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Karp’s key responsibility when it came to the YouTube segment would be to conduct occasional interviews with Cook, where he would ask him anything from what meal he would eat if he could at that moment – to the deeper topics of how he was truly coping, or who he was missing from home. These candid interviews would feel intimate and at times vulnerable; the way in which they were spliced between clips of Cook gulping down a protein shake or re-joining the group after a casual half-marathon stint allowed viewers to feel as if they were sat right there in the sweltering jungle with him. They discreetly exposed Cook and the team’s emotional mindset at that given time – without having the vlogs lose their usual conversational and light-hearted tone. “You follow a formula when it comes to your shooting. You had to talk to Russ nonchalantly: you couldn’t drop the heavy questions on him every day. I would try every few days to sit down with him for a more in-depth conversation. “Often, I wouldn’t have a camera in my hand when those conversations would start. I would kind of put out the point I wanted to get to, and then I would start easing him into that. Then, when the time felt right, I would pull out a camera and start talking about the serious stuff.” Karp and the team, though wanting to take a lighter approach to the filming of the YouTube content, had a clear vision when it came to differentiating it to other creators on the platform.

A ROAD TO NOWHERE When faced with vast terrain and limited signal, the team had to find ways to stay connected to finish the project

“One of our initial decisions was that we didn’t want to be a travel channel,” explains Karp. “We wanted people to feel like they were on Project Africa with us; I think we succeeded in doing that. “We wanted people to feel like every three days, when they opened that episode and watched, they felt like they were transported for 20 minutes to the Congo, to Angola – wherever it may be.” Succeed in this they did, because when making your way through the lengthy Project Africa YouTube playlist, a pattern quickly begins to emerge. Viewers of course bear witness to the unbelievable feat of a man attempting to break all endurance barriers possible. But on top of this, every video weaves in the many incredible people, diverse cultures, villages and cities that the team encounter. These flashes of humanity threaded throughout the videos warmly splash colour and depth onto an already technicoloured canvas. “People were such a massive part of our journey – of our personal journeys and the mission as a whole. To leave out that from the videos would have been to leave out a third of the story entirely. The amount we learnt about people and the kind of love that we received throughout the mission – and the respect and the time they gave us – you can’t just leave that out. That is imperative to create the full circle of the story.”



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