Some distant acquaintances of ours have recently had their place of abode done over by one of those renovation TV shows. The episode will go to air sometime later this year. I had to drop some stuff off at their place during filming, and found that their street was awash with people, trucks and equipment. Someone mentioned that there were 60 people working on or around the site, and I could well believe it. It was mayhem.
The building work is now complete, but the joy and pleasure that you might expect a newly renovated house to bring does not seem to have arrived. The family appear to be as shitty as a Turkish toilet. J rang them the other night, and the mum thought she was calling from Channel 9, and was quite abrupt and almost rude until she worked out that we were not part of that dreaded show. I get the feeling that the stress and strain of having a horde of hammer-bangers, coffee-fetchers, script-fluffers and assorted hangers-on descend on your house for a week is a less than pleasureable experience.
The renovation itself appears to be quite alright, but the machine that is TV production is an emotional wringer. I guess the producers want to film people in a wide range of emotional states - anger, frustration, joy and so on, so for all I know, they may artificially ratchet up the stress in order to capture some explosions - since it is thought that this makes good TV. Personally, I'd prefer to set fire to my toes than watch another woman bawling her eyes out on the tube as she is shown the new hot tub in her backyard.
I was only on site for 5 minutes, and I made sure I stayed out of all the camera shots (they had two crews filming whilst I was there), but the thing you don't see is all the people sitting or standing around doing nothing. The tradesmen were all hard at it (again, all of them were out of shot), but the production assistants, directors assistants and so on (of which I counted at least a dozen) were all standing around having a gossip and a latte. It would not surprise me to learn that an errant tradie has "accidentally" nailed the foot of one of these beret-wearing mungbeans to the floor as they strolled past. You know the type:
Ferdinand, the Production assistant (striding through set, latte in one hand and clipboard in the other): "Alexander! Alexande-e-e-e-e-errrrrr! Tabitha wants you to repaint that wall in ruffled mange-tout, rather than cream of vanilla essentials. Be a darling and get two coats on, quickly now. Shoo! Shoo! Shoo! Tabitha wants to reshoot this room in 10 minutes. Be sure to leave a patch undone for her to paint in front of the camera. I must be off. Destiny calls!"
Ferdinand adjusts his black turtle-neck skivvie, and pats his beret before striding off in the direction of the catering truck.
Alex, the painter: "ruffled mange-tout my arse. Why can't he just call it lime green?"
Ferdinand spills coffee on the newly laid floorboards.
Ferdinand (shrieking): "This is not good enough! These boards have to be relaid! Where is that lazy good for nothing carpenter! Damien, get over here right now and relay these floorboards! We can't shoot them with a stain like that!"
Damien "We can just mop that up. The boards are pre-sealed and designed to resists staining by coffee."
Ferdinand: "I don't care what you think! Did you spend three years studying Dramatic Art Poses at the Pretentious Arts Collective in Orange? Your views are irrelevant. I want you to nail down a new floor covering right now!"
Ferdinand: Squeals like a stuck pig.
Damien: "I reckon that size nine ballet pump you are wearing covers that stain nicely. And blood wipes off these boards just as easily as coffee. I reckon its smoko - whaddaya reckon fellas?"