The "Real" in Reality TV
Even for those of us who work on Gold Rush and know a lot about the behind-the-scenes action, it’s always an eye-opener when we hear from one of our producers out in the field. We just got a note from Tom who rides herd over things, and he was describing some of the moments they had in Peru after they landed. His tales about settling in to Todd’s quest for gold are so good we have to share.
“In the hotel we met with the team medic Mike. We knew we were going to be at high altitudes but didn’t exactly know what to expect. Mike tells us there are symptoms and dangers of working in high altitudes and the thinner air. One thing is the headaches, but we find out if we start having nausea or vomiting we could be in serious trouble. Even though we knew Peru would be different, some of us start to wonder how we will get along, much less prospect for gold in these conditions.”
We all remember the Peru episode where Todd and some of the other crew members are talking about having headaches. All we can say after hearing the pep talk that Mike gave, is we’re glad they didn’t have anything more serious to contend with related to altitude sickness.
That they didn’t is surprising given that the contact Todd has – Alex – tells the team they are going to La Rinconada. Here’s Tom’s take on that:
“We find out from Alex we are going to La Rinconada – the highest city in the world. So we are thinking about the altitude issues, but we actually hear from the director, Tim, that one of the biggest dangers could actually be getting from place to place. The roads are dangerous with buses and minivans flying round bends; the locals don’t follow any rules of the road. The roads are narrow with drop-offs that are going to be scary during the day but completely off limits at night since it’s too dangerous. So now we had to plan how to get Todd and the team back and forth to prospecting sites without hitting nightfall.”
It turns out to be the road that determines the Hoffman Crew’s fate in La Rinconada, Peru. Though they work with the locals to get prospecting rights, as the team heads down the mountain on that crazy road they come across two busses that have had a head on collision. That would be bad enough in case people were injured, but as we know from the show it actually is the tension building on the side of the road that convinces the Hoffman crew and the production company to get out of there.
It’s that experience that makes Todd decide he wouldn’t want to risk his life and those of his Crew running up and down that mountain road for all the gold in… well, you know.
We love hearing from Tom and the production crew out in the field. We’re reminded how raw and real the moments are that they capture for Gold Rush fans. We’re hoping we hear more from Tom and the others in the field so we can get some of these inside stories they couldn’t capture on film. Come on back Tom!!