfy Twitter account interacts with fans? Amazing! Anyway, if customers are paying for a product (i.e. - cable, satellite TV, etc.) and they can easily change the
channel if they either don't like what's on the screen or they don't like what
they hear about the talent/personalities behind the scenes when they're not on
screen. I knew from the start when I began to interact with Josh, as well as the people
who work on this show and the network itself, that “DT” was not
getting the social spotlight it deserved, coupled with the fact that the fan community was pretty much stagnant.
I look at the sites I run in terms of what fans would want from a resource that
focused on their favorite program, actor, singer, or what have you. Being a fan of
the show and its host, it made it easier for me to understand what would help
“DT” and satisfy my fellow viewers, exclusives-wise. In part, because of
the interest my sites have sparked combined with the consistent rise in
quality of episodes, the show has progressed really well. They went from
being on a very long hiatus between Season 2.5 to Season 3 to what it is
now - the ratings have been so good that they've moved to another night where they
headline instead of following "Ghost Hunters," which is usually their
predecessor. Even my pages combined went from under two thousand followers
to over 25,000 in under a year and a half!
Would "Destination Truth" have survived without what I've done? I absolutely
think so. Would it have as loyal and dedicated a fan base without the
groundwork I've done? Not to sound egotistical, but considering my dedication and the
time/efforts I put into these sites, and the fact that I haven’t quit or become bored with this, I don't think so. People want to feel part of a community or like they belong to something when they're a fan. You can't really do that without a solid, in-depth series of fan pages run by someone and assisted by people who are genuinely interested in the subject.
Did you attend Comic-Con in San Diego this year? If so, what was
the overall fan reaction to Destination Truth, Josh Gates and Syfy?
I actually had a press pass to Comic-Con for the work I've done with my fan
pages, which is crazy. I've always wanted to attend the event since I was
a whee little fan-girl, but never could. Then, for someone from their wonderful
organization to hand me a pass (after filling out the lengthy application) to
the whole event gratis just for giving my free time to a show, it's
network and other shows on that network, was totally mind blowing.
A huge reason why I was excited about Comic Con was the presence that the
Syfy network had at the event. Josh has also hosted panels there for several
years, so I figured there had to be other "Destination Truth" fans coming. I
decided to try and set up a second "DT" fan meet up. The first one was at the "Ghost
Hunters: Alcatraz Live" event in NYC in March 2010, where I got 4 other huge
fans to meet Josh (impressive considering it was not an event for the
host, or his show). I kept pestering Josh about a SDCC meet and greet, and was finally
contacted back by his production coordinator Danny about arranging a date and
We all got together at the Hard Rock Hotel where I got Rex, the show's medic
from Season 3, and Josh, to meet fans. I was surprised when there was a
quick pop-in from Colin Ferguson of "Eureka", as well as Amy Bruni and Kris Williams from "Ghost Hunters" hanging out; even though I had conversed with Kris before
Comic-Con via Twitter and expressed interest in her coming, I didn't think she'd
show up! They all happily posed for pictures and conversed with the 9 fans I
got to come along, one of which being a girl who helps me moderate my fan sites who brought her two daughters and husband along, who also love the show. I think everyone was really shocked, including me, when Josh walked us all over to a PinkBerry attached to the hotel and bought us yogurt!
It was an event like that, and the fact that the channel’s talent are the nicest
and most down-to-Earth people to their fans, that's constantly elevating Syfy’s image in
the entertainment industry. And again, I don't think that meet up would have
happened at all if it weren't for my persistence and previous history in
helping this show. I also had entry to the exclusive Syfy press rooms for
the "Sanctuary," "Warehouse 13" and "Eureka" panels, which was an amazing experience. What other network would do that for one of their biggest fans and supporters?!
Ok, here is the tough and inevitable question – Have you had
a chance to spend much time with Josh Gates and is he the same guy in
person as we see on the show?
To quote Dr. Sam Beckett, "oh boy!" I've spent quite a bit of time
getting to know Josh, whether that be in person, through emails, on my radio
specials, or even via phone. I know he'll probably send someone to kill me in the
middle of night for saying this, but he's not too much like the person he is
on his TV show. Obviously he's cool, witty and very educated, as well as experienced
for his profession, but I was very surprised when I got to know him. Granted,
what he does is a very tough job, along with the fact that he's making an
entertaining yet challenging TV show. It could just be another facet of his
personality to survive the months on the road.
I won't mince words - before I got to know Josh, and how great Syfy and its
talent were to their fans, I thought Josh would maybe be a jerk. Perhaps it's
just because before I did this fan work, my skin was not as thick as it is
now, combined with the fact that his personality on the show is pretty brash and
sarcastic. But ever since I got to know him, I am more surprised by what I watch on TV compared to the person that I feel I know from having met him and talked to him so much.
