I hope as you watch each episode of Shawn Michaels MacMillan River Adventures that you get a true feel for the joy, excitement, fun and friendship that exists between everyone involved with MacMillan River Adventures. What you see most weeks is Shawn Michaels and I in some cool location sharing a hunting adventure together. Occasionally, you get a glimpse of our cameraman, Josh, and on one occasion this year you saw our producer, Tim Lamar, and the man behind the MRA music, my son Zach Mark, on a fishing trip. What you see on the show is only a tip of the iceberg as far as what really goes on in order for us to bring you these adventures every week.
Certainly, there is a fair amount of hard work that goes into the planning of each adventure and that includes dealing with outfitters, lining a place up to hunt if we are doing it ourselves, coordinating travel arrangements, etc. There is also a business end of the television show, and that’s obtaining and ultimately dealing with each of our sponsors. Fortunately, Shawn and I have been blessed with the most awesome sponsors in this business. Once a business relationship is formed, we have been lucky that it turns into a personal/friendship-type relationship thereafter. There is also dealing with the Outdoor Channel and that presents its own unique dynamic which I won’t get into here. Lastly, once all of the shows have been filmed, long hours are devoted to the storytelling part of the adventures and just the tedious work of editing each episode. Every step along the way, the interaction among our team is fun!
The time Shawn, Josh and I spend on the road is like school kids going on a field trip. If a camera was actually filming the three of us as we traversed airports, ate at restaurants, and simply drove down the highway on our way to or from an adventure, it would be an incredible reality show in its own right. As Willie Nelson once sang, “I can’t wait to get on the road again!” is really a true sentiment this time of year. We are just now heading out to film our 2015 adventures, and as I pack gear, sight-in rifles and shoot my bow, I’m already excited because I know the minute Shawn and I get in the same room together, the laughter will begin.
Although Shawn can be a thoughtful man, he is a funny human being! Where my humor is more outgoing and outrageous, Shawn’s sense of humor is more dry, and he is incredibly witty. If you saw the show a few weeks ago where I was complaining about my Remington shotgun kicking up and hitting my jaw and was going to leave me with a painful, swollen jaw, Shawn simply chimed in “Maybe you shouldn’t use it for a while!” as he walked across the screen. I don’t care who you are – that’s funny! That kind of stuff goes on and on whether the cameras are rolling or not.
Then when you add Josh to the mix, things can even get crazier. Josh has so many sayings that we actually call them “Joshisms.” Such as, “I’m not mad at you,” “That’s gonna leave a mark,” “Shit’ll buff out,” “Heard that!,” etc. When we’re in the field, when things are supposed to be the most serious, Josh will calmly and deadpanned say “Shoot that one,” even if it’s clearly an animal that Shawn and I would not shoot. Or, like the one time when we were in a tree stand and I dropped my rangefinder on to the metal platform making a huge clank scaring a buck off, Josh simply said “That’s a pretty natural noise in the woods!”
Additionally, the time we spend in the edit suite with all of us including our producer, Tim Lamar, and my son, Zach, dealing with music issues, the horsing around never stops either. There will be times when Tim will very seriously call me into the edit suite to look at a piece of video that he’s editing only to show something that is so silly or nasty, we could never air it on the television show. But, he shows it fully edited as if it’s something he’s ready to send to the Outdoor Channel. Of course, he and Josh would be in on the joke, but Shawn and I are led to believe they are serious. Or, Zach will give us a track of music like it’s something we would use on the show that sounds like something that should be used in the movie “Deliverance!” Of course, no one would ever use the music on the show, but they constantly play jokes on Shawn and I like that which makes every step of the process fun.
At the end of the year, the whole team gets together in Las Vegas partially to meet with our sponsors, partially to attend the SHOT Show/Golden Moose Awards, but mostly for us all to get together and completely relax and reflect on last year’s adventures and look forward to the next year’s adventures. Most people that spend as much time together as we do wouldn’t look forward to vacationing with the same people they work with every week. However, Team MRA not only looks forward to working together every week on camera, but looks forward to the travel and the difficulty that goes into putting the show together as well as relaxing and vacationing together as friends when we’re not filming Shawn Michaels MacMillan River Adventures.
In short, the laughter and passion you see on the show is genuine. In fact, Shawn and I have often commented that no matter how good of a job Josh does filming and Tim does producing, it’s impossible for us to show just how special the camaraderie is with the entire MRA team. Believe me when I tell you there is nothing more fun, rewarding and nothing I’d rather be doing than being part of Team MRA!