I thought this would be a very disappointing show but actually it was quite informative. AP is shooting KOTJ2 in southern Florida in a 20,000 arce wildlife area. Madison Michele, the host, shows us the Camp site and says that they wanted a very 'Out of Africa' feel to the set. She shows us the tents, the bug nets, the mosquito netting that everyone wants, that is in the King's tent. The Kitchen Tent with water supplied from a water tower that holds 85 gallons, that is filled everyday by the crew.
We then see the orientation of the cast by the director, this was shown already in the casting episode.
Then the sound guy comes out and shows them the mikes they will be wearing all the time and tells them there is no off switch. But, take them off if you are going into the water.
We meet the assistant producer she provides all of Madison's copy and the questions for the Lion's Pit.
Madison shows how the challenges are made. They are based on characteristics of the animals they meet. Initially, they meet Nosey the elephant. Elephants are strong and can pull heavy loads, therefore you have the sled pull. We meet the prop guy who build they sleds. Then they show the flying bird feeding the chick challenge. They have one of the crew testing the harness. It is decided that the angle of the harness and how it is attached to the guide line needs to be changed, that way the parent will hang at a different angle in the harness, otherwise the flying parents legs will knock the chicks over.
Then we see the flamingo challenge. You see big poles knocked into the pond by a big hydraulic machine. Then the poles are cut to about 4 to 5 feet above the water. There are wedges cut out of the side of the pole so you can climb up. Again members of the crew are used to test the challenge. It was funny watching people try to climb up the poles. Finally, the director says that the Challenge is to watch the cast flamingo stand on the poles not try to climb up the poles. The art crew saws the poles down to approximately a foot above the water and a shorter pole is attached to the side of the original pole and used as a step up. Again the crew tests the challenge. Again the crew all fall down. This time the discussion is to put a small platform on top of the pole so a person's foot can comfortably stay on it. Eureka. Finally a set that works. Madison comments that for such a simple idea this challenge actually took the most work.
Then we get to see the animals and are informed that the American Humane Society is on set to make sure the animals are taken care off.
We see Scott train Gizmo, the cockatoo who delivers the Bird Mail.
Then we go to the set of the Lion's Pit. We meet the set designer and he says that the Lion's Pit idea came from Botswana. They show the set being put together. We see how the logs and lifelines are rigged. The rigging of the lifelines is changed for each Lion's Pit so that the people in the Lion's Pit will not see the same pattern. The crew came up with the idea to put something on the end of the poles so the totems can be hung. The crew is checking out camera angles around the ring table and there are 2 problems. First the ring pole, (Now I know what to call that blasted thing) is to big and it blocks the cameras view. About 8 to 9 inches is cut off. Then the table is not level. That is fixed. The set designer mentions that the table was designed so all the rings are equidistant from the ring pole, so regardless it you are using your left or right hand there is no advantage from any position.
Then there is a shot of first Lion's Pit between Henry and Jennifer and how they have to reposition the camera when Henry moves to the machete. the crew discovers a safety issue. That the top of the pole where the lifeline is positioned is a soft wood and potentially the machete could chop though it. So for the next Lion's Pit the crew put on a plaque of hardwood on top of each pole. In addition outside the Lion's Pit before they start the crew has the challengers practice with the machete so they know exactly how much force they need to cut the lifeline.
After this I would love to see a behind the scenes of a Survivor show. The logistics, the sets, the totems, the challenges etc.....is fascinating.
Next week a new episode.