Ever wonder what goes into shooting those interview/confessional shots you see during every episode of The Real Housewives? We spoke to the production team behind the original Housewives franchise (Orange County, of course!) and got the lowdown. Here's the scoop:
Bravotv.com: What does production call those interview booth shots?
Bravo Producer: We simply call them interviews.
Bravotv.com: What goes into prepping those shoots?
Bravo Producer: A lot! We shoot approximately 12 interviews with each cast member per season, with a total of at least four different "looks". Each of these looks is ideally shot in the cast member's home. An interview look is comprised of two major components: the background and the cast member's hair, make-up, and wardrobe. The composition and content of the background must be different in each look, but must remain consistent with the décor of the cast member's home. The cast member will wear different wardrobe in each look as well as different hair and make-up to compliment the wardrobe. The trick is to make sure that each cast member wears a color that compliments them best, but we can never put two cast members in the same color during the same look. In some cases we need to shoot the cast member in front of a "green screen" and digitally place them in front of their background. This digital background is called a "backplate."
Bravotv.com: All of the franchises have these interview moments. What's the history/origin story of these shoots and explanation of why they're shot in that style.
Bravo Producer: The interview style has drastically changed from season to season. In the first few seasons of the show, the interview looks were less complicated and more natural looking. Today, a great deal of care is taken to make sure the women look as glamorous as possible in front of a background that you wish you had in your own home! Also, in earlier seasons we used to do more interviews with secondary cast members – like Jeana Keough's kids or Vicki's kids – and we did them exclusively outdoors. Today, it's rare that we interview secondary players and we never ever shoot outdoors! It's way too difficult to control the quality of the sound when shooting outdoors.
Bravotv.com: Those confessional moments are kind of like breaking the 4th wall. Can you explain the decision behind this?
Bravo Producer: Put simply, interviews were – and still are - an integral component of the reality genre and therefore a necessary part of the storytelling process.
Bravotv.com: Do you have any stories/tales from shooting these interview vignettes?
Bravo Producer: Here's a story about interviewing the OG of the OC, Vicki Gunvalson. A few years ago – I think this was season 8 – we were setting up all the equipment required to film an interview with Vicki. When we interview a cast member they are literally surrounded by complicated production hardware that the viewer never sees. Vicki was sitting on her seat, surrounded by equipment, and ready to begin her interview. As we were getting ready to start, a “C-Stand” - which is a metal stand on which lights or sound equipment is attached – came loose and fell right on Vicki's head, giving her a lump. She wasn't angry and actually laughed about it with all of us when all was said and done.
Over the last 10 seasons of The Real Housewives of Orange County the Housewives' style has evolved. Check out 30 glam interview looks through the years.