In the first part of this fan Q&A on my radio show, Josh discusses what it takes to be part of the "DT" crew, how they maintain their health on the road, and my fellow fans surprise me by saying I deserve a cameo.
AMANDA: Alright, time for the fans, are you ready?
JOSH GATES: I’m ready. I’m definitely ready.
AMANDA: Alright, we have Elijah from Massachusetts. You there?
ELIJAH: I am here! Hi Amanda, hi Josh.
ELIJAH: So Josh, in a recent interview, you said you were having trouble finding people who could keep up with you and take the harsh conditions while traveling and filming. Is that still the case?
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JOSH: Well you know, I think we found a great group for season three. There are some particular challenges about making “Destination Truth.” I think it’s difficult, and it’s certainly a world that I didn’t really understand until I started making this kind of TV, but the camera operators and people that work on reality television, the jobs are all very different. Some of the jobs that may seem like they’re really challenging, like take “Survivor” for instance, although I’m sure it’s very challenging to film on that show, for the most part the camera operators work on set shifts.
JOSH (cont.): They work their 8 or 10 hours and then they go back to wherever they’re staying and they rotate out. The thing that makes “DT” uniquely challenging is basically that everything we do is fair game to be filmed. Flying in the airplane, landing at the airports, going out to dinner, passing through the market. Then certainly, every four to five days we have this big overnight investigation where we stay up literally all night in these really tough conditions. So that gets really hard and there are some people who eat that stuff up, and there are people who just love it. They love the fact that they get to go to places on this show that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go to.
JOSH (cont.): I’m hanging guys out of helicopters and letting them ride in little planes and they get to go to Bhutan, and they get to do a lot of that in one season. So for the right people, it’s a dream job! But we have had people on the show in the past who have found it really challenging because it’s a very break-neck pace, it goes on for a few months, and you don’t get a chance to really see your friends and family in that time, and it’s hard. So I think we’re always kind of evolving to try and find that perfect group. It’s them always the question of, as I said earlier, of kind of catching them all on the right schedule. But we’ve for a great group for the new season, so I’m hopeful that everybody will really enjoy them.
ELIJAH: Glad to hear that. If someone were a suitable candidate, how would they go about contacting you if they were looking?
JOSH: Well, they could definitely send us an email. Or be in touch through the website or through the [Syfy.com] message board…we are looking for people for this show all the time, and in terms of this show, there’s always a certain technical aspect that people have to have. But a great example is we have a new paramedic on the show, named Rex [Williams].
JOSH (cont.): He’s a guy who had never really worked in TV at all, and he was a fan of the show…and we had put out a call for a paramedic because the guy from last year, Jarrod, whose a great guy, was working a job in New Guinea for a company and just wasn’t available. This guy Rex came in and he couldn’t believe it. He’s married and his wife was like “you’re not gonna get that job!” (Laughs) When we gave him the job, we went out on the field with a guy who is basically a fan of the show, and it was a wild experience for him! He had never really done a lot of international travel, but he’s a great paramedic. So, for people with the right qualifications, it’s certainly possible.
ELIJAH: Alright, well I’m glad that you took the time to talk to me. You should hire me, and at least give Amanda a cameo for all the hard work she puts in.
JOSH: She deserves it, for sure.
AMANDA: I’m gonna kill you. (laughs)
JOSH: Well thanks very much. I appreciate you tuning in tonight.
ELIJAH: Alright thanks, Josh.
AMANDA: Bye Elijah. Alright, next – oh my goodness. I’m gonna kill him! Um, next on the show-
JOSH: You do deserve a cameo!
AMANDA: I know, I mean, if you guys are gonna do anything where you need a 5 foot 1 little short chick in there, I could crawl into a cave or something, I dunno-
JOSH: You got it! We’ll try to work it out. The problem is, getting you to wherever we are.
AMANDA: Yeah! Alright that’s awesome…I’ll kill him gently then, how about that?
JOSH: That sounds good.
AMANDA: Alright, next on the show, we have Cherie from Texas. (Sings line from “My Cherie Amour”)Are you there?
CHERIE: (Laughs) Yes, I’m here.
JOSH: Cherie, how are ya?
CHERIE: Hey! Good! How are you doin’?
CHERIE: Good. I have a question…with all the travel that you guys do…what medical precautions do you take? Vaccinations, nutrition, stuff like that.
