Excited today to share the behind-the-scenes of my video home tour with Brit + Co.! Having never done video before, it was such a bizarre but cool experience to me. I was shocked by the professional equipment they brought in – you would’ve thought they were filming a television show or something, not a three-minute video! Anyway, names have been withheld to protect the innocent (and because I forgot most of them). And for the record, that smooshed pillow up there is driving me nuts.
8:10AM: Wake up late (of course). The team is arriving at 9AM and it takes me an hour to get ready when I actually care what I look like. Rush to get ready and chug coffee along the way.
8:30AM: Text arrives from Producer #1 – “Morning Jackie! We’re early. No rush, let us know when we can come up!” CRAP! Hair is still wet. Commence panic mode.
8:50AM: Up they come. These guys are super nice, professional, and friendly. They take a quick look around and seem excited about the project. Producer #2: “So, Brit + Co. is looking for something to be a big reveal – some sort of unexpected small space “hack,” a big “surprise” moment.” Producer #1: “So…got anything like that?” He has the decency at least to laugh. My eyes dart desperately around my apartment in search of something surprising. Luckily these producers know what they’re doing, and decide that my closet can count as the big reveal. Phew.
9:10AM: There is a hair and makeup artist. She, also, is incredibly nice. Into “hair and makeup” (aka, my bathroom) I go. The makeup artist assures me that she will make me look fabulous, and then proceeds to take off all of the makeup I just rushed to apply. However, I do not mind because she promises me a “facial massage.” I wasn’t know that that was a thing, but I am on board.
9:20AM: Sitting on my (closed) toilet while makeup artist does her thing. My bathroom is to the right of my front door and while sitting there I have a view of the hallway. I watch as person after person walks by with gigantic black boxes and pieces of equipment, like train cars rolling by. I don’t think much of it as I am distracted by the facial massage.
10:00AM: Hair and makeup done, I emerge from the bathroom into an entirely new apartment. I hang back and stare. Gone is my perfectly ordered, neat and tidy space….now I am in a room populated by burly men, giant pieces of black AV equipment, huge lights, microphones, and giant sheets of white paper that are used to bounce light around (I assume). There is literally barely a path to walk. The shock is real.
10:01AM: They have moved everything around to make a makeshift little interview area where I will sit in one chair and Producer #2 will sit across from me. Typically I get uncomfortable when my family comes over and moves my throw pillows around (kidding, kind of), so all of this rearranging that happened while I was in the bathroom is a bit disconcerting. I awkwardly pick my way around the pieces of equipment and squeeze my way through to my chair.
10:10AM: Sit while cameramen work out angle of camera and other technical details I do not understand.
10:15AM: Still moving chair around to get best shot. Big lights are shining on me and I feel very awkward sitting in my little chair, like I am on a stage. I’m very thirsty, and the makeup artist has provided me with a straw to drink through so as to not mess up my lipstick. She is kind, but firm about the straw usage.
10:20AM: Interview starts. Producer #2 sits across from me and briefly explains what we will discuss. I will need to repeat the question in my answer, so it doesn’t seem like there is a producer feeding me questions. I feel like a contestant on the Bachelor.
I feel uncomfortable with everyone staring at me and all of the big lights shining in my face, but Producer #2 is super nice and pretends to find my answers fascinating, though I suspect that the intricate details of color-coding books aren’t something he’s been desperate to learn about. The makeup artist pops in in between practically every question to put powder on me. My biggest fear is that I will be shiny, so I am very pleased that she appears to similarly prioritize oil control.
At the end of the interview they do a few takes of me saying “I’m Jackie, and this is my 400 square foot apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City!” Trying to say this in a natural way is akin to trying to lift a one hundred pound weight straight over my head – a physical impossibility. Oh well.
11:30: Time to shoot little vignettes and more interview questions around the apartment. Each “location” requires a complete and complicated breaking down and reconfiguring of all of the camera, lighting, and sound equipment. I hide in random corners and drink through my straw while they set up each shot so as not to be in the way. It takes a long, long time to set up each shot.
12:00PM: Vignette shots include me standing in front of my vanity, my gallery wall, my bed, my coffee table, my Expedit, my desk, my dresser, and the little nook behind my curtains where I hide my vacuum, and talking about each little area. After each little mini interview, they get tight shots of my hands doing things like pulling out a book, opening my vanity drawers, pulling back my curtains, lifting up a storage cube. I enjoy doing those shots because I don’t have to talk or worry about what my hair looks like – much less pressure.
2:00PM: We are about halfway done with the vignette shots. I am feeling hazy from hunger and overheated from all of the people crammed into my minuscule space. We cannot open a window because of the sound factor.
2:15PM: Sound guy comes up to me timidly and says “Can I change your battery?” I am in a daze of hunger, fatigue, and overwhelm. Change my…what…my battery? I must look blank because makeup artist laughs. “He wants to change your battery…you’re a robot! Haha.” He gently reminds me that I’m wearing a mic that has a battery. Ohh, right. Haha. He reaches under my shirt gingerly to get the mic. I am wearing high-waisted jeans and I think he is alarmed at how high up my waistband is. High-waisted jeans: comfortable, fashionable, and yet possibly alarming to a nice person who is trying to find your waistband while simultaneously touching you as little as possible.
3:00PM: They are now setting up some type of “steady-cam” where a camera glides smoothly along, getting those cool “gliding” shots that you see in the video. It takes a long time to set up (are you sensing a theme here…)
4:00PM: More sitting around while they set up shots. At least now I’m able to sit on the couch. Feeling hungry and bored. The team is chatting about Bernie Sanders and where they can get Mexican food.
5:00PM: Last shot of the day – the hallway where my closet (aka, the big “surprise!) is. My hallway is extremely narrow and cramped, and we cram ourselves and their ton of equipment into the little space between the front door and closet. The camera is right in my face and I muster every last bit of energy I have to make enthusiastic proclamations about my storage shelves and how surprising my closet is.
6:00PM: The guys begin wrapping up and cleaning up their equipment. I overhear this conversation: “Where’s the bag?” Other guy: “By the pink thing.” Guy #1: “Everything’s pink!” Hmph.
6:05PM: It’s over! Suddenly there is a new guy in the apartment. Who is this guy?
6:06PM: It’s the photographer. He will now commence photographing the apartment. Argh.
6:10PM: Photographer gets to work. By this point I am truly exhausted and depleted from all the excitement and staying up too late the night before due to nervousness. He is nice but I want to take a nap. He says he definitely needs to shoot the closet, the big “surprise!” I open it and he appears unimpressed. “Looks like a closet to me.” I shrug. “Oh, well – give the people what they want,” he says, and gets to shooting.
7:00PM: The crew is finally gone, off to their next shooting location (and Mexican food). Producer #2 had offered earlier in an email exchange to send a cleaning crew over after, which was the nicest thing ever, but I had thought “Huh? Why would i need a cleaning crew?” Now I see what he meant – it looks like a tornado came through. But I don’t mind because despite my feeling like I got run over by a truck, I am truly psyched at the thought of the final product. And in case I haven’t adequately painted a picture of what my apartment looked like during this saga, here’s some phone pictures I snapped:
And from seeing the video you totally would’ve just thought I was hanging out alone in my nice, neat, peaceful space, right?
In all seriousness though, the guys from Hudsun Media were amazing – super talented, clearly passionate about what they do, and very respectful of my space. I think the production of the video turned out absolutely beautifully, and I’m incredibly grateful for the whole experience. Hope you guys enjoyed seeing a little behind-the-scenes peek!
beautiful apartment photos via brit + co., scary apartment shots by me