Chris

Hope siblings travel the world with Survivor crew

Chris, Robyn and Tim Barker regularly work behind the scenes on the popular realty TV show

Chris, Robyn and Tim Barker have learned what it takes to outwit, outplay and outlast.

Working behind the cameras, they’ve watched dozens of people compete for the million-dollar prize on the reality TV show Survivor.

The family affair started four years ago when Chris was selected as a member of the “Dream Team” on Survivor seasons Gabon and Tocantins. This group of young adults – many of whom return for future seasons in other production jobs – help the art department build, set up and test challenges. After hearing about Chris’ experience, Tim joined the crew a year later on seasons Samoa and Heroes vs. Villians. Robyn has since worked with her brothers on Survivor: Nicaragua, Redemption Island, South Pacific and One World, which premiers on Feb. 15.

“The Dream Team is a really unique perspective because you get to see all the different departments that are involved in the show,” said Robyn, whose job is to help crew members where needed and provide craft services.

Chris and Tim both work as camera assistants setting up, putting away and cleaning the gear. The experience has helped them learn more about the industry for their own company Art of Living Productions, which they launched in 2007 with a friend.

More than 200 people from around the world, including Emmy Award-winning cameramen, move to Survivor locations every year to spend four months filming two seasons. In addition to getting paid, the show covers transportation, housing and food expenses for all crew members. Everyone is required to work six shifts a week, averaging 10-12 hours a day. Only four per cent of what is shot airs on TV.

“It’s really exciting to be part of something so big and popular,” said Chris. “It’s very much like a family. Jeff (Probst) always has an inspirational talk about how this is his family. He makes a note of knowing everyone by name and he’s really personable.”

Survivor takes several measures to keep contestants secluded during the filming process. They live in a locked down area away from the crew base camp, and are not allowed to communicate with crew members. Cameramen also have to turn their watches around while filming so contestants don’t know what time of day it is.

“There’s no interaction,” said Tim. “You’re basically a fly on the wall. You want to be invisible as possible so it’s natural reality. It’s pretty accurate what you see on TV.”

Chris said one thing cameras can’t capture is how bad contestants smell, adding “you can smell them coming.”

“Salt water doesn’t clean them,” said Robyn. “It looks really tough. They’re very hungry. It’s a lot of mental games and they get paranoid thinking so many different scenarios.”

Just Posted

Stellar Haze offers up ‘organic rock’ at Memorial Park

Trio hitting the stage for their first live performance this Friday

RCMP, ERT attending incident at Cheam First Nation

Few details are available about the incident, which saw more than a dozen police cars attend

Chiefs kick off exhibition pre-season stint at Hope Arena

Catch the Chilliwack Chiefs on the ice as they prepare for fresh season

Annual Peters family ball tournament draws a dozen teams to Hope ball diamonds

Recently upgraded field at the Schkam reserve the backdrop for this year’s event

Kent quarry opposition receives federal support

Green Party leader Elizabeth May wrote to the provincial government to oppose the quarry application

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read