July 01, 2014 01:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
20 days. 20 webisodes. 13 crew members. More than 4,000 miles. Endless possibilities. That’s the basics of “Wayfaring” — a first-of-its-kind Web series. Malcolm Freberg, who competed on Survivor: Philippines and Survivor: Caramoan, is hosting this epic journey which, puts him at the whim of America’s decisions. Earlier today (July 1), Malcolm and his crew left Los Angeles for their first destination. And so the journey begins. But how does it all work and how can YOU have a vote in what Malcolm does on this raucous road trip? In an exclusive one-on-one chat with Malcolm, he explains all that “Wayfaring” has to offer from its concept to viewer interactivity. Skydiving? Sure. Will he be naked? Maybe. Getting a tattoo? Will any other former Survivor castaways be involved? Dive in for the full interview to find out…
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Tell us about “Wayfaring.”
Malcolm Freberg: The plan was to play Survivor, win Survivor, buy a bar and disappear into Mexico with a million dollars. I didn’t end up winning Survivor, but I was fortunate enough to become popular off the show. I got a lot of offers to do travel shows. A lot of those shows involved me being shirtless or naked or starving and miserable because those TV producers are uncreative types. Then, I was approached by a couple producers who wanted to do something based on the idea with interactivity with the audience. It wasn’t just a popularity contest like some shows, but where viewers can dictate the action. It’s a choose-your-own adventure concept. ”Wayfaring” is our 20-day road trip. We’re doing a loop road trip of the country. Everywhere we go and everything we do will be left up to a live audience vote using social media. Every day, a new video will be posted to the Wayfaring site in a short webisode that shows everything we’re doing.
NOTE: Their first location was selected by voters on July 1, as Malcolm reveals is the video below:
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How did the “Wayfaring” producers find you?
Malcolm Freberg: One of them was from the Survivor crew. I ran into her on the street, we got talking and she said they had an idea. We met for coffee, started spitballing ideas, but we all kind of got it right away. I was involved with the creative from the start, but I can’t take credit for the original idea. It was a mult-month process after the first meeting and we’ve been working on this for the past few months nonstop.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What exactly is the voting process like?
Malcolm Freberg: We’ll announce a poll via Twitter giving the audience options as to where we’ll go the next day. We won’t even know where we’re going to drive until hours before we leave. We’ll vote using hashtags. We have a social media partner called Zoomph that will compile hashtags across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If it’s the Grand Canyon or Phoenix, you’ll vote using #GrandCanyon or #Phoenix @WayfaringLive.
Follow the @WayfaringLive tweets to cast your votes:
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Who is deciding the options for viewers to vote on?
Malcolm Freberg: Months of planning has gone into this and the team of producers have planned most of the legs of the journey and will present the options to the audience. Outside of the initial options, it’s completely up to audience control. We can’t leave it completely open-ended because there’s no way to plan a TV production like that. That’s where the choose-your-own-adventure style comes in. Back in the day, you’d be reading a “Goosebumps” book and it would give you a couple of options on the bottom. We have to select the options so we have some sort of plan moving forward. We do not have any clue what the audience is gonna choose each time. We just have to be ready for anything the audience throws at us.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How will the journey work?
Malcolm Freberg: We start in LA and the first half of the journey is going to be through the southern United States. The first day we’re gonna end up in Arizona somewhere. From what I understand, it’s going to be national park-type tour or it’s gonna be a ghost town with a very eccentric mayor in charge (laughs). … There’s a lot of other votes throughout the day. It’s not just destinations and major activities. There is probably going to be three or four polls announced each day through the “Wayfaring” Twitter account and you’ll get to vote on the much more minutia parts of the episode. What does Malcolm have to wear? What does Malcolm have to drink? We’re at a gas station, Malcolm has to start a conversation with the attendant. Is he going to talk about communism or flirt with her? A lot of these options, not just destinations, are up to the audience vote.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How many miles do you think this will take you?
Malcolm Freberg: We’ve had to do some calculations so we can budget for gas. My understanding is that it looks like more than 4,000 miles.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: You had a Kickstarter campaign (watch video above) with a goal of raising $9,000. Where did that number come from?
Malcolm Freberg: The number came up because we got initial private funding that wasn’t enough to cover once we started doing the math. We went through the planning process and realized we needed a little more to go over the top. To do that with Kickstarter, it’s all driven by social media – the entire theme of the show. We can’t thank the public for their support because we couldn’t have done this without them. That money goes toward the bare essentials of living, gas and other things that were not covered in our initial investment.
Follow Malcolm’s tweets as he travels across the country:
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What is the most nerve-wracking element for you?
Malcolm Freberg: There’s a fun answer and a terrifying answer. The fun answer, is not knowing what the audience will choose. Knowing that on occasion they’re gonna have the option to torture me. Knowing our producers are planning things that are specifically designed to make me squirm, squeal and be uncomfortable. The actual terrifying part is being on the road for three weeks with an indie crew. We’re going to be eating raw materials and sleeping in sleeping bags a lot of the time. There’s a lot of unknown factors that might come in from a logistical standpoint and physical health. I have some experience surviving the elements, but I’m actually worried about the crew enduring some of the elements.
