FOR more than 10 hours each day, Dean Parker is in the midst of yelling and shouted orders, freezing waters and mud, fear and pain.
He is one of 22 editors cutting the hit reality television series, SAS Australia.
Unlike the 17 celebrity "recruits" who are being pushed to their limits and beyond as they undertake a Special Forces selection course in the Snowy Mountains, Dean Parker can leave the tough military training behind in his home editing suite in Islington.
"I love it, but, after 10 to 14 hours of constant screaming and looking at physical challenges, living in Newcastle, and not too far away from the beach, I just get on my bike and go for a ride," Mr Parker explained. "Half an hour later, I'm refreshed and get back into it."
Dean Parker has about 35 years' experience as an editor, and for the past decade he has been helping shape popular reality TV shows, including MKR, X Factor, and House Rules.
But SAS Australia is unlike anything he has done before.
"It is so real, so raw, and I love the fact it isn't produced; it's not your typical reality show," Mr Parker said. "It is 100 per cent real. What you see on TV is basically a condensed version of what they've done during the shoot."
And the contestants, including swimmers James Magnussen and Shayna Jack, ironwoman Candice Warner, comedian Merrick Watts and Miss Universe Australia Erin McNaught, have to perform physically and mentally challenging tasks. As head instructor Ant Middleton tells the contestants, "You're all going to suffer."
For the first episode, Dean Parker edited a sequence where the "recruits" had to dive backwards out of a helicopter into water.
"Even to this day, when I look at that footage, I wince," he said. "I wouldn't do any of it, but particularly the drop."
One participant, Underbelly actor Firass Dirani, has said he has been made into the "villain" in the series. But Dean Parker said what viewers were watching was what happened in the field.
"No, it's not in the editing," he said. "When you hit 'play' and see what's been filmed, that's Firass."
Dean Parker said the "raw" approach of SAS Australia could change how reality TV was produced. He believed it could also change the public's view of celebrities.
The experience changed Dean Parker's view of at least one of the "recruits", convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, who featured in an interrogation scene he helped edit.
"I've got a different fondness for Schapelle, as a person," he said. "It was pretty brave of her to get up there and do that, regardless of what you think about her."
Dean Parker said being involved in SAS Australia ranked at "number one for me" in a long editing career.
"It's like cutting a feature film; there's action, there's comedy, there's heart, there's story," he said. "It's a great watch. And I think there's lessons in it for everybody."
During the series, "recruits" voluntarily withdraw, as the challenges mount. The editor is currently helping assemble the final episode, when the viewing public will find out which celebrities have passed the course. So who is there at the end?
"I cannot say," Dean Parker said, smiling. "Otherwise I'd have to 'withdraw' you from the course. Not voluntarily. By force!"
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Former Opal Aged Care managing director granted more than $900k in government grants
- Koala crisis: Chlamydia one of Aussie icon's biggest problems
- Bomb threat interrupts NSW HSC for the third day
- Health authorities investigating source of south-west Sydney COVID infection
- OPINION: 'They have rocks in their head': Brandy Hill/Seaham Action group slams quarry call