Key Fundamentals for Choosing the Right Location for Shooting a Reality TV Show


By Gabriel Padilla, GP Productions 

The following is a guideline based merely on a recent TV production our company worked on, and not necessarily is the same case for others. We do believe that in many cases others may encounter with the same situations.

Usually, reality tv shows are shot in paradisiac beautiful locations around the world. And these locations are not the common ones that everybody knows, but rather less touristic to avoid unwanted crowds.

We have recently shot a 4-month reality tv show, and have identified the problems involving this endeavor, that you can’t imagine until you are working on it.

So we have divided these challenges into 5 categories to better explain them:

  1. Main Location
  2. Generator Location
  3. Catering
  4. Side Locations
  5. Props Availability

Finding the Main Location

Main house for TV show

To find the main location, besides being beautiful and spacious, and to meet all the requirements the client look for, take into account you will also need to find accommodation for a crew of at least 70 people.

You want these accommodations for the crew to be near the location, preferably everyone staying in the same place so that your logistic costs go down. But most of the ideal locations do not have one big hotel for all the crew. You will need to find smaller hotels surrounding the main location, plus various vehicle to transport them back and forth it.  Then you should assign a main location for the catering, so everyone can eat at the same place nearby to the main location.

Electric Generators

Installing low noise power generators

These are the most important to keep your production running. A 24 hour reality show cannot rely on the local power, so they will have 2 generators running one at a time. The second generator works as a backup and to relieve some of the work to the first generator and insure a reliable output.

They need to be placed near the main studio but at the same time far enough to avoid problems with the sound recorded.

The other important issue when choosing the location of the generators, is to make sure the noise does not affect the neighbors. Keep in mind these generators run 24 hours, and at some point they can become a problem that can later result in complaints that can grow to larger scale, putting in risk the production.

Catering

Dining area nearby hotel

Catering is the most challenging part of the production since you need to satisfy all dietary requirements for a crew that certainly will request all choices.

Also take into account that after 1 month of eating from the same chef, people get bored of the food. It doesn’t matter if this chef varies the menu, people start to hate it. So planning ahead, you should provide more than one catering service, and distribute the work evenly.

If you are shooting in a remote location, consider installing a walk in freezer to store good amounts of food, this will lower costs, and assure you have variety of food all the time.

Side Locations

Playa Venao

As the production progresses, you will need other locations to shoot different situations, and vary the scenes, as they can become boring after a while.

Your side locations should be logistically near to the main one, and costs to shoot in them should be low, as you will need several of them throughout the season.

Props Availability

Production set on Playa Pedasi

For a long-term production, the director has an idea of what he or she wants to show initially, but this idea will not be completely clear so that you can provide the props ahead of time. Therefore, you will need to identify were to find props for the production. This will include every possible prop, from fashion stores, hardware stores, crafts, and even consider establishing an efficient way of bringing online purchases in a fast manner.

If you are in a remote location, the best way is to establish a transport bridge, where you bring goods from a bigger city at established dates, this will reduce costs. 

These 5 things are just a few details that you will need to take into account when choosing the right place to shoot a reality TV Show. Others not mentioned are nearby hospitals for medical urgencies, bottled water distribution, usually tap water from remote locations are not adequate for the production, as it can result on people getting sick.

 



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