Reality television shows don’t just happen. A lot of coordination and planning goes on behind the scenes to make everything look effortless once the cameras roll.
Those challenges were tougher than most for Warren native Julie Brothers, who was a production coordinator on the second season of “Ice Cold Gold,” which premieres tonight on Animal Planet.
The series chronicles the efforts of a team of miners who are some of the first Americans allowed to prospect for precious metals and gems in Greenland. The show follows them to parts of the country where “humans never have set foot before,” according to the website.
Greenland has the lowest population density in the world with 56,000 people living on more than 836,000 square miles. By comparison the state of Ohio has 11.5 million people living on less than 41,000 square acres.
In a telephone interview from the New York offices of Moxie Pictures, which produces the show, Brothers said the remote locations and sparse population created some unique challenges.
“If we need a rental car, in Greenland there are only two places that rent cars,” Brothers said. “You’re kind of left up to what Greenland has to provide. It’s not having many source materials and still trying to make things work.”
Brothers, who graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 2005, has been working at Moxie since 2010. She was asked to research Greenland while working as a receptionist for the company. “Ice Cold Gold” is the first television series developed by the company, and for the the first season Brothers worked on arranging travel and other aspects from New York. Trying to get from the U.S. to Greenland takes about 36 hours because of all the connecting flights and layovers required.
“When they got the greenlight for the second season, I had kind of proven myself a little bit and asked if it would be possible to go to Greenland, and both of my bosses agreed,” she said.
Brothers spent two months in Greenland last year from July to September. She originally thought she would be a production assistant, but she was promoted to production coordinator her first week there.
Even though it was summertime in Greenland, temperatures peaked at about 60 degrees.
“At the base camp later on in the season, it was quite chilly at night, sleeping in a tent with handwarmers at your feet,” she said.
And because the country is so far north, it was daylight as much as 22 hours a day when the crew was filming.
“The first challenge for everyone was overcoming some sort of insomnia,” Brothers said. “You’re working in the office at midnight, but it seems like it’s 4 p.m. outside.”
With a crew of nearly 30 people, “Ice Cold Gold” is the largest production ever to shoot in Greenland, which attracted plenty of attention in the country.
“In season two we touch on some of the Greenlandic traditions and involve more locals in the taping,” Brothers said. “We wouldn’t be able to produce the show without the help of the locals.
Taping was completed months ago and the first episode airs at 10 p.m. on the cable channel, but Brothers said she still is working on the second season, doing research and looking for “interesting factoids” that will be added to the episodes.
Brothers, who said she still gets back home two or three times a year, is doing the kind of work she dreamed of after graduating from the University of Mt. Union.
“I like to make things happen for other people, and that sums up what production is all about,” she said. “I have no interest to be in front of the camera, no interest in running the camera. I want to take all those aspects, pulling together all of the pieces to make it happen.”