Working Crew on Amazon Survivor pt 3 – Second Week in the Amazon

Ariau Amazon Tower - Manaus - Brazil

Ariau Amazon Tower – Manaus – Brazil

Working Crew on Amazon Survivor pt 3 –

 Second Week in the Amazon

The first week of Amazon Survivor production only a few show crew were around the main filming area, way up the Negros River in the heart of the Brazil Amazon.

We numbered just a handful of unit department people (my former department during Thailand Survivor), the production crew, and the challenge department staff (my department on this show). The Challenge Department is in charge of dreaming up, designing and making the Challenge games for the contestants.

The entire art department was stationed down in Manaus city, staying at a luxury hotel and working temporarily in an old warehouse. That meant our up-river hotel, Ariaus Amazon Towers, was pretty quiet, save for the loudly squawking parrots and chattery monkeys who hung out at the hotel walkways .

monkeys at Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel

monkeys at Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel

Later that week a few more people began trickling in, most of them my pals from the Thailand show: the head grip, the head of lighting, a few camera tech guys (They inventory, clean, maintain and repair the gear) then the grips (They build platforms, towers, rolling tracks and whatever else is necessary for the camera crew to get the best shots) more lighting guys and some of the medical team.

It was great meeting everyone again. We enjoyed many happy and unexpected greetings.

Art Department -  Survivor Amazon

Art Department – Survivor Amazon

The second week brought big changes. The art department had moved their workshop from the warehouse in Manaus to a big barge on the river at the end of the first week. Sunday night the entire art crew moved up river to our jungle hotel. Then the art barge was floated up river and placed in front of the resort.

Dream Team of Survivor Amazon

Dream Team of Survivor Amazon

On Monday the rest of my team, the’Dream Team’ arrived. In total, we numbered 10 Brazilians and 5 westerners. That was a big change from the Thailand production, where all the Dream Team members were westerners.

We all spent the afternoon getting to know each other and watching `Survivor Marquesas` episodes, which most of us had never seen before. Getting a glimpse of what we were about to help create over the next two months added an element of excitement and anticipation.

hotel tower at Ariau Amazon Resort

our hotel tower at Ariau Amazon Resort

All the new arrivals meant big changes for our hotel as well. As it turned out, the art department and the Dream Team were staying in the same hotel tower. My originally empty, quiet sleeping quarters were suddenly filled with people. We quickly discovered that the wood walls were quite thin, so we all began tiptoe-ing and whispering in our rooms.

Monday morning, before the Brazilian teammates arrived, my crew had a half day off. I went out on my own to explore the rest of our rambling hotel. The wooden walkways stretched several km out into the jungle with more towers, tree-top viewing platforms, various buildings and, oddly, a UFO landing pad!

UFO landing pad at Ariau  Amazon Hotel

UFO landing pad at Ariau Amazon Hotel

I found a lovely lake and spent an hour dancing with my new CD player/ head phones, a great work-out. I also sat up in a tree platform looking out over the jungle, watching an eagle soaring on the wind and listening to a chorus of unidentified jungle birds.

art department crew - Amazon Survivor

unpacking containers on the art department barge

Tuesday morning, bright and early, my team headed out to the art department barge for the first time. We spent the entire day helping the art crew set up their workshop.

That entailed opening a dozen or so containers, which had finally arrived after a one-month delay. We pulled stuff out, arranged tools and materials, organized, unpacked boxes and crates, set up equipment and anything else the art crew instructed us to do.

It was a massive project but with so many eager hands we completed the task in just one day. On Wednesday morning the art department went into full swing.

Happily equipped with the tools and materials that they’d waited so long for, the artists could finally begin constructing the sets, props and Challenge games. They eagerly jumped into high gear.

My team spent that week helping them. One day we went into the jungle to help paint a set. But most days we stayed on the barge constructing props. I was exceedingly excited to make my first props for the art dept. It was thrilling to think that ‘my’ props would be seen on the TV show.

setting up a challenge game in the Amazon

setting up a challenge game in the Amazon

(My secret goal was to work in the art department. I suddenly felt I might be on my way. In fact, the art director, who I knew from the Thai show, said he was happy to see me and would request me to work with them as much as possible. Saweet!)

One day our Dream Team also jumped into our very first testing of the Challenge games, which the art crew had been furiously setting up at various jungle sites. Wow, that was fun! Was that really A Job (!?!) being paid to play games (&#!!?#) Too cool!

testing one of the Amazon Challenge games

testing one of the Amazon Challenge games

It left me wondering if I really would prefer the art department or this… I presumed I’d have a much better idea in 2-month’s time. Meanwhile, it looked like I had a fantastic two months ahead of me making props and playing outdoor adventure games.

At the end of the second week all of the camera crew were scheduled to arrive. I’d already seen a few guys trickling in… By the end of the week, the place would be buzzing. I had no doubts that a few camera pals from the Thailand show would be quite surprised to see me again.

The only bad thing (why does there have to be a bad thing?) was that I had caught a very bad cold which made me exhausted. I feared I may have to resort to anti-biotics yet again. The illness seemed to be my old stand-by respiratory ailment hitting me.

Otherwise, everything was grand.

working crew on Amazon Survivor

hanging out with camera pals

I ended the week with a day off. Quite fortunately, the sun finally came out that day after nearly 2 weeks of clouds and rain. I took full advantage by suntanning on the river-side beach and then sitting in tree-top perches watching birds. I ate several delicious gourmet buffet meals and caught up with old pals who had drifted in from all parts of the globe.

Join me next week when I explain, “What is the Dream Team?” my fabulous job on Survivor Amazon.

Meanwhile, you might want to catch up on this Amazon Survivor Series:

part 1 – Flying into the Amazon

part 2 – First Week 

Or the Thailand Survivor Series here



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