Filming on Gold Rush for the Discovery Channel is always a colourful experience. The tension of never quite knowing what’s going to happen next and who or what it’s going to involve keeps you intrigued as a filmmaker and, in my opinion, that’s an essential ingredient to an involved and committed crew and a driven team.
My Background on Gold RushI first started working on Gold Rush back in 2012, when I was still relatively early in my career as a Director of Photography. I really wanted to bring an energy to the set and, with my fingers crossed, hoped that it might get me noticed and lined up for the return call to come later down the line.
I’ve worked on every subsequent season of Gold Rush since Season 3, and have been lucky enough to work in each of the amazing locations that the miners have found themselves in. Their ignited passion to search for the all-elusive metal, no matter what the environment, elements, or bad luck that might be thrown at them is what keeps me going on the set. It’s gambling on a grand scale, although as Parker has said to me many times, “It’s all about the ground. Get that right and you’re in business.” I feel like he’s being humble; there’s definitely something in his spirit and history that connects him to what he does, in a way that’s unusual and exciting to be around. He’s the kind of character that you feel like would only be written about in books, a pioneer from back in the day brought back to life. If there’s one thing guaranteed when working with Parker, it’s that stuff is going to happen, what kind of stuff you have no idea, but stuff… and that is part of the fun.
This year Parker’s Trail is no exception. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on anything so eventful, and it got to the point where so much was happening that hectic became the norm. The atmosphere became intense and I had a crackling expectation to it. Tempers were frayed, tears were shed, and there were actions more intense than any season of Gold Rush I’ve worked on. This season embodied incident after incident, and all with a hefty helping of no-one having a clue of what was coming next. In a word, it was awesome right up until the very last moments of shooting. It was one of those rare shoots that once it was over, everybody sat around looking at each other in slight disbelief at what had just happened. You immediately feel separated from reality and look back on the time with a slight feeling that it’s a story that has happened to somebody else who has told it to you.
The Million Dollar Question – Did They Find Gold?
It’s really tricky writing about something like this without giving away what happened. The only remedy to this dilemma would be to tune in to Discovery Channel every Tuesday at 9pm BST (I assure you, you will not be disappointed). But I think it is safe to say that there’s water, a lot of it, and not necessarily when we were expecting it. There are animals with big teeth. There are awesome characters, stories, incidents, a heck of a lot of emotions, and certainly some life changing moments for all the cast and crew involved.
Ultimately, it all comes down to one thing: GOLD. I suppose the million dollar question is whether we found any gold. And did we find more than Todd’s total sum of 2 ounces from his stint in the jungle? Well, that really would be telling and I would love to come back and shoot another of these beasts, so, best I stay schtum on that front and let you guys find out for yourselves. Enjoy the roller-coaster.