‘Trading Spaces’: 8 Behind The Scenes Secrets

  
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6. Filming Secrets

Shows that are considered reality television always have certain expectations of authenticity and it’s the belief that they are shot almost like a documentary, but at the end of the day the final product still has to be perfect, or close to it, and most importantly, it must be entertaining for their viewers. Journalist Andy Dehnart followed around designer Doug Wilson during the 39th episode of the second season and wrote about what she saw behind the scenes. Dehnart said the show is filmed more like a movie than a reality show because things aren’t shot chronologically. The entire episode is broken down into individual scenes that aren’t necessarily filmed in the order they take place. The production team has to manipulate the setting in order to get the perfect lighting, sound and cast members who are being filmed need to be prepped. For example, Doug asks carpenter Amy Wynn Pastor to make him a bench, meanwhile the bench is already made and sitting only a few feet away. It’s not necessarily lying because at one point he did have to ask for the bench, it’s just reenacting. Dehnart writes, “the crew will spend maybe 30 hours working on the rooms. From that, only eight or nine 30-minute Beta tapes will be recorded in each house providing roughly eight to 10 hours of footage that will be edited down to 44 minutes.”

© TLC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

© TLC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

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5. Taking Credit

Many viewers might have already figured this out, but the homeowners, designers and even the on-site carpenter get a lot of help outside of what we see on camera. This is where the real staging and on-camera lying happens. Dehnart describes one situation where the homeowner goes outside to help carpenter Amy Wynn work on a shelving unit for the bedroom, and on camera they’ll act as if this particular homeowner helped her build the whole thing, but in reality she didn’t. When Dehnart asks Wynn whether she finds it hard to share the credit when it’s not deserved, she said she’s used to it. “I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with it. It’s fine with me; it’s all part of the game.” She said it’s the same as when she takes credit for the other on-site carpenter Eddie Barnard who is never actually shown on camera. The only way viewers would know of his existence on the show is when the credits roll at the end he’s referred to as the Prop Master. In reality, Barnard does all of the more intensive work to ease the workload for Wynn because it’s impossible for her to do it all on her own. She used to feel guilty, “Every single day at the end of the show, I’d say, ‘I’m sorry.'”

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