Tuesday, 19 April 2011

more from the never-ending saga..."location location location"

on our road trip a couple of weeks before filming

wow... i really didn't realize how long it would take me to write about this! i think this is the penultimate installment...

so where was i? i'm sure i mentioned before that i was obsessed with looking for properties. i was online searching the estate agents websites several times daily as if they were actually listing properties hourly ( which they don't). as soon as they told us we would be on the show, i was told that i was not supposed to look for properties anymore. i was to stay away from estate agents windows, local papers, looking online, etc... this was an absolute killer for me. as much as i had faith in them having a strong idea of what we wanted, i was also scared that they might miss something. i stuck to my word and avoided looking, so i had absolutely no idea what was around or what they might be showing us.

when i opened the door, there were a lot more people than i had expected. 2 researchers, who were really lovely, a director, producer, cameraman, sound man, phil, his driver, and a few more.
they told us they had 5 houses for us to look at and we would do 3 that day and 2 the following day. the days were going to be long. i can't recall if it was a 4 or 5 day shoot, starting at 8am and finishing between 4-5pm with a break in the middle for lunch. after meeting and greeting everyone, they had a look around to figure out where they wanted to talk to us etc... and then we pretty much started straight away.

we were introduced to phil. he was very nice. i couldn't help but feel he had a sort of a presence. i didn't feel nervous around him because he was a "celebrity", but i was aware of his celebrity if that makes any bit of sense. growing up in LA it's the norm to see celebs/stars a lot and i've served quite a few in my time...when i was waiting tables at a coffee house in marina del rey, we used to have regulars like jane fonda, lee curreri, courtney cox, one of the "corey's", linda hamilton, adam ant and loads of one-off visits, so i was unfazed by phil in that way, yet very happy to meet him. on the other hand, a lot of our neighbors had noticed that something was going on and were peeking out their windows. some started to come out into the street to watch the filming and as soon as they saw phil they started to circle for autographs, which he was happy to give. 

one thing that scott and i had talked about a lot before this day had come was how so many people on the show tend to use property jargon cliches, especially the "wow factor". we hoped that we wouldn't succumb to that and as we pulled up to the first property, i instantly saw i didn't need to worry. from the outside, it was not at all what i had my heart set on. i had to remind myself that this happened quite a lot on the show. that they would often show the people houses that were nothing like what they wanted, but still pull a winner or two out of the bag. yet i was worried that with the budget we had, they might all pretty much be places like this one. it made me question how realistic my dream house was.

the outside of property #1
before entering the house, we were told they want the show to feel as natural as possible and want actual first reactions, so the crew go in and set up first and make you wait in between each new room they show you to get that authentic first reaction as you walk in. part of me wanted to say, "i REALLY don't like it" immediately and skip it, but you never know what it might be like inside. so we looked, but i couldn't see us living there. i think it was pretty evident to everyone i wasn't feeling it. there was just something very bland and soulless about that house. i was happy scott seemed in agreement.

property #1 kitchen
in between shots, we chatted with phil about everyday stuff. he was dry and funny and i never realized until after we had filmed that he had a rep for being "cheeky", but i did notice he sometimes had that slightly naughty school boy twinkle in his eye.

we moved on to house number 2 (which they don't show on the programme or the "location" website). it was a few houses up from a major road, which was one location we agreed we wouldn't want, on/near a main road. although from the outside it looked really nice. it was edwardian and had lovely windows. at first glance inside, it looked impressive, but after that initial moment, it became apparent there was a lot of space doing nothing. there was a grand hallway and beautiful cornice, but the rooms were all pretty small. there was one bedroom that might have been just about 3 feet wide. and there was only one bathroom which was so small we couldn't both stand in it comfortably at the same time, especially with my belly. we did a few "comical" shots of this at the directors request, but thank god they didn't get used!

so we were 2 down, 3 to go and i was getting a little twitchy. we took a break for lunch. they bought us a gorgeous lunch everyday. we went over to the old town and ate at lathams which at the time was one of our favorite restaurants. all i remember from that lunch was that i don't know why i had it in my head that phil's driver was his dad. for the whole lunch, everything he said i tried to relate to phil. a few things phil said to him seemed strange to say to his dad, but i still didn't realize my mistake until like 2 days later.

after lunch, we headed to the last place for the day, property 3. it was actually right around the corner from where we were living at that time. and here, i have to come clean and say, i was already aware of this property. a friend had seen it for sale and knew of our desperate quest and told us about it. i was so worried that it could be "the one", that i went against my promise and after asking scott what i should do, but ignoring him anyway, i walked over there to see what it looked like. i had hoped that it would be one of the properties they showed us and was relieved when they did take us there.

property number 3 outside
it had been hard to tell from the outside what it was like so i was very interested in getting in there. once inside, i thought it was ok, but it had a strange layout where you walk in on the middle level rather than the first floor. it WAS an improvement on the previous 2 properties, but the kitchen was small, downstairs was a bit dark and the rooms were on the small side and a bit narrow. they all felt claustrophobic like the walls were closing in on us. most importantly though, i wasn't seeing much space to put all my most coveted "collectibles" (or "crap"). scott was more sold on it than i was. the garden was a nice size and there was a basement that could be a workshop, but all in all it didn't do it for me. i worried scott was kind of diggin' it and there could be a disagreement over it.

property 3 kitchen

property 3 lounge
property 3 bedroom
through the whole process so far, scott had been brilliant. i was so impressed with how natural he was in front of the camera and his ability to be himself and he was very funny. he had all sorts of great lines that sadly ended up on the cutting room floor. they rolled off his tongue effortlessly. but me on the other hand, i thought i might be coming across as too negative, not enthusiastic enough and not appreciative enough of the research they had put into finding the houses they had chosen. when we finished for the day, i was feeling a little disheartened. we only had 2 more houses to look at. that was it. i started to feel we were doing it for nothing. that at the end of it all we would walk away in the same position we started and that buying a house was just not in the cards for us.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya, how interesting. I would never have the nerve to be on TV, and my husband would freak if I set it up lol. Its hard to tell about the houses from photos but they do look a bit bland.