E3 2010: Interview with Deadliest Catch’s Captain Sig Hansen

Russ Pitts | 24 Jun 2010 18:03
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TE: That's why they want you to do it in the first place. They want you in it.

Sig: Right. They want us in it, but they also want you to just read by a script and to me that's very boring. If you don't put your personality into it, especially with this opportunity to make another one better, make it funner, make it more real. You gotta be real. Every line they gave us - different.

TE: Was there any point where they were trying to get the fishing or the running of the boat down - was there anything they just had wrong? Were they trying to tell you something about fishing for crab and were you like "I don't think so?"

Sig: Not really, I think they got the gist of it. If I had 100 percent control, and I said: "this is how the game's gonna be," since I'm so biased, I think that it would be too hardcore. I don't think people could play well and have fun, it'd be too hardcore.

What I've learned over meeting all these different people - you feel like an octopus everybody's pulling - what I've learned is that you've got to find that happy medium - you've got to make it playable, not just for the hardcore people but for kids of all ages. That's where you got to step back and say "OK, he's the expert, I'm not." I can try to make it good as much as I want, but you got to have that gray area because otherwise it will only appeal to such a small amount of people, there's no point in it.

TE: You and your fellow captains might enjoy playing it, but -

Sig: Yeah, but we'd go hardcore.

TE: Do you play any games?

Sig: I'm not much of a game player. When we did the first one, I did it strictly because I thought we were getting so much feedback on our website. To me, all the questions that they were asking were questions that were like "Why don't you do it yourself?" My daughters were playing videogames and I thought, shit, how hard can it be? Make a game, and then they can do it themselves. A lot of the questions relate to what they can learn from the game or experience, let's call it. On a different level. On a land-lubber's level.

TE: It's kind of like watching the show. To me that's what is interesting about the show is that I'll never be on a boat like that in the Bering Sea but it's cool to see what you guys go through. It adds another layer to my reality to know that you guys are out there doing that.

Sig: People appreciate their realities because of it. I can't tell you how many times people have said I'll never complain about my job again. Or I'll never bitch when it's cold. Or I'll never complain about the price of seafood. It's brought awareness on a lot of different levels.

TE: What do you get out of the show?

Sig: The first year we did it, it was just going to be a three-part deal, and done. It just kept snowballing. Now, I'm trying to catch up to what I'm getting out of it. I can't walk down the street without someone saying "Hey, you're that guy. That's Captain Sig."

In reality, I've seen it impact our fisheries, I've seen it change politically for a lot of fisheries. Literally, it changed the way the fisherman and the Coast Guard co-exist together. Literally, that show has changed all of that. It used to be really bad.

The political side of the fisheries, we'd have to fight to keep it open. We have more clout now. Total difference. As far as work ethic (which is the main deal, that's what it's all about I think) it completely changed how people perceive their work. That's kind of a pat on the back.

The blue collar guy, I mean shit man, you can't walk down the street without a blue collar guy - I was in New York just last week, or the week before, and construction workers, they jumped out of their pants man. They were freaking out. It's like the blue collar got a hero. They got the crab fleet as - we're at the top of the fishing totem pole. They aspire to be that. That's kind of neat.

TE: How long are you gonna go with the show?

Sig: Fuck if I know.

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