House Hunting Internationally…Or Right Here in Paris?
This morning, I got up early to organize my wardrobe for the filming of my 29th episode of House Hunters International. House Hunters International (HHI) was the first spinoff series of HGTV‘s House Hunters.
“House Hunters follows individuals, couples, or families searching for a new home, with the assistance of a real estate agent. In each episode, the buyers must decide among three properties, ultimately choosing one before the end of the episode. The show concludes by revisiting the buyers in their new home a few weeks or months later, where they describe the changes they’ve made and the effect the new home has on their life.” (Wikipedia.org)
HHI is basically the same format, but focuses on properties around the world, normally with a North American who has moved to another country for a variety of reasons: retirement or vacation home, schooling, or a job. I’ve been filming the France shows since 2006, and yes, this will be my 29th episode. This month, I am filming two more episodes — the last two weekends in the month. That will make a whopping 31 and that’s a lot!
As far as the producers know, no other agent has done as many episodes as I have. There is one agent in England, Richard Blanco, who has done 16 episodes, so he’s way up there in the ranks, too. About half the time, the “contributors” (the individuals, couples, or families searching for a new home) were really our clients who were willing to film an episode, but the other times, they are people who HHI recruited and then recruited me to be their “agent” for the purposes of the show.
An article, now two years old, in the Washington Post called the show “The most unstoppable juggernaut on TV.” Its rise to popularity astonished the rival networks as HGTV became the third most viewed cable network in America, thanks to this unlikely winning formula…and that was two years ago…as the popularity continues to climb.
Viewers find the show is addictive…like a game show. The Washington Post article is a great read for wanting to learn more about how it came to be and why it’s off the charts in audience ratings. It’s fun to watch, and it’s fun to film, too. Fans stop me just about every day, and in the craziest of places. I was not expecting there to be so many fans in South Africa, but everywhere I went, people recognized me, even without the quintessential French beret.
It takes four to five days of filming to produce an episode. My part consists of about three or four of those days. As the “agent,” I participate in what we call the “meet and greet,” where the “contributors,” or clients and I meet to discuss their property finding “wish list,” and then we tour three properties, one of which they will chose to either purchase or rent.
This is reality TV, but it’s more like fiction based on reality. It’s not possible to actually film the process in real time. It takes too much advance planning, signed releases and permits, etc., to be able to really follow someone around while filming and then edit it down to a professional TV show. But the story line is true and so is what the show presents as having transpired in the real house hunt. Two of the properties they have never seen before and their reactions are real. It’s not scripted and we never know what is really going to happen. It’s total “improv” and we’re having lots of fun recreating the scenes on the streets of Paris, or Nice…or somewhere in the countryside of France.
When it’s edited down from the 20 or so hours of taping that boils down to a little more than 20 minutes, it looks as if we’ve seen all the properties in one day, but in reality, it took place over three days or more. We’re wearing that same wardrobe all three days…so it’s a challenge to keep it looking (and feeling) fresh. Choosing my wardrobe is part of my pleasure doing the shows as I love to find colorful and playful clothing that I know the camera will take pleasure in and add something very French to bring it all home…such as a beret. My biggest challenge is getting my hair to behave, which is near to impossible!
To watch some of the shows, tune into HGTV live or visit their website.
We promote the upcoming airing of our episodes on our own website.
And on April 10th, we’ll be showing a few of the episodes at our monthly coffee gathering, Après Midi. Come watch some of my favorites!
If you have a story and would like to star in a House Hunters International, or have an apartment you’d love to see in an episode, please let me know! Email me at [email protected].
And don’t forget to like our Facebook page!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(on House Hunters International)
P.S. Special Note to my New York vicinity readers and anyone else interested in helping the cause of child survivors of human trafficking:
Join Beauty for Freedom and The Flat NYC for The “Project Ghana” Exhibition VIP Preview Friday, February 2nd, 2018, 8-10 p.m. at The Flat NYC – 23 W. 24th St., New York, NY 10010. This is a Beauty for Freedom Exhibition in Partnership with JR’s Inside Out Project and Challenging Heights Supporting Young Survivors of Labor Trafficking and At-Risk Youth. RSVP: [email protected].