Tuesday, February 12, 2013 —
For nearly his entire life, Joseph Teti has lived his life out of the spotlight.
Teti is a former Force Recon Marine, Army Special Forces Green Beret and an operative in one of the most top-secret government counter-terroritst units in the world. But these days, he’s definitely stepping out of his comfort zone.
Teti recently became part of the hit Discovery Channel television show “Dual Survival.” The 10-episode series recently began its third season with Teti part of it for the first time. He joins Cody Lundin, who has been with the show from the beginning.
“I did do a pilot for Spike two years ago. It was never aired,” Teti said during a sit-down interview at Gold’s Gym in Albemarle.
“I have never seen myself on TV before. I’ve seen myself through a viewfinder of a camera but there’s a big difference knowing there’s 2 million people watching it.
“I’ll be honest with you, it was extremely nerve-racking. Think about it … everything you do, everything you say, every action is being record and judged.”
“Dual Survival” puts the two participants in different surroundings around the world. Lundin and Teti recreate a situation that forces them to survive in their surroundings until they find civilization.
One of the first episodes put them in the Atacama Desert in Chile, recognized as one of the most barren places in the world. It’s been compared to the planet Mars and has been used in numerous television shows and movies to recreate the planet.
The two had to survive harsh conditions, rocky terrain and lack of water, which forced Teti late in the trek to drink some of his own urine in order to continue.
Teti currently lives in the Stanly County area but is legally obligated not to say exactly where he currently lives because of his past. In fact, during the first episode of the show’s third season, producers and camera men associated with the show were blindfolded before driven to his home.
He can tell you he lives “about an hour from Charlotte” and that “I workout here at Gold’s Gym. I workout five to six days a week.”
When it was determined that Dave Canterbury, who worked with Lundin in the first two seasons, wasn’t going to return to “Dual Survival,” the show had to find a new partner for Lundin. Teti was one of five finalists for the spot alongside Lundin, a 20-year survival veteran who teaches what he’s learned through his Aboriginal Living Skills School in Arizona.
Each of the individuals were flown to Arizona to do a chemistry test, where they individually spent time with Lundin to see how they interact together. Teti said the five were told to stay in their hotel rooms and not to interact with each other until the day of the chemistry test.
“They had guys from Seal Team Six, Delta Force, myself, a guy from MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Command). They had really top-notch guys,” Teti said.
“I spent about an hour with (Lundin). Executive producer French Horwitz was there and about four other guys from the production company. They basically told me to spend some getting-to-know-each-other time.
“So we did that for about 15 to 20 minutes and then they asked me to do something survival-minded. They asked me to make a spear. So I took the knife out and took the 550 cord from my boots and I made a spear. I fashioned the knife to the spear. They thought that was really cool.”
Within minutes, Horwitz knew he had his guy.
“During the chemistry test that you see in ‘Unbraided’ (the name of the episode), within 30 seconds of Cody and Joe walking and talking and doing their thing, I knew Joe was the right guy,” Horwitz said in a press release provided by Discovery.
“I said to the show runner, ‘He’s the guy. We’re done. Let’s go drink beers.’ I was so sure he was the one we’d go with.”
Teti was contacted nine days later about being on the show, which he quickly responded with a “yes.” After signing some contracts and going over specifics involving lawyers for both sides, Teti was ready to get started. Within 30 days, Lundin and Teti were on their way to their first destination for taping.
“You are not going with a winter jacket in 105 degree heat in Ecuador,” Teti said about preparing for each episode.
“We can prepare in that respect. But what they don’t want us to be doing is gaining the situation. We read about the area we are going into, which is a huge part of survival.
“… So what you do is you read what is called an area assessment. That will give you all the information you need, and based on that information you learn about the plants and animals and the conditions in the environment, the weather, the terrain … all that stuff is how you are going to formulate your game plan. It’s very helpful.”
Teti left recently to film the final two episodes of the season. He says it’s been a very rewarding experience and has tested his skills and knowledge along the way. He says he gets a lot of feedback from the show and hopes it continues with a fourth season.
“The guy I replaced, Mr. Canterbury, I don’t know him, I’ve never met him,” Teti said.
“For whatever reason they decided to replace him with me. But yes, this is a big opportunity for me in many ways. I’m using my attorney and my agent to sift through what opportunities are good for me and what part.
“The easy thing to do is to jump on every opportunity people are offering. Whether it’s endorsing a product or ‘hey do this’ or ‘hey do that.’ Sometimes that’s not good for your brand.
“I knew nothing about branding until about six months ago. I understand the value of my brand. So I hired professionals and I have a team that helps me with that. So I firmly believe that. Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself and everything will be okay and that’s what I’ve done.”
New episodes of “Dual Survival” air on the Discovery each Tuesday at 9. Previous episodes of the show air at different times on the network.
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