The producers came up with twists and challenges that will both surprise and entertain the audience and the castaways.
Series Director Leroux Botha and Executive Producer Handrie Basson talk about the local identity of the making of Survivor SA.
Survivor is an international television franchise. Does Survivor South Africa get any support from CBS’s Survivor?
The format holders of Survivor, Banijay Rights, facilitate and guide all the Survivor versions from around the globe. Producers get to share ideas, format twists and general producing tips with each other via Banijay. Banijay also send a representative to each Survivor production to see how the show is being produced and filmed and the fly-in producer shares insights, ideas and gives guidance during the production. CBS’s Survivor is one of the international versions of Survivor produced around the world and their ideas and executions do form part of the information shared by Banijay.
What are the do’s and don’ts?
Survivor is such an iconic show. For us, we want to stick to the format as closely as possible and come up with twists and challenges that will both surprise and entertain the audience and the castaways. We also work with new ideas and twists from other territories. It is important to honour the sacred format elements of the series, but equally important to keep things fresh for the castaways and the viewers.
What gives Survivor South Africa its unique flavour?
We have such diversity in our nation and therefore our casting process allows us to uncover really memorable characters. We are brave and adventurous, yet we have a reconciliatory spirit that compels us to work together in the face of adversity. This aspect gets tested in Survivor all the time. You have to work together as a tribe to advance in the game, but you also have to play an individual game throughout.
We’re pretty sure this is the first time we’re hearing this Survivor theme song (on Survivor South Africa: Philippines). Can you please comment?
Survivor SA’s new theme is from a new library that we have acquired from Banijay. The theme will be distributed to other territories as well, but Survivor SA is the first one to be using it. Rights to “Ancient Voices” by Russ Landau (the very recognisable theme from the US version) lies with CBS, and not with Banijay, so it wasn’t available to us.
Do the producers watch a lot of Survivor before filming a new season of Survivor South Africa?
A lot. We are very aware of what is going on in most versions of Survivor around the world and it does inform us where the format is heading and what works and doesn’t work.
How big was the crew working on the first season of Survivor South Africa, compared to the sixth season?
The first season of Survivor SA saw a crew of 31 South Africans work on the show, but the show was shot with several other countries, who shared tribal council and challenges. In season 6, we had almost 300 crew members, both South African and Filipino.
Do members of the South African crew also work on the American version (or other international versions) of the series?
Yes! Many members of the Camera & Audio Department are South Africans and some Filipino’s have also worked on the US version. The Art Department also featured quite a few Filipino crew who brought their expertise from working on the US version to our production. It’s really great to chat to these guys and pick their brains about how the US shoots Survivor and find a way for us to match the output with our resources.