It started with the call from Audra and Jason Krieg, recent clients of mine warning, “we interviewed for a TV show on Home & Garden Television( HGTV), now they want to talk to you, our Realtor, don’t screw it up.”
The interview was a Skype video conference call which consisted of a young lady looking like she is in her teens asking a me few questions about the real estate market. Followed by questions about the process of buying a short sale and the work my clients had done to the home they just purchased.
We were able to purchase a house under market value for $250,000, they put about $60,000 into the renovation, now the home is worth $400,000. That’s a great buy. She ended the interview with me reciting a few lines with “enthusiasm & big energy!” It took about 2 weeks to hear back from HGTV that we got an episode. We are all going to be famous, or I could go on TV and look like a buffoon. Filming was to start within the month, we had a lot of work to do in preparation. I had to find comparable homes to film as other potential options. I had to make recommendations on where to stay and eat. And then there was my wardrobe. Logos are a “no no” on TV. My biggest concern was finding clothes with no logo that look beachy and professional, but still keep me warm in 45* temps in February.
When the date to start filming came, it was cold and rainy. It was going to be a long day. The crew’s shoot schedule had us working 12 hour days. I was to meet the crew at our first property at 7am, so I got there early and unlocked all the doors, opened blinds, turned on the water and heat and lights and waited. The energetic crew arrived like a whirlwind. They pulled up in two vans, got out with all types of boxes of equipment. There was a total of 7, all looking much younger than me and very polite. I had no idea how much goes on behind the scenes on these shows. The crew swapped out every single lightbulb in the house with “TV friendly” bulbs. They also removed any furniture that didn’t look good or was cluttering up the home. In our series, the Realtor does not accompany the buyers as they tour each home. So there was a lot of downtime for me, and that’s fine. As the Krieg’s filmed their tour and comments, I made some phone calls.
Notice the film crew dressed for winter, while Jason is wearing shorts.
Each home had its own set of difficulties in the videoing process. For the crew its operate on the fly, if a situation pops up, address it and move on. The home closest to the beach had gusty winds. In between takes Audra, Jason, and I would grab our coats and warm up for a minute. We all froze, not only the wind, but rain and cold about ruined our first day. I don’t normally talk about having Parkinson’s disease, but I was shaking so violently I had to explain what was wrong with me. We did as much at the first home as we could, then broke early around 5pm, in the hopes that the next day’s weather be more cooperative. Before we left the crew was sure to compliment us all for our performance and insisted we did great. Although young looking they were true professionals, they knew what they were doing and knew how to motivate the “talent.”
Day two required wearing the exact same wardrobe and having another set of clothes to tape our initial meeting. We were going to try and shoot two properties that day and the introduction and initial interview at Blue Pointe Restaurant. It was another rainy day of 47*. Thankfully we were a little further from the ocean and the wind wasn’t as bad, but the second home we worked in was not what it appeared to be. It is situated on a soundfront lot, a cute little bungalow with amazing views. The second you entered the home though, the smell of wet dog assaulted your senses. My sense of smell isnt what it used to be, but I made the comment “Good thing this isn’t shot in Smell-O-Vision.” The crew staged the home by removing a lot of personal effects and items that didn’t compliment the home. The stench was so bad the crew mentioned that this home was the worst smelling home they have ever been to, and that’s saying alot–they travel 50 weeks per year. As we shot some outside waterside scenes, a big burley neighbor came out and ask us, “What are you doing? This is my property and no one ask him to be there.” Jeff, the director, jumped to action and calmed the man down by apologizing profusely and claiming ignorance.
“Sir, we are filming a TV show for HGTV. We did not know we were on your land. Is it ok if we film here?”
“I own all this land!” he said loudly back.
“We thought we were on your neighbor’s property, but now that we are here can we finish?” replied Jeff the director.
“I guess that would be alright. What TV show?” the man ask.
I thought to myself, nice job Jeff. If directing does not work out, you have a future in sales.
We broke for lunch, compliments of HGTV, and moved the traveling circus to house three. This house was completely void of furniture, so no staging for this shoot. Although because it was raining and the windows had rain drops on them, the assistant to the director had to wipe down all the windows so no one in TV land could see that it had been raining.
The house that they selected.
To end day 2 of filming we went to Blue Pointe to tape the scene where my buyers and I meet for the first time and go over their wish list. We shot the introduction and the interview very quickly. Nothing is ever accomplished on the first take. If you have a good first take, the director is going to ask you do it again, but differently. The thought is to keep the camera running, get the creative juices flowing and they may capture some magic. They shoot hundreds of hours of footage for an hour episode. Minus the commercials, all you need is 45 minutes of show footage.
The final day of shooting for me was at the Krieg’s residence. The house was in need of some serious repair, the floorplan was not open and inviting and the ground floor level was turned into an apartment illegally by the previous owner. That had to be all torn out and brought up to code. To level with you, when I first showed this home to the Kriegs I tried talking them out of purchasing it. I thought it was going to take too much time & work for their busy schedules. I respect them for listening to their hearts and following through in their plan. The house looks nothing like its old self, and I’m proud to have been their agent. I am excited for everyone in TV land to see the bargain I was able to sniff out for the Kriegs, maybe I can help you?