Read my two previous interviews with Malcolm:
- Red carpet finale interview for Survivor: Philippines
- Exit interview for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans Vs. Favorites
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Are you concerned about social media trolls looking for the most extreme things for you to do? Is there anything off limits here?
Malcolm Freberg: As far as limits, one of the nice benefits of our choose-your-own adventure format is that we’re presenting the options. We can’t get too trolled by the internet because it’s still within the confines of what we present. Now, what we present is limited by what I said I wouldn’t do. The only thing I said I wouldn’t do is anything permanently scarring to the body. No tattoos or brandings or anything like that. Emotional scarring is fine, but physical scarring is not. The other thing, we don’t want to be “Jackass.” We don’t want to be very slapstick. We don’t want to be stupid, trashy reality TV. We want it to be intelligent. We want to show parts of the country. We’re doing charity work one day along the way. We want a more sincere, intelligent show than necessarily some of what you see on TV these days.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: So there won’t be any skydiving naked?
Malcolm Freberg: Skydiving? Yes. Maybe not naked. I would be worried the parachute might catch on something important.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: It does seem a lot of your female fans would love to see a situation in which you have to take your clothes off, Malcolm.
Malcolm Freberg: I’m not saying that won’t necessarily be an option occasionally, but the overall feel of the show should be more intelligent than sort of “Jackass” and MTV.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How will these webisodes of “Wayfaring” be constructed? Will it be censored?
Malcolm Freberg: Our episodes will be around 8-12 minutes. As far as censorship, we recently decided we are going to keep in PG-13. Don’t get me wrong, I have a raunchy sense of humor and I swear like a sailor, but we’ll be keeping it in check a little bit. We’ve partnered with AOL, who will also be hosting the episodes on their site. These episodes will be structured as the narration of the day. The big draw is the destination and whatever the activity is each becomes the meat of the episode.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: I know you have a very tight relationship with several former Survivor contestants — especially Denise Stapley. Have any reached out to you in hopes of being a part of a “Wayfaring” webisode?
Malcolm Freberg: There’s a lot of past Survivor contestants who are pulling hard for me to visit their hometown. Denise, she’s among them. I’ve actually visited Denise in Iowa unrelated to any Survivor or “Wayfaring” purpose. It’s just to see them because they are some of my favorite people on the planet. They really are pulling hard for us to visit Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The problem is, I’m not sure how captivating Cedar Rapids would be to our audience. There’s not much going on in that small, yet lovely town.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How does doing something like “Wayfaring” impact your personal life?
Malcolm Freberg: One of the romantic ideals is not allowing myself to be tied down. I don’t have a pet. I’ve had girlfriends, but I don’t right now. I have a motorcycle instead of a car. I have an apartment I can ditch at any time. I do enjoy my freedom and it’s going to be fun when we’re out on the road this summer.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How can viewers make last-minute suggestions that impact your trip?
Malcolm Freberg: If you know that we’re coming to our town, you can get at us on Twitter @WayfaringLive. We will be constantly watching for ways to integrate new ideas. If you have a great suggestions, we will get a hold of you and go to it. Base locations are the big decisions each day. There’s not too much wiggle room between those. But we do (have wiggle room) when we get there.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Is there any specific place you want to go on this journey?
Malcolm Freberg: As much as being on Survivor has kind of given me a public persona of being well-traveled, I haven’t seen much of the country. There’s actually large chunks of the country I’m actually excited to see. I’ve never driven through the Midwest through cornfields and stuff like that. There’s no way it’s as boring as everybody says. We’ll find something fun to do. I’ve never been to Chicago in my entire life. I believe it’s on the itinerary. I’ve never been to Utah, and while the idea of Mormons scares me a fair amount, I am excited to see that part too.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What kind of music is on your playlist for this trip?
Malcolm Freberg: Kelly Clarkson, nonstop (laughs). I’m imagining that whoever is driving that day gets to decide. That’s how it worked in my family.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What does your family think of you doing “Wayfaring” now?
Malcolm Freberg: They’re mostly supportive. They said the same thing to me as they did when I started Survivor: “Just don’t embarrass the Freberg name.” I’m sure they’re terrified right about now because they don’t know what’s gonna happen on this road trip; very concerned that something embarrassing will happen. If I get hurt or something, they know I can handle myself. It’s more that I don’t bring any shame on the family name.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Lastly, I have to know… Would you ever do Survivor again?
Malcolm Freberg: I change my mind on that half a dozen times a day. Whatever mood I tend to be in dictates my answer. I was a huge fan of the show. It was always a dream to do it. Although I didn’t win, I was reasonably successful and came out of it still able to hold my head up high. Sometimes it feels right to cut your losses and take the money and run. On the other hand, I didn’t make the money I wanted. I’m a competitive guy. I still have fire to win the game. Even talking to you about it right now, I changed my mind twice. It’s very up in the air for the future.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: All right, Malcolm. Good luck with this journey. I can’t wait to chat with you about it when you’re back from it all.
Malcolm Freberg: Thanks! We will be in touch.
Are you excited for the “Wayfaring” adventure? Will you be watching? What outrageous task do you want to see Malcolm do? Sound off and leave a comment in the section below.
(Photos: Diana Ragland & CBS)