Chapter 7 The Slyness Of The Production Team
As Zac stepped out of the car, the live chat was flooded with comments. One viewer wrote, ‘I can’t believe they managed to get Zeus on the show! This production team is impressive.’ ‘No wonder he’s one of the surprise guests. He’s definitely the showstopper.’ ‘Of course, he’s the showstopper! Both Mr. Foster and Zeus have millions of fans, you know.’ ‘Thumbs up to the production team for getting our dear Zachy on the show! He’s not a fan of self-promotion, actually.’ Another viewer commented, ‘Ahem! Considering Zachy’s fussy and spoiled personality, I seriously doubt he can adapt to this place and this show.’ ‘That seems impossible. What should I do? I suddenly feel like seeing him do something embarrassing.’ ‘Haha! Same here.’
‘It seems challenging to make Zeus fend for himself in a place like this.’ ‘I wonder if there’ll be team challenges or something similar after this. If there are, I can’t help but feel sorry for Zachy’s teammates.’ ‘If that happens, I’d sympathize with his teammates, too.’ The fans of the other guests, as well as casual viewers of the live stream, were slightly taken aback by the comments left by Zac’s fans. At the same time, they couldn’t help but feel that his fan community was eccentric… Everyone greeted Zac as he walked towards them. Even though Aaron didn’t get along with Zac, he wouldn’t publicly show hostility towards anyone on the air.
Therefore, he said hello to the man. With all the guests present, Jonah Chapman, the show’s director, looked at everyone and began speaking, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the live reality show, Starting from Scratch. Now, let me tell you all about what’s planned next. You’ll be staying here for three weeks, during which time your daily lives will be live-streamed for the audience. We’ll provide you with tools, kitchenware, and a roof over your heads, but everything else is your responsibility.” Aaron had never participated in a reality show like this before and couldn’t help but ask, “How are we responsible for that? Can we use our own money?” Jonah gave him a look as if to say, ‘How can you be so naive?’ He replied, “You can’t use your own money, of course. Your phones will also be confiscated for the time being, though we’ll provide each of you with a new one.” Then, he continued with a shrug. “As for how you’re going to live in the next few weeks, I don’t know. It’s up to you.” Curious, Eric asked, “What tools will you guys provide, then?” He had participated in a survival-themed reality show before, where participants were only allowed to bring three items with them while everything else was not provided. Jonah replied, “We’ll provide you with as many tools as possible as long as you need them.” This show was not about pranks, making it different from other variety shows. He added, “For instance, if you need to catch fish, we can provide you with fishing nets or fishing rods. If you want to chop firewood, we can provide axes and similar tools. Starting from Scratch is mostly about showing how you live when you have no money.” Aaron was left speechless.
“How are we going to live if we have no money? What can we use to buy food and drinks?” After a moment of thought, he asked, “Will you assign tasks that we can complete to earn rewards?” Before coming here, he had watched two similar reality shows where guests had to either complete tasks assigned by the production team to earn rewards or do labor in exchange for cash. Jonah replied with a smile, “No, we won’t assign any tasks to you guys during these three weeks, much less interfere with what you do. You can live however you like.” He then suggested, “As for food and drink, you can find something to trade with the villagers for food. Alternatively, you can ask them if they need any help and exchange your labor for something to eat.” In other similar reality shows, the production teams would usually assign tasks for the guests to complete. However, this show’s production team wanted something new, so they were letting the guests have free rein to do whatever they wanted in the first episode. After all, this was a live show, and there might be more excitement this way. If the response wasn’t great, they would assign tasks in the next episode. In an instant, the guests understood what he meant. Jonah then had his assistant bring eight password-protected boxes over, each labeled with a guest’s name. “Alright, please hand in your phones for now,” he instructed. “Place your phones in the corresponding boxes. The initial password is six zeros, but you can set your own passwords. After this episode is over, you can open the boxes and retrieve your phones.” This was to safeguard the privacy of the show’s guests and make sure that no one from the production team could access their phones without their knowledge. Zac asked in puzzlement, “Since you’re providing us with new cell phones, why can’t we use our own?” Jonah explained, “It’s because the phones we’re giving you have been set up by professional technicians so that you can’t download any software or browse the internet on them.” He continued, “Each new phone already has a temporary messaging app installed, on which the production team has added everyone else to your list of contacts and created a group chat exclusively for the eight of you, making it easy for you to contact one another.” This was also to prevent any guest from adding another guest on their communication apps and harassing them with unwanted calls and messages after the show’s conclusion.
Upon hearing his explanation, the guests understood his intentions. The purpose of this was to prevent them from having the chance to watch how they appeared on-air and the viewers’ response during the filming of the show. However, this had already been discussed and agreed upon during the initial negotiations, and they had only signed the agreement after agreeing to this condition, so all of them raised no objections at that moment. Following the production team’s instructions, they placed their phones in the boxes and set their passwords while avoiding the camera. After that, each guest received a new cell phone provided by one of the sponsoring brands. Zac unlocked his phone and inspected it, complaining, “This phone can’t be used for anything else other than making phone calls, sending messages, and navigation!” We’re going to be bored to death in the next few weeks! Jonah replied with a smile, “We want you to experience life without digital entertainment. It’s all about returning to simplicity, isn’t it?” Zac was rendered speechless. Suddenly, he regretted listening to his talent agent’s nonsense and participating in this variety show. Jonah inquired, “Do you have any other questions? If not, let’s proceed to the place where you’ll be staying.” The guests shook their heads in response. “No, we don’t have any more questions.” The director then led everyone towards a mountain path. “The place you’ll be staying is up on the mountain. The path is not easy to navigate, so please be cautious.” Upon realizing that they not only had to walk on their own but also tackle the mountain path, Jodie’s expression changed. She was dressed inappropriately for hiking in the mountains. Before coming here, Titus had advised her to dress up like a little fairy to create the impression of an angel when the viewers first saw her. That’s why she dressed this way, but she never expected the reality show to be set in the mountains. How cunning of the production team to not inform me beforehand! Naturally, she wouldn’t voice her complaints in front of the viewers watching the live stream. Instead, she followed everyone, holding up her dress as she walked. It was only when they were walking uphill on a dirt road that she pretended to stumble and leaned towards Aaron, who was walking beside her.
Immediately, he reached out to support her and asked with concern, “Jo, are you okay?” She shook her head. “I’m fine. It’s just that the shoes I’m wearing are not suitable for hiking in the mountains.” He frowned and asked Jonah, “Mr. Chapman, can’t we drive to the village?” Jonah replied, “The mountain path up there is too narrow and steep for cars.” Jodie’s heart skipped a beat upon hearing this. She didn’t want to hike uphill in five-inch high heels, nor could she do it. However, she couldn’t let it show, so she gave Aaron a determined smile and said, “It’s okay, Aaron.
I’m fine. Let’s keep walking.” Based on his concern for her, she was certain he wouldn’t let her continue walking. And indeed, he responded with a disapproving look, “Walking uphill in these shoes will definitely be too much for your feet.” How could his dear sister hike on a mountain path wearing high heels? Moreover, her dress was so long that someone might accidentally step on it at any moment. He himself was wearing flat leather shoes and a suit, yet he felt uncomfortable walking in them!