Making Reality Television Real
What does it actually take to make reality television real? Impact Group recently found out when it project managed the construction phase for reality TV show, Buying Blind: three weeks of intense construction and a one-week bump-in distilled into five minutes of television. The six episodes featured Shaynna Blaze, an interior designer who also appeared as a judge on The Block.
Produced by Endemol Shine Australia, the brains behind hit shows like Gogglebox Australia and Ambulance, the concept for Buying Blind was simple: couples handed over their life savings to three experts, briefing them on their dream home and location, and trusting them to find and buy their perfect property. Once these properties were bought, refurbishment works were done to meet the expectations of the buyer.
“It was hard work for five minutes of television,” says Greg Hastie, Project Director at Impact Group. “Impact had worked with the production company before, many years ago. When they were looking for a project manager, one of their team remembered us and recommended us. Of the six episodes, we ended up project managing construction for five; two houses in Victoria and three in the Sydney area.”
Budgets and time constraints were extremely tight but there was nothing at all quick or dirty about the construction, says Greg. “Every certification box had to be ticked, and every aspect of the renovation had to be delivered to a stand-out quality. From inception and concept designs, it was generally only a few weeks until construction started and, three weeks after that, the places had to be ready for the interior design team to style and bump in with furniture, pot plants, curtains, knives, forks, etc. Design works were done very efficiently and acknowledging the time constraints, and this was a big part of the success of the works.”
Construction success came down to open communication between all the parties, and stakeholder management, says Greg. “We were dealing with the production company, who had to control the money and time and story, as well as approvals authorities, our team and the designer. The builders were very responsive and reactive, as was Shaynna. She was great fun to work with.”
Tight budgets were assisted with contra partners who provided products as part of their marketing strategy, in exchange for air-time and acknowledgements. This worked well in the owners’ favour, receiving a finished product well in excess of their budget.
It was 8 weeks of tough management in a stressful environment, with Impact Group proudly able to sit back and watch the first episode knowing the role they had played in it all. “Despite the stress, it was an enjoyable experience, and one we would do again,” says Greg.