Does the camera make me look fat?

Usually as far removed from “reality” as possible, “reality TV” is normally not my thing. Unconcerned with what bachelor gets the hot desperate single girl, how many Twinkies Kim Kardashian can stuff down to make her butt bigger or what average singer captures the American Idol crown, Diane and I prefer comedies or sporting events. Admitting to one guilty pleasure, we indulge in one exception to the rule with House Hunters International. Now in its 11th year with over 1,000 episodes, we’ve seen hundreds of people from all walks of life share their expat escapades. Once we began searching for an early retirement destination, it seemed reasonable to digest dozens of locations even if the story lines are sometimes a bit cheesy.

hhiRecently we began contemplating what it might be like to profile our upcoming move to Malaysia using the MM2H Visa as an episode the show. Ironically, we were recently contacted by a casting producer based in London whose responsibilities include finding participants for upcoming episodes. After a wonderful phone conversation, she thought our story is probably a good fit and we agreed to stay in touch over the next few months. Asked not to reveal any specifics about the production, we can’t go into detail but can happily report that The Experimental Expats hope to make their television début (and grand finale) as cast members for an upcoming episode of House Hunters International. Looking for thoughts from my Facebook friends, I was overwhelmingly surprised at the amount of support so we’ve decided to share the news with all of you. Please stay tuned for more details.

If any expats reading this have either done an episode or you know of a blog that’s posted about the experience, please share !!!!

And to all: Please give feedback, advice, comments or other ways to ease our fear of being on TV

9 thoughts on “Does the camera make me look fat?

    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi
      Thanks so much for the interesting viewpoint. It’s the first negative feedback we’ve heard from anyone and it’s always good to hear both sides of the story.

      We already knew it’s staged because if you watch enough episodes and have known any other expats, it’s fairly obvious that nobody with a new job, kids in a new school etc has time to film a reality TV show and even if they did, I find it hard to believe many of the stories anyway. But I am doing it for a different reason. It’s something that’s way out of my comfort zone and that’s one of my primary goals in early retirement. I will never skydive, heli-ski or hike with penguins in Antarctica (mostly due to cold and cost) so it’s a compromise for me.

      With all the nutcases out there, appearing on US TV scares me to death but HHI is probably the most tame show there is and is only watched by people that genuinely enjoy the stories. With its low budget and minimal requirements, it’s probably also the only chance I’d ever get to appear on TV and we’ve not received one comment telling us we shouldn’t do it so why not?

      I totally understand and respect your decision and appreciate the honesty

      Cheers

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      1. Newmexicotoitaly

        No judgements at all; I am so happy folks do it cause I love watching it! I do get annoyed at how many obviously-lived in places have been appearing this season, though, cause when there are two there’s no surprise as to which one they pick! Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Gail at Large

    I’ve been contacted twice over the years, and I declined because a) I’ve already been on a reality show (as the contracted wedding photographer, I had to put up with the camera crew and they totally got in my way); and b) the level of deception required to stage my particular expat situation to suit the format of this TV show went beyond my level of tolerance.

    The recruiter (same as yours) also wanted me to put a casting call on my website. What? No thanks.

    I know of two families who’ve participated, one who blogged it with detail (USA-Germany) and the other did not (USA-Australia). In case you haven’t read this one, I recommend it:

    http://ianandebe.blogspot.pt/2012/07/back-to-berlin-on-house-hunters.html

    From what I can gather, one big appeal to participating in HHI (for some, being on TV is enough) is the fact that they fly you all home for the ‘home country’ segments, and for expats who live a very long way from their country of origin, this is attractive. But just like the couple whose wedding I photographed that received $5,000 for participating in a reality show, there were some big regrets and there is no do-over. You might think it’s worse for a wedding, but just like anything that gets in the media, mistakes aren’t addressed and if your story isn’t told properly, you have to live with those inaccuracies for as long as those episodes air, and thanks to syndication and the internet this is years and years. Unlike your blog, for TV you have to be prepared to give up control over your personal story. You could always do what the Back to Berlin couple did and point out the truths afterwards, but TV audiences don’t necessarily overlap with internet audiences.

    A few more blogs here:
    http://easyexpat.blogexpat.com/blog/2012/07/03/american-tv-show-is-now-casting-on-life-abroad
    http://xpatmatt.com/house-hunters-international-is-fake-so-what/

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi Gail
      Thanks for the comments. We will take it all into account. Don’t think we care if they skew the story. All you guys and our friends and family know the real story. Also they would not film a home segment for us because we will only be there a short time and the funds would barely cover the airfare. We have no desire to go back for awhile so that’s not an issue

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  2. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com

    How exciting! I look forward to hearing more. I’m afraid I have no experience of being on any kind of programme but I imagine the biggest issue will be the editing. It sounds like a fairly benign programme so I’m sure they won’t make you look bad but you’ll never really know what the final product is going to be until you watch it! Good luck, let us know when it’s on.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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