09 November 2010

day two with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

This is a continuation of the account of my three days spent on the set of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  You should probably read about the first day first, which you can find here.

So on the second day, I showed up at the same time as the first, right before noon.  There were a lot more people this day, and I noticed that the tent had switched to handing out numbers instead of calling names.  Just another day at the DMV, it seemed.

The morning of I had decided to alter my giant shirt down to make it fit.  I did it really quickly and realized I had lost my bobbin cover, but hey, it fit.  When I got up the counter to get my number, the volunteer coordinator asked me if I had a shirt.  I replied, "Yeah, I'm wearing it."  Then I added, "I made it fit" to a few chuckles from nearby volunteers drowning in their size-XL's.

My "fitted" shirt and I in front of the house on Day 2
Since there were more people and still not too much need for unskilled labor, we waited around A LOT.  It took over 45 minutes just to get our numbers called to go to the site.  But once we got down there, only a few people were needed for something.  The gals I found myself with were a few I had met the day before and they were determined to resume their post as lunch-servers.  I followed them to the cafeteria/warehouse thing, where we found a group of other ladies taking labels off of water bottles.  We immediately joined in the fun.

No free advertising for you, Wal-Mart!
Why water bottle labels?  Well, I'm pretty sure the water bottles given to all the workers and talent on site were donated, but not by the actual company who produced them.  Most of them were Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, and we needed to take off all the labels as to not give them a free plug on television.  So armed with a plastic butter knife, there we we found ourselves with a task.  It was also the cause of my only casualty from this EM:HE adventure.  On my second bottle, before I had really worked out a system, I cut my thumb with my plastic knife and drew blood!

My "construction" casualty, a day later.
Since there were quite a few of us, we finished the water bottles pretty quickly.  And I wasn't one of the "chosen ones" to serve lunch, so I got sent out to the "sit around and wait" tent.  We were all getting pretty frustrated because they had us waiting for quite a while.  I decided then to come back for the early morning shift (6am) the next day so that maybe I'd actually get to DO something.  But it was during this time that I met an Army guy who told me about how his aunt was the recipient of the previous extreme home built in Mobile by Heritage Homes and EM:HE.  He missed all of it due to boot camp, but it was nice to chat with him and hear how it really did help his aunt.  And she hasn't had to sell it because she couldn't afford taxes on it, which is one of the biggest criticisms of what this show does.  He mentioned their "multimedia" room with like 6 flat-screen TV's a few times, so it's apparently still impressive a few years later.

After waiting around for a while, seeing neighbors walk by with their "Neighbor" lanyard badges and giving water to the goose next door, we were all called to go up the street and participate in "the Braveheart March."  We were so excited about this!  And on our way up, we got some pretty good views of Ty standing next to the bus shouting into his megaphone.  I have a hunch I heard him talking to a different family - I'm pretty sure they tape more than one show simultaneously and he travels back and forth.

Holy cow, it's Tyyyyyy!

Gotta love the megaphone!
As for "the Braveheart March," we were handed Santa hats to put on over our construction helmets (Christmas special, that's us!) and led farther up the street.  The director in charge of our crowd gave us pretty explicit directions about not looking at the camera and cheering and stampeding and not having our cameras out to take pictures of Ty.  He also had this ridiculous Boston accent and was trying his darndest at a Southern one.  And failing miserably.  Until someone told him to say the words "sweet ass tea," which he really enjoyed repeating.

We did the March twice, and the highlight of the first one was watching this refrigerator of a woman firefighter completely BITE THE DUST as she tripped on a root going down the small hill we all had to run down.  I knew she was a tough woman, and her firefighter friends helped her up (I knew my 110-pound frame was helpless in this situation), and all I could do was laugh.  She was laughing too, I promise!  I'm pretty sure that's gonna end up on the cutting room floor, but I hope the editors enjoy it.

The firefighters being cute with their Santa-hat-helmets
After we marched down to a certain area, we were instructed to form a "doughnut" around the 4 members of the design team.  While we were in this formation, Ty did a few of his "Ty cam" scenes where he "talks" to the family on their vacation and lets them know what's going on.  The "Ty cam" is a real handheld video cam, and yes it was on, but not for all of it.  And I'm almost 100% positive it wasn't being live-fed to the family (in Disney World for the week), the way it is portrayed to be happening on the show.

In the scenes we filmed, the one I remember the most was when Ty had the people who nominated the family speak out why they did.  It really was just as heart-warming as it is on TV!  (I didn't expect this at all because there's a lot going on in the background during shooting and everything just seems so . . . staged.)  But I think Ty really did sorta choke up as touching things were said about a family that nobody else in the crowd really knew.  It was also nice having all 4 members of the Design Team in one place, because I think that was the only time that happened (not sure who was there for the reveal since we didn't go).  It took us over 3 hours to get all those scenes, and it was definitely quittin' time by the time we were done.  But I did get a good picture of Tracy on my way out!
She's really pretty when she's not making this face
Be on the lookout soon for my account of the third (and best) day of my adventure with EM:HE Pensacola.

1 comment:

  1. That is so awesome! I'm pretty jealous you were that close to Ty, I love him! haha