Apologies for that rather excitable title, but I’ve got something totally amazing to tell you: last weekend, I was involved in filming an episode of hit US TV show “House Hunters International“!!!!!!!
I know I’m probably supposed to act all cool about this, like it happens every day, but it doesn’t really, does it?! I’m very much hoping it’ll happen again but regardless, I’m very excited about having been asked to take part in this one episode.
So how did this all come about? I was called a couple of weeks ago by a producer from the company who make the show, and asked whether I’d be interested in playing the ‘estate agent’ role on an episode of the show, based in Loughborough. Well I about bit her hand off! When I asked her how she’d found me, she said that the video on my website was a godsend, because it told her straight away that I’d be good on camera. [Sends big thanks to Nigel Botterill and the Entrepreneurs Circle for that session talking about how video is so important in marketing!]
I was also amazed to hear that the producer had already called a few estate agents in town and had no takers – I can understand that everyone’s busy and has their job to do, but for me it was a no-brainer. Do the same old thing that you do every single day or do something completely totally different that only a few people are lucky enough to ever experience?! Easy choice!
My first job was finding the houses that would be used on the show. I had been told what the couple I was helping were looking for, and I set about finding houses that would give them a good decision at the end of the show. That turned out to be tough too – one owner was SO RUDE to me, saying it was a ridiculously inconvenient thing for me to ask him to do and telling me (and I quote): “No thanks. It’s not worth our time, especially at a weekend when all our viewings happen. Obviously you would realise that in your profession.” I had to hold myself back from replying “Oh I’m so sorry you’re really busy with viewings but just can’t get an offer; that is a real shame.” I took the high road and ignored him.
Some agents also declined to even ask the owners whether they were interested in allowing filming in their house – I REALLY object to this, because it’s not the agent’s decision to make, and they’re essentially turning down a viewing with someone who may well want to rent or buy the house. Not to mention the publicity that could follow even if the couple didn’t choose it. You’re in my bad books people.
But I did find one absolutely lovely family who were perfectly happy for their house to be used on the show, and it was such a pleasure to be able to share the unusual experience with them. Their boys were so excited and we were made so welcome, it was great. Thanks guys, you know who you are!
When it came to actually filming, well I have to be honest, I was absolutely terrified! I’ve never done anything like this before (unless you count being on Robot Wars where I whooped with joy when our robot Ceros tipped house robot Shunt over, and standing quietly in the corner when Ceros got totalled by Matilda). For starters it took me ages to decide what to wear – the house tours were scheduled to film over 3 days but we had to make it look like it was on the same day, so I had to wear the same outfit all the way through filming. Most important outfit choice of my life so far? Possibly! Did I get it right? No idea until I see the show!
It took a while for me to relax and just be myself, but once I’d had a bit of a laugh with the couple and the crew, it was easy. Everyone was so lovely, and after only a few hours together it felt like we’d known each other for weeks. Filming for TV is so odd, in that it’s all mixed around and out of order, and you very quickly realise that even though you’re there, involved in everything that’s going on, you have absolutely NO IDEA what it’s going to end up looking like. We did most things twice so the editors have a couple of similar takes to cut together, and then there were the most ridiculous parts of all, when the Director says “And can we just have some listening shots of Anna please?” That’s where I have to look at one of the couple while the camera is pointed in my face, and nod and grimace as if I’m listening to them saying something. How stupid did I feel?! But have a look next time you watch a show like this – I bet you’ll be able to spot those listening shots too!
I can’t really say much more about the houses or the outcome of the show because that would just spoil it all, but rest assured as soon as I’ve got access to the episode I’ll be writing about it once more. It only airs in the US unfortunately and not until at least May, but YouTube is a wonderful thing!
I still can’t believe it really happened, it was over so fast…say YES people, that is all. Life is much more fun when you do :)