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Outlast: Behind the Scenes | RECOIL OFFGRID

From classics like Survivorman to long-running series like Alone, we have enjoyed many TV shows within the broader survival genre. Whether they lean more toward hard-core realism or entertainment value, there’s almost at all times something precious we are able to glean from the comfort of our couch — even when it’s just “I’m never going to make the identical dumb mistake that person did.” The latest addition to this genre, Netflix’s Outlast, incorporates a competitive group dynamic that is paying homage to Lord of the Flies. The series’ tagline, “the enemy is not Mother Nature, it’s human nature,” attests to this fact.

We spoke with series Executive Producer Grant Kahler regarding the intricacies of planning Outlast, keeping the contestants and crew secure, and what it takes to survive within the Alaskan wilderness. If you are not already acquainted with the show, you’ll be able to watch it on Netflix now. Otherwise, read on for our exclusive Q&A with Kahler. And for individuals who have not finished the series, don’t fret, it doesn’t contain any spoilers.

Scenic photo of the landscape Outlast contestants had to compete in.

Above: The rugged Alaskan wilderness served because the setting for this eight-episode series.

Behind the Scenes of Outlast

RECOIL OFFGRID: Tell us a little bit bit about yourself and the way you got into TV/movie production.

Grant Kahler: Being in TV production is solely something I at all times desired to do. After college I moved to New York, and my first job was in TV production on a television show called Ed for NBC. I worked in every aspect of production, from directing to accounting, on projects from Bruckheimer movies to independent music videos, and eventually landed in documentary and unscripted TV production.

What exactly does an executive producer do?

There’s an enormous range of responsibilities that an executive producer is perhaps chargeable for — from simply helping with the event of a show to physically being in the sector and making the show. My role on Outlast was a little bit of each. I created the format in addition to oversaw production from creative to logistics.

Photo of the support team for the Neflix TV series.

Above: Executive Producer Grant Kahler said capturing all of the motion in such a distant setting was each difficult and rewarding.

How did you get into survival reality shows, and what do you’re thinking that the draw is for the audience in this sort of program?

I used to be originally drawn to any such programming because I simply loved the environments we might shoot them in. I loved being deep within the jungles of Southeast Asia or up within the mountains of Alaska. I even have lived in big cities most of my life, so the chance to get to go to those far-out places has at all times been a really special perk of the job for me.

And I feel that can also be a part of the reply to the second a part of the query — I think that’s partly why people like to look at these shows. It’s in these beautiful places where we get to look at people as we take them back to the fundamentals of human survival. Our society and technology has evolved so incredibly rapidly that I feel it’s nice to see what life is like after we strip ourselves of those things — each physically and socially.

And there’s at all times that query that a viewer asks themselves, “Could I do it?”

Outlast. (L to R) Paul Preece and Nick Radner in Episode 1 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Logistically, what form of hurdles do you face putting a show like this together?

I make these shows incredibly difficult on myself and my crew because location is at all times so necessary to me. With these extremely distant locations, often comes massive logistical challenges. But ultimately, I feel it’s value it. It makes the experience more real for the forged, which regularly translates right into a higher show.

I’d say the number-one logistical challenge is transportation. I can’t count the variety of times we’ve got needed to dig trucks out of ditches, race a rising tide to get to a destination, hike around washed-out roads, dig vehicles out of snow, or drag beached boats back to the water. We are likely to film these shows in pretty extreme environments with little to no infrastructure, so transportation have to be reimagined each time in an effort to move crew and permit for emergency access and evacuation.

Outlast. Jill Ashock in Episode 5 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

What form of off-set or behind-the-scenes safety precautions are there for the contestants?

For Outlast, we at all times had medics and bear guards on standby within the event of an emergency. We needed to continually bear in mind that hypothermia or a bear mauling, amongst many other things, were very real possibilities. So, we employed people to have the option to handle those situations.

What form of support do you utilize, when it comes to real-world survival experts, to conceptualize or guide the show through production?

I at all times usher in experts to assist determine the small print of a show. On this one, for instance, we hired an ex SBS operative (UK Special Forces) who has special jungle warfare, SERE and combat medicine training, amongst many other things. He’s an authority in all things survival, from each his military experience to non-public interest, so I leaned on him so much to assist with the logistics and a few creative decisions.

On Outlast, we were lucky to have a Native American village by the name of Hoonah about 30 miles from our location. We employed them to assist with safety consultation, plant and animal questions, logistical support and nearly every little thing else you’ll be able to imagine. We couldn’t have pulled this off without the people of Hoonah.

Outlast. Justin Court in Episode 3 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

What do you search for in an Outlast contestant, and the way do you discover them?

This is tough to reply since it’s never one specific thing. Some people might need a singular skillset while others might simply have an interesting backstory. For shows like this, the one real requirement is that they’ve some sort of intensive outdoor experience. These are hard-core environments we’re putting people into, so for the sake of safety, they should on the very least know what they is perhaps getting themselves into.

We typically find forged through online forums, social media, and even outdoor gatherings. Oftentimes, it’s word of mouth that finally ends up getting the applying to the appropriate people.

Outlast. (L to R) Amber Asay, Jill Ashock and Justin Court in Episode 3 of Outlast. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Above: As a results of the show’s positive reception, Netflix has confirmed that it’ll be coming back for season two in the longer term.

Based in your experience/remark, what qualities does a successful contestant have?

At the top of the day, irrespective of what the format is, a successful contestant goes to be incredibly expert in all things outdoors. All of the psychological, sociological, and strategic benefits exit the window if someone doesn’t have basic skills. Beyond that, they have to be patient. People often don’t understand how difficult these shows may be to get through. Patience may be every little thing — something most individuals just don’t have anymore.

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