Filming for HGTV Small Space, Big Style
I entered a contest, Small Cool Apartment, on a website. I sent in pictures and a floor plan. The contest was sort of silly, but it did give me some exposure. I got an email from someone at a show on HGTV called, Small Space, Big Style. She asked if I was willing to speak with one of their producers. You betcha - what a hoot. The producer called and we talked a while and she looked at more pix and info on this website. She said she would work up a proposal and 'pitch it to the network' (so Hollywood). A few weeks later I got a phone call to schedule the filming date. Cool. We agreed on Thursday, May 18th. They sent the legal forms for me to sign and return and some info on what to expect and how to prepare. I flew back to NYC on the 17th - I had just left NY on the 14th with a student group.

Setting up for shooting in the bedroom. Adam shooting a closeup of Ode to NY, Amanda checking the monitor.

Adam, Jake, and Amanda shooting in the bedroom.

Alex and Jake with equipment crates in the hall. Adam and Alex setting up a shot.

Filming day
I woke up at 7am and did some last minute preps in the apartment. I was a bit apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I went downstairs and waited outside. Saw some guys in a van looking for a parking place. Figured it was the crew. Introduced myself to Jake (sound), Adam (cameraman), and Alex (camera assistant). We went inside to meet the building manager and get some guidance on what to film in the building and how to get around. They drove into the building garage, unloaded the van and met us up on the 5th floor. By this time, Amanda (Director/Field Producer) had arrived and we went inside. She walked me through the day's activities and eased my fears some for what I needed to do. We shot lots of footage for what will probably be just a 10 minute segment on the show. The director and, sometimes, the camera and sound guys, would talk me through a scene, then we would shoot it, then review thoughts and make any adjustments in the pacing and monologue, then shoot a couple more takes. Sometimes, we'd 'nail it' and only shoot once with one backup for safety. They shot me talking about the space, my objectives for the renovations, the furniture, and my design philosophies. We broke for lunch and sat on the Hudson Esplanade during a beautiful day in New York. The assistant had taken our orders and had the food ready for us. We had sushi from The Wave across from the condo building.

We filmed in the bedroom, bathroom, foyer, kitchen, living room, and balcony with me talking, close-up shots of furniture and accessories, a time-lapse sequence, background ambient sound, and 'beauty shots' for splicing in throughout the segment. We shot several takes of each section - sometimes I thought of different things to say, sometimes I screwed up, and sometimes a plane or truck would be too loud in the background. We had to film with the AC off and it got a bit hot. Alex took coffee orders in the afternoon and went to Starbucks for the afternoon break. The 4 tapes, the log of scenes, and still shots of major filmed sections were FedExed to the post-production facility in Maryland where the producer and another crew will edit the footage into a cohesive segment for the show.

It was a fascinating process to watch and a great experience that I'm glad I was able to participate in.

The people
The production staff
      Producer: Lauren
      Associate Producer: Nicole
      Series Producer: Sage
The film crew
      Director/Field Producer: Amanda
      Director of Photography: Adam
      Sound: Jake
      Camera Assistant: Alex
The crew were New Yorkers who were hired by HGTV to film several homes in the area. They were each very professional and knowledgeable yet very personable. We had a good time.

Dates 2006
Contest submission: Febuary
Contest posting: March16-25
Email of interest: March 23
Phone interview: March 28
Set schedule: April 27
Paperwork: May 3
Filming: Thursday, May 18, 9am - 6pm
Airdates: October 8 and 19

Video of the HGTV Small Space, Big Style show segment

The HGTV website