Keeping It ‘Real’ In Reality TV

Photo by Pete Berg
By Alex Mikus, Assistant Camera – The Incredible Dr. Pol

Some days we laugh. Some days we cry. Watching someone lose their closest furry friend is certainly not easy. As a Production Assistant on ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ you are exposed to just about everything. Not only do we deal with the aspects of the job that are actually in the official job description, like hounding people for personal releases, driving across the map, and helping out every single member of the crew, but we are also in for a much harder job than most production gigs.

When a client shows up to Dr. Pol’s clinic with their sick animals, a lot of the time we are the ones who ask if they are alright being on camera, and to sign a release saying that it’s alright if we televise possibly one of the most emotional times of their lives on national television. Some of the time this is even when they are rushing into the clinic with their sick animals in their arms, tears running down their face because their dog has just been hit by a car. Not really something you learn in school. For this very reason, in my backpack along with my set gear I carry tissues as well. It’s a small offering but when a person is upset and someone offers them a tissue it’s more than just a paper product. It’s a sign of respect and understanding. A lot of people try to hide their tears but offering them a tissue is like saying, “it’s ok to be sad. Let it out. We are here for you.” And we are.

I think the human element is often lost or taken advantage of on most “reality” shows, but on ‘Dr. Pol’ we aim to make each episode a documentary and stay true to the events and the people who make what we do possible, every day. So while viewers only see a handful of random farm towns in Central Michigan, we see a whole community letting us into their homes and personal lives.

You may think that given the chance you would love to be featured on ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ because you’re such a big fan, but until you live it it’s hard to recognize how much of their personal lives people put on the line to make this the show that it is. It’s always easy to want to be on TV, but that want is changed once there is an actual camera staring at you in the face on one of your toughest days. So, thank you Mid-Michigan for making us feel at home and allowing us into your lives. It’s been a great ride.

Animals Come First