I'd like to start this blog off by telling you about two crucial members of our production team: our Challenge Producer George, and Associate Producer Ty. These guys had to come up with close to 100 models for the eight episodes (plus back-up models), hammer out the details and clearly explain the challenge rules to the contestants (up to legal standards). All this while working on securing locations, and making sure the models were clothed/fed/paid. And I would be remiss if I didn't say they both looked damn good doing it.
For the first challenge in our third episode, Sally Hershberger was to demonstrate her signature haircut, the cut made famous by Meg Ryan -- The "Sally shag." Unfortunately, the lucky model we had selected for the famous coiffure fell through just two hours before we were to begin shooting. At this point, I (and every female on the production team) began to envision how great we'd look with a $650 haircut. While we day-dreamed, Amanda, a marketing associate from Nexxus, volunteered. Oh well, I guess I'll have to start saving.
Normally in the world of hair, stylists attend classes on a regular basis. But a private lesson with Sally Hershberger on how to do her signature style doesn't come along very often. The contestants were all very cognizant of the valuable opportunity they had been given. Usually a lesson like that does not come cheap -- if it comes at all. And while I'm being tangential, have I told you all how insanely great Jaclyn Smith looks? I know you get to see her on the show, but I'm telling you, in real life she is just as flawless as she is on TV.
I have to tell you about one of our biggest challenges during production: getting interview time with the contestants. Ideally, on a reality show that uses interview bites, you want to interview the contestants for about an hour every day. That way the reactions are fresh, the anticipation is real, and the naked emotion from winning or losing is written on their faces. We had two interview rooms set up off the salon and one in a trailer in the parking lot. In a perfect world, we could have done 12 contestants in 3 interview rooms in 4 hours. But anyone who has spent any time on a set knows just how far from a perfect world it is. Every day, production ran overtime and we were left with very little or no time to conduct our interviews.
One interview a day per contestant became one interview every two days per contestant and it was incredibly difficult to keep up that pace until we were down to about six contestants. It became manageable at that point.
For the Long to Short Challenge, the art department pilfered all the unconventional tools during their clean up, so when Evangelin asked me if she could have her hedge clippers, I had a hell of a time procuring them. Luckily, the guy that snagged them had a conscience and forked them over. I can't blame the art department for taking the tools -- I bet they'd fetch a decent price on eBay.
It was at about this point in production that some of the contestants, Danna in particular, began to wonder what I was doing busily scribbling away in my notebook when tensions ran high. They began to figure out that I wasn't just there to be their best buddy; I had a job to do. When there was a flare up of emotions, I was there to not only see it and take note of it, but to usher those concerned into interview rooms so they could vent on-camera instead of at each other off-camera. On that note, I'll just say: stay tuned...