JOSH: well, we’re certainly all supped up on vaccines. And the thing abut vaccines are that you make one trip to Africa and you’re basically loaded up. You get most of the preventive ones for most of the African continent. Then you get some sort of side things that Japanese syphilitics vaccines, or certain countries have very particular vaccine requirements, but most will last about ten years. So within the past season of the show, I was pretty set to go for a while.
JOSH (cont.): We also take a lot of anti-malarial pills a lot of the places we go. Malaria is a big problem, there’s no vaccine for it, and the pills have gotten a lot better. They used to screw with your head a little bit, but the new pills they make are a lot milder. We take those for a lot of the jungle environments we go into. Then beyond that, we try to stay hydrated and basic maintenance stuff in hot weather and cold weather, we try to stay warm, and all those things. But the most common illness on the show is water borne and food borne illnesses. That’s very common, and sometimes it makes the show…but basically everyone on the show gets sick at one point or another in the run.
JOSH (cont.): We had one person this year escape and didn’t get sick, but basically everyone at some point goes down for the count. That’s also very tricky because the show kind of has a momentum that can’t be stopped because of filming deadlines. But people are really great, they muscle through it, I muscle through it, and we try to keep moving forward. That’s the most common thing that happens and we try, and we’ve been very lucky with larger injuries or medical issues. No tape worms or missing arms from alligators yet, so we’re all doing good on that front.
CHERIE: Oh, that snake was close though [in reference to Season Three – Giant Anaconda episode].
JOSH: (Laughs) That’s true, actually, it was!
CHERE: (Laughs) That was pretty bloody, but probably made for good ratings. Is there any kind of special gear you use for sun protection, that kind of thing?
JOSH: Heavy duty UV sunscreen does the trick, and in a couple of place we’ve been to, we use Zinc Oxide or things like that if it’s reflective off of glaciers…for the most part, it’s anything that you would just take if you were going into any hot or sunny environment. We definitely in the really cold environments wear special clothing, extreme cold weather gear, and things like that. But we’re doing pretty good on the medical front, so far, so knock on wood!
CHERIE: Wow, I would say, that’s really good…thank you! This is amazing, you’re a sweetheart for doing this-
JOSH: And thank you for listening, I really appreciate it.
CHERIE: Well, you’re welcome. I’m a fan, my daughter Jamie; she’s 10 and a fan. And my son whose standing here. He’s 12, he has Aspergers [form of Autism] and he’s really into. He’s like “Cryptids, that’s it, that’s the bomb,” ya know?
JOSH: Aw, that’s great. That’s really, really nice to hear. We hope the show is entertaining and funny and scary and has travel and we hope that people kind of find something in all those areas, so it’s really nice to hear that he’s enjoying it and you’re your family is enjoying it.
CHERIE: Well, thank you very much. And, I do agree – I think Amanda needs to be on the show sometime!
AMANDA: Oh, God!
JOSH: (Laughs) Amanda, are you paying these people?
AMANDA: Josh, I’m right out of college, I work in retail, and I have no money. Take that into consideration!
JOSH: (Laughs) You got it, you got it!
CHERIE: (Laughs) Anyway, thank you guys!
JOSH: Thank you so much!
AMANDA: Bye Cherie. Oh my God. Yeah, no, yeah, I have no money to pay anybody. So this is surprising. I have a lot of people ask me all the time how I got this job, and I tell people I do the fan stuff because I like doing it. I’m definitely not getting paid for it.
JOSH: Well we appreciate it, and I really think it does a lot for the show. We really like to think of “DT” as the little show that could. It’s on a bit late, it’s on at 10, and we are really fortunate to have “Ghost Hunters” in front of us because they’re very much the wind at our sails. But it’s a really ambitious show for what it costs to make it. The fact of the matter is that it’s one of the most international shows on TV, which is a fact we sort of figured out a long the way. We end up touching down in more countries in this season than “Amazing Race.” And that’s amazing because we make this show with a very lean group of people, so it’s really gratifying to have folks supporting it, and obviously all the work you do at the website, but all the fans calling and stuff like that. We really appreciate it, in fact, it really means a lot to us.
AMANDA: Aw, well that’s great! I mean, there are definitely a lot of calls. We actually have one blocked number, let’s see who it is. It could be interesting.
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