published Friday, February 18th, 2011

Making the Makeover

by Andy Johns

View our Extreme Makeover page for a recap of our coverage.

ROSSVILLE — Brady Connell has watched more people work than a road crew foreman.

Sitting inside a white trailer, surrounded by walls of dry erase panels covered in notes, the executive producer watches as many as nine screens of workers tearing down and building back up houses 10 months out of the year.

By the end of each build, they've got more than 100 hours of footage to condense to 44 minutes.

"That's the nature of reality television, you just shoot a lot and see what you're going to get," Connell said. "We don't know what's going to be in the show until we get back in the editing bay."

Connell and crew handle two shoulder-mounted cameras, a steady cam, one camera on a tall boom, as many as 10 microphones and three or more time-lapse stationary cameras. Every day they send a fresh batch of footage back to Los Angeles where editors tear it apart and put it back together the way the volunteers have made over the house.

Their record is three and a half weeks to produce the show, but the Rossville build will take a little longer and probably not run until the end of April or May.

For a reality show, Connell said, the crew's blueprint is actually fairly simple. Connell was the producer for Season 1 of "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" before "Makeover" and said both shows used 16 to 18 cameras each.

"It's actually very, very few in the reality world," he said.

And those cameras had plenty of action to capture on Thursday. Outside, workers finished the mocha- and chocolate-colored stone work on the house, installed a garage door and worked on a retaining wall and the downhill side of the property. Inside, crews worked on countertops, interior walls and finished some of the electrical and plumbing work.

At a 10 a.m. news conference, lead builder Craig Smith said the pace was still behind schedule, but workers were catching up. Smith also said that gravel companies had stepped up to cover the unexpected cost of emergency rock that had to be called in earlier in the week.

By midmorning he estimated that crews had done six months worth of work so far in the five days on the job.

Spectators were impressed by the progress but were even more interested in the stars on site.

"I got everybody's picture, so I was happy," said Fort Oglethorpe resident Tracy Smith, who was wearing autographs from celebrity designers Leigh Anne Tuohy and Xzibit on the shoulder of her shirt.

The encounters were a big experience for some, like Cassandra Taylor, of Ringgold, Ga.

"I was shaking," she said, after getting a signature from Xzibit.

Meanwhile, 24-hour spectator access to the site has been cut in half for the rest of the build.

Following complaints from neighbors about people walking through their yards at all hours, security officials changed the guidelines for spectators, saying they are allowed at the site only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


* 2 to 10 microphones are used on the set

* 3 time-lapse cameras that are stationary throughout the build

* 4 main cameras used in the show

* 3.5 weeks, the record time to produce a show

* 6 to 8 weeks, the normal time to edit a show


7-year-old's 'Extreme Makeover' wish comes true

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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dao1980 said...

"Brady Connell has watched more people work than a road crew foreman." Now that's some hilarious stuff... any way you look at it.

February 18, 2011 at 9:26 a.m.

The Tennessee Valley will SHINE when this episode is broadcast.

February 18, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
Quiroga said...

What happens to the Mortgage on the old house? I understand it was a $50K house that had an increased Mortgage of 200K. The mortgage on the old house will not go away. How will this family be able to pay property taxes on such an adventure with tremendious medical bills? Can anyone explain how this works?

February 18, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.
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