A quick Q&A with Brian, the producer from Ultimate Survival Alaska:
Q. What was the most challenging experience filming Ultimate Survival Alaska?
A. There were so many challenges; safety, weather, wild animals, communication, all in a totally remote environment.
Q. What was the most rewarding experience?
A. The most rewarding experience was completing an incredibly ambitious expedition. Bonds were formed between the participants that will last a lifetime.
Q. Were there any real hair-raising moments during filming? What were they?
A. The teams became stranded on a beach on the Katmai coast due to weather. We were unable to rescue them for several days. They were in the heart of brown bear country, out of food and trapped in a fierce storm. Very dicey…
Q. Were there any funny moments?
A. Watching Marty Raney trying to cross a river wearing only a gold pan and a belt was hands-down, the funniest moment.
Q. What impact does the weather have on filming? How did you cope?
A. It rained almost constantly which destroys cameras and really grinds people down. It also creates serious safety issues because the rivers became swollen and we had several folks on the teams go in while rafting. The water is icy cold and hypothermia became a big issue. We had a tough cast and crew and they really had to push hard to pull off the show.
Q. Any useful survival tips that you learnt during the making of this series?
A. You can put Vaseline petroleum jelly on a cotton ball to make a very reliable fire starter, even in the rain.
Q. How do the contributors prepare for this challenge? Any special training?
A. Each member of the teams were uniquely qualified for this adventure. No one trained just for the show but rather, used their years of wilderness skills and experience to pull through.
Q. Were there any days when the contributors didn’t have food?
A. Yes, there were many days when their rations of beans and rice ran out and they were unable to forage successfully.
Q. Any close shaves with wild animals?
A. Several, on Admiralty Island, home of one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in Alaska, one team had all their gear trashed by a huge bear.
Q. How long did it take to film this series?
A. We were in the wilderness for 10 weeks.
Ultimate Survival Alaska Mondays 9pm on National Geographic Channel