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Deadliest Catch camera crews throw their tapes overboard, and other insights from a on-ship producer

First-time Deadliest Catch producer Josh Silberman–who used to work on Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal before working on the Discovery Channel series–has been blogging about his experiences all season. In Diaries of a Greenhorn Producer, he reveals a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes information from his time on the boat.

Josh was one of the two Deadliest Catch crew members aboard the Cornelia Marie, captained by Phil Harris, and was assigned to the deck, while the other producer was in the wheelhouse.

The producers are awake and shooting when the crew is awake and fishing, which at least once was for 32 hours in a row.

Perhaps the most stunning thing he’s revealed so far is that the two producer/camera operators on each ship throw their 3,400 hundred hours of footage overboard, into the Bering Sea.

That sounds absurd, but it’s true: they’re picked up by the same boat that gets footage of the crab boats. Josh wrote, “We throw shot tapes overboard in waterproof cases to be retrieved by the Sea Star and sent back to L.A. … It’s a painful thing to watch all your hard work floating amongst the waves, but thanks to the Sea Star it has always worked out OK.”

If you’re a fan of the show, the series of blog posts, some written at sea, are worth a read for their insight.

He’s pretty honest about the topics he writes about, from the weather (“It’s as cold as a witch’s mammary in a brass brassiere”) to the crab boat crew members’ smoking (“I’ve never seen more people smoke more cigarettes in my life. [I’m not talking boxes here, I’m talking CASES, like the ones in Costco that you can’t reach because they’re at the top of the rack.] Capt. Phil is a chimney. It is ridiculous and I feel the cancer growing in my lungs.”)

And he reveals evertything from how to get grumpy deckhands to talk to the camera to his “crippling” seasickness that almost got him replaced to fitting in by actually working on the deck:

“As a Deadliest Catch producer on a boat, you walk a fine line between fisherman and producer. … I wanted to be 100 percent fisherman and 100 percent producer. This meant spending every moment with the guys on deck while they were working. I would shoot as much as I could, but occasionally I would put the camera down and help them on deck. … If I could learn how to be a greenhorn deckhand, it would help me as a greenhorn producer.”

Diaries of a Greenhorn Producer [Discovery]

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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