I remember one instance in particular that really tugged at my heart
strings – a fellow fan told me his mother was having serious surgery for some
severe medical problems and he asked me to help him get Josh's autograph for her
before she went in. I told him I would try my best and forwarded this fan's email to
Josh with the headline "Autograph Request for Surgery-Bound Fan." I was
sad and nervous because I knew Josh was shortly embarking on another filming trek and didn't expect him to get back about it. He has one universal email account
for all his regards, especially concerning fan emails, so I was certain he
wouldn't even notice. Sure enough, that fan got in touch with
me a while after and sent me the story, along with photos, of his mom
receiving a personalized autograph from Josh with a "get well" message. The
gratitude that this fan expressed to me, along with the facts that I knew Josh was paying
that much attention and that I made that much of a difference in someone's
life, made me cry, as silly as it may be to confess.
Josh, as well as his crew, the production company and the people at Syfy,
are all extremely compassionate and overtly self-critical about what their fans
think of them. There are certain things I will keep private about my interactions
with them all, but I know Josh wishes he had more time to give to his viewers and sometimes I think he feels like he's letting them down by not having as many opportunities at being as interactive with them. That's why I'm happy to step in for him so that I can help him share himself with the short amount of free time that he has with my fellow fans.
Do you think any of the creatures they search for on DestinationTruth could be real?
Ah, onto a lighter subject! I think a lot of the creatures could
definitely be real, yes. Some are pretty far-fetched and easily explained away, but I
firmly believe we haven't discovered everything there is to find in this world,
as well as surrounding ones. I was raised with a parent who has always had a strong
belief in UFO's and aliens, so I think it kind of spread to me. I wasn't
raised with a religion, but meshed with the spiritual beliefs of my mother and the
extraterrestrial beliefs of my dad, I've always been conditioned to think
that it's a foolish notion that we're alone on this big, spinning rock. I
definitely think that the creatures featured in the show that live in medium to large water sources have more of a possibility to slink past the radar without being discovered
because of how difficult those environments are to investigate thoroughly.
Any chance of you traveling with the Destination Truth team on
one of their adventures?
It's been talked about quite a bit, actually, and I would love to!
Unfortunately, because of the red tape and the legalities of bringing a fan on the road, it hasn't been accomplished yet. People who watch the show don't realize how tough it is. Yes, “DT” has a great amount of humor and they do have fun on the road while traveling.
However, the process is so dangerous and there are a lot of risks these people
take to create a TV show for us.
Let's say they wanted to bring me, or another fan, out there. First,
there's the cost factor – even if they didn't pay the fan to come on, you
still need to cover them for travel, food, etc, while still paying the
crew member's salaries/expenses. They also need to make
sure that person is in excellent physical and psychological condition to
survive the activity and exhaustion of even one of their cases. People watch
this show and say "oh, they're only out there one, or a few, nights." This
is a misconception - they have to condense 3 or more months of footage into
these small episode packages, which deceives the real amount of travel and investigation time.
Even if you brought a fan on one of these shorter cases and had them
hiking for miles with huge packs in inclement weather coupled very little sleep and
horrific food for maybe even a few days, production will be slowed down if the fan
is not used to this amount of activity. Then, you have the predicament of legal documents – even if a fan signed a waiver denying Syfy and Ping Pong Productions (the production company for "DT") responsibility for their injuries or ailments, what if they did get hurt and then the network didn't help the fan out with their medical
bills? Then the fan still pursued legal action, regardless of an agreement
or not - can you imagine the PR nightmare that would be?
For now, I'm happy to stand by and wait for a solution. I know they
appreciate my work and if they were able to bring a fan out there, I'd be the first
asked, as I've expressed interest only after a good number of fellow
fans brought it up to Josh. I’ve never done this fan work expecting a cameo in return, but I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to experience it, if given the chance. The crew knows I'm not going to be a diva or flip out while doing any amount of time shooting this show, if invited. Plus, even though some of the newer or lesser involved fans might picture me as such, I'm not a 300 pound basement dweller who is glued to my computer, so I think I'd be in pretty good shape to survive one of these treks.
If you stumbled upon a family of Sasquatch, would you adapt to their
family unit, learn as much as you can or would you run for the hills? And,
as a follow-up question, if a Sasquatch and a Thunderbird were in a life and death
battle, who would win?
Well, if we were speaking from the hypothetical stand point that I were
working for the show, I would not have the time commitment availability
to stay and assimilate with the creatures, much as the cast/crew members
would not, either. If I were on some sort of biological research team and
were given the time/resources to do so, that would be fascinating! I
don't think I'd be too afraid. I'm sure I would have some sort of means
to defend myself in case of an attack, but I wouldn't study them in such
a way that I would invade their territory.
As far as an epic battle between a Thunderbird and a Sasquatch, there is
no question in my mind that the Thunderbird would win. The thing can fly,
it can hold however many times it's body weight and it's huge! It
could pick up a Sasquatch like an owl could to a mouse and either eat it or drop
it to its death. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there
anything else you’d like to add?