Moving abroad for work is one thing, but Brandy Green didn’t just move abroad for work. She traveled to over forty countries while working as a paranormal investigator on the show Ghost Hunters International.
I first met Brandy on Twitter. One thing I like to point out about Brandy is that she has done a great job of rebuilding her personal brand on social media, especially as she moves on from working as a television personality for Ghost Hunters International. You can connect with Brandy on her Twitter or Facebook page.
I asked her a few questions about working abroad and in television, and she provided a ton of good information. I hope this interview is helpful for people who have wondered what it would be like to work on an international TV series, or who have considered taking on a job that requires a lot of travel.
Brandy, I will start with a question I think a lot of people are wondering: How did you get hooked up with Ghost Hunters International? How did you land a spot on the show?
This is a bit of a loaded answer, but I feel that I need to explain a bit about my background in order to explain how I ended up doing something that many people find to be “out of the ordinary.”
I grew up in a large and very diverse family in terms of religious beliefs and beliefs about things like “ghosts”. In reality, religion and the paranormal often run hand in hand. Due to having a large extended family, I was exposed to a great deal of death and dying. I’ve attended more funerals than the average person, unfortunately. It was within these experiences of loss that I began wondering if death was the ultimate “the end” or if there was something beyond it. After a few family members on my mother’s side claimed to have what they believed to be “ghostly encounters” after my uncle’s death, I began questioning things more than ever before. These family members were not ones to create stories, especially about deceased kin. Whatever it was that they saw or felt, they truly believed that it was paranormal. I should point out that I was not so easily swayed into the paranormal direction and remain a skeptic to this day.
In my senior year of high school, I began investigating claims of “ghostly activity” on my own. Eventually, after educating myself on the basics of the many subject matters related to “paranormal research,” I formed my own investigation team. Our investigations were carried out on weekends, as we all had normal day jobs. Some cases consisted of business owners claiming that their businesses were haunted or homeowners who believed that they had a demon in their basement. During this time, I worked an office job under fluorescent lighting, in a cubicle and was working towards my first degree. I was focusing my studies on anthropology and psychology.
Through my research of the paranormal, I had gotten to know quite a few individuals who were already working as investigators. Two of these “investigators” would eventually appear as cast members on “Ghost Hunters International”. Fast forward a few months after the show had first aired on the SyFy (then SciFi) Channel, and a number of the original cast members had either been fired or had quit. The production company was looking for new cast members and one of my then friends who was a cast member on the show called me asking if I was interested in working with them. I first said no. I had just started my office job, finally had medical and dental insurance, a 401K and I felt some level of stability and I wasn’t ready to give that up so quickly. I also never wanted to be on television and as much as I wanted to see the world, I didn’t see that as being realistic.
After a couple days of the cast member trying to convince me to send in an audition tape, I agreed to send one in with confidence that they would never actually choose me to be a part of the show. I was wrong. Two days after I had expedited the audition tape to Los Angeles, I received a call (while at work in a quiet office) from the Executive Producer of “Ghost Hunters International” who welcomed me to the show. I had two weeks to quit my job, get a passport, buy the essentials for travel, pack and basically change my life. To be honest, the reality of it all didn’t hit me until I landed at the Manchester airport in the UK. About a month after I joined the show, I found out that the company that I had been working for went out of business. Perhaps it was meant to be that I was hired on as a cast member at that time?
I should probably also point out that contrary to what some people think when hearing about the line of work I used to be in, I’m not, nor have I ever been a black lipstick and fishnet stocking wearing Ouija board user who believes in Blood Mary. haha! I have never deemed a location “haunted,” am very skeptical and dare I say it, I don’t truly believe in the existence of “ghosts,” “spirits,” “demons,” or the like. I have traveled extensively, done countless investigations using some of the best equipment that money can buy and have never seen a piece of footage that I would personally classify as being proof that ghosts exist.
Tell us about life on the road. What were some of your favorite things about it? What were some of the negatives about it?
Life on the road was certainly not glamorous in any capacity. I wish that it was. The best aspect of living out of the few nice hotels that we were actually booked in was that you didn’t have to worry about vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom or making your bed. That’s what maid service is for. haha! It is true that there were many times that I had to do laundry in my hotel room’s sink and hang it up all over the room. On the rare occasion that the hotel we were staying in was actually fairly nice, the option to have laundry done was there; however, it would often times run about a hundred dollars for a couple pairs of pants, a couple shirts and a few delicates-a little overpriced for my liking. There were times that we were lucky enough to somehow find ourselves being booked in a Hilton or Marriott, but other times we had to stay in hostels or in 800 year old castles with very little in the way of modern amenities.
One of my favorite things about having been on the show was obviously seeing the world and meeting people from different cultures. I always tried to pick up some of the local language of whichever country I was in, which was often very difficult because I would only be in a country for a week or two. The biggest negative thing about traveling with the show, aside from the dirty “dog eat dog” mentality of working in television and film, was the flying. I had flown a few times before joining the show and did not fear flying then; however, after having been with the show for a while and a number of horrifying flights, I developed an extreme fear of flying. White knuckled, cold sweat, heart palpitated fear. I tried everything to subdue the terror, including anti-anxiety meds, muscle relaxers, sleep aids, and liquor. haha! When you are 40,000 feet in the air and halfway across the ocean, you will do just about anything to make that anxiety go away. Another negative thing was that there were many times electricity was very weak. Access to the internet or cell phone service was non existent in some instances and staying in contact with loved ones back home was sometimes not a possibility. Life on the road can be very difficult and lonely, even if you are with other people.
