You probably don’t think about it when you’re watching your favourite reality TV programs, but a lot of them – especially the ones where contestants all move in together – are filmed in people’s houses. You don’t necessarily notice it when you’re watching the show, but they’re huge places. Some are 15- and 20-bedroom homes that are occupied by Sydneysiders.
People rent out their places for the length of a production, which means all their stuff has to be moved out of the place and into storage for 12 weeks or so to make way for the props, contestants, crew and gear required to make a TV show.
It involves the disruption of a family because they’ve got to move everything – their phones, their Foxtel, their mail gets redirected – and literally the entire house is cleared out. It’s not like we stick the furniture in one or two rooms, and they’re the rooms they don’t use – we pack it all up, put it in the truck and move it out, relocating these people temporarily.
Sometimes, though, it isn’t even for that long. They might just be making a short film and they need the venue for a week, so we’ve got to get everything out. Or maybe it’s a quick TV commercial and only need it for a day.
You know those special episodes where the guy takes one of the girls he’s interested in home to meet the parents? If the producer thinks the family home is too cluttered to accommodate a camera or two, they’ll give us a call to clear out the furniture and turn the house inside-out for a day.
So whether it’s for months or just a day, we’re moving stuff in and out, in and out, and making sure what’s going on in the background looks as good as what’s going on in the foreground.
Then, when the show’s over, we put it back and make them all comfortable again.
That’s the reality of TV.