Friday, February 22, 2013

Reality TV



About a week before we got our referral, someone in our October LID FB group posted that the Ca*ke B*o*ss was seeking a family in the tri-state area in the process of adopting to feature on the reality TV show. I commented that it just happens that the bakery that made the chef and store famous is opening its second location in our town and perhaps I should call. I was sent the email address of the producer and thought, "why not" and sent an email telling the producer that we were in the process of our third adoption from China, were expecting our referral any day and we lived in the town where the 2nd bakery is opening.

Later that same day, I was taking Oliver to swim lessons when my cell phone rang. It was a Los Angeles # and it was a producer of the show. She wanted to know all about our adoption and about Chloe and Oliver. She told me that they were having some difficulty finding a family to feature for the show. They wanted to film in mid-March (at the new location in our town and at the site where they bake). The producers had hoped to find a family bringing their child home and could film the "airport welcome" and make a cake for the welcome party but they weren't finding anyone that knew they would be returning that week. She asked some more questions about the process of our adoption and when we expected our referral and when we thought we would travel. We spoke for about 15 minutes total and she said she would present our story and get back to us.

An hour later, I came home and my phone was ringing. She was calling back. She asked a few more questions to clarify. In total, she called about 4 times that evening. In our exchanges, I started to become aware that a lot of reality TV is not reality as it plays out, but staged reality. The producers were trying to figure out how they could use our family in the show and film in March, before we traveled to China. She asked if I would call her when we got our referral and she did seem genuinely excited for us. But, she also asked if we would tell our friends and family a white lie,  that we didn't get our referral and then tell them in March so there could be a big surprise to film. I didn't have to think about that one. It was a NO. I made it clear that it had been a six year wait, after the references friends and neighbors had given and the excitement in our family to be so close, I wasn't going to lie and tell people we didn't get our referral so a show about cakes could film the surprise. Sorry, maybe the cakes are good, but they aren't that good.

The next time she rang she wanted to know if we would keep the photo "secret" and not show it to our friends and family and then the show could film the big reveal of the photo. I think when you look back on past posts on the blog, you can see the answer to that question as well (considering Emma Claire's photo is all over the place now).

Nevertheless, I got an email the next day with a show questionnaire. I didn't think much about it, especially since the email arrived on the day we got our referral. I didn't respond to the email and about a week later the producer called and asked if we got our referral and if we could submit the questionnaire. I submitted the questionnaire a few days later and the producer called me to tell me the director wanted to set up a Sk*ype call with us and set up a date and time. On the day the call was to take place, I got an email from the producer with what I can best describe how an attorney prepares their client before they testify---be sure to mention this..., don't talk about that..., smile, eye contact, bubbly, tell a story about....

This is reality TV?

Matt and I had our Sk*ype call with the director. She was nice. She asked questions and recorded our answers so the other producers could see if we made good tv. She even redirected us if our answers didn't seem "excited enough". In total, it was a 15 minute video interview of us answering questions and telling out story of adoption, family, what cake we want made, etc.

The best part of the interview is when she asked us why we contacted the show and why our event was special enough that we thought we should be chosen for this honor (of having a cake made by a celebrity baker)?  She had to reshoot our answers, because our first response was, "You contacted us!".

All in all it was kind of bizarre and Matt and I shrugged after the video conference/interview was over and thought "what ever". It was kind of bizarre, especially with the redirection and some of the bizarre requests we were getting on keeping things secret and trying to stage our story.

This week later we got another call from a producer. The show likes our story and they are trying to see if they can rearrange their production calendar to film the episode around the time we expect to return home with Emma Claire.

We shall see what transpires and what more is asked of us.

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