Was it hard to work on camera while keeping up such a grueling travel schedule?
There were times that I would stand at the check in counter at the airport, passport and itinerary in hand at 4:00 am and draw a complete blank when asked where I was traveling to. Thank goodness for printable itineraries! It was just a matter of traveling so much and so frequently to so many different countries that the locations would all start to blend together. Two of my longest journeys were to Cape Town, South Africa (a total of about 24 hours flying time) and Australia (a total of about 22 hours flying time). There were times that I was up for two days straight with absolutely no sleep. Once we were in the country that we were to film in, we often times had to drive with our convoy of production vehicles to the actual location which would sometimes take up to twelve hours.
Finding edible food in some of the locations was difficult as well, combined with the lack of sleep it was rough. Every morning after we were lodged, a daily filming schedule would be slid under our doors by one of the producers. There were times that we would ship out to the filming location by 11:00 am and work/film/be on set until 6:00 am the next morning. It was a constant and grueling schedule and whenever we did get a day off, we had a choice to either sleep all day and night or to actually leave the hotel and try to take in the sights. For example, when I was in Paris we were given part of the day off and I saw all of the major points in Paris in just less than four hours. haha!
When you’re exhausted, hungry, sore from carrying equipment or luggage around, sometimes cold, sometimes hot, and after working all day and all night, having a camera two inches from your face at 4:00 am is not necessarily something you are going to take kindly to. Luckily, I had the same cameraman for two years straight and after working together for so long, nearly every day, we got to know each other very well. He could read the tone in my voice or minor glances that I’d give and know what I was thinking and whether or not he should back off. haha! It was absolutely exhausting and a lot of work. Everyone on the road that was apart of the show in some capacity was subjected to heavy lifting and long hours.
When did you decide to end your work on Ghost Hunters International, and why?
After working with the show and traveling almost constantly for three straight years to about forty different countries, I decided not to return. There was some cast shake up around the time that I was asked to continue with the show and I turned the opportunity down. It was a very emotional decision driven by a lot of aggravation and disappointment over the politics of “show business” and the failing relationships with the cast and crew. There were some under handed dealings happening and the show was being driven into a direction that I didn’t agree with and didn’t sign up for. It was clearly time for me to move on. After I had left, there were other cast changes and the ratings began to fall drastically. Yet again, it seemed that I had gotten out of a situation just in time. My contract became void as of last year, which I did celebrate. :)
What are your plans for the next few years? I see that you are currently training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Kickboxing.
After leaving “Ghost Hunters International,” I spent some time traveling around the United States doing events and conventions. My last event was in 2011 and since then, I have gone BACK to school, this time to get my secondary education degree in history. My eventual goal is to teach college level history part time online while I continue to write, work on my photography and produce. I am training in mixed martial arts (MMA), having trained previously in Taekwondo and Karate years and years ago. I work online for a college mentoring students in the history department and the human services department and for a local company that produces eco-friendly products. I’ve also been hired on as a line producer for a live action feature length film based on the video game “Red Dead Redemption” which will begin filming later next year. I certainly have plenty on my plate at the moment.
Any words of advice for people who are considering a job that requires a lot of travel and/or working on a tv series?
Advice if you are thinking about working in television:
Make sure that you have an entertainment lawyer review your contract. I had two lawyers and my uncle who is a Broadway producer, review my contract. Make sure that the contract is non-exclusive! Secondly, stay true to yourself. Don’t give in to the pressures of the industry if it goes against your morals. Go with your gut instinct and trust in yourself!
For those that are looking at the potential of constant travel:
Pack smartly, know the screening processes and regulations of airports and expect delays. This means that you should always have your electronics, adapters and power cords packed in your carry-on. If you have a carry-on and checked bag, be sure to pack at least one change of clothing as well as the essentials in your carry-on. Checked luggage DOES get lost more than you might expect and there are certain airports and airport terminals that are notorious for losing luggage.
Exchange your money BEFORE you leave the country if at all possible. Often times, banks and airports are going to be your best choice when it comes to fair exchange rates rather than going to some random kiosk on a street somewhere.
Always photocopy your passport! You should keep one copy in your carry-on, one at home with a family member or friend and a copy on your computer. Keep your passport in a safe place. You should also print a copy of your itinerary as well and give that to someone at home. Do this because we live in a crazy world and you never know when this information might be needed.
Check in with your bank and/or credit card company before leaving to inform them that you will be traveling and where you are going. They will make a note on your account so that when they see charges on your cards from outside of the normal range you normally use them in they will not shut down access to the account. It is not fun to be in a foreign country where English isn’t even a second language and you have NO access to money and no cell service.
I could go on and on regarding advice on travel and working in television/film, but I’ll stop there.
Thanks for taking the time to share with everyone, we appreciate it!
Photos courtsey of Brandy Green