Behind the scenes at the first Ottawa Experts: Real Estate show!

As you know, I’m hosting a new TV show on Rogers TV Cable 22 in Ottawa. It’s called Ottawa Experts: Real Estate and every three or four weeks, guests will join me to talk about things like the challenges of downsizing, getting your home ready for sale, investing in real estate, and so on. Last night was the inaugeral show in the series, and I have to say, it was a bit chaotic.

We had decided that the first show should be a kind of primer on real estate: I called it Real Estate 101. I was initially to be joined by York Polk of Mortgage Brokers Ottawa, but York ended up dealing with some unexpected health issues, so Cathy Macdonald, a colleague, stepped in. She did the pre-show practice with me and worked with me to develop an outline.

But Cathy emailed me around 3 PM yesterday to say she had a family emergency and couldn’t come. This set off a flurry of calls and emails while I tried to find another replacement for the show, which was set to air live at 8 PM.

Luckily, Matt Nesbitt, a mortgage specialist with TD Canada Trust, was able to join us, but he hadn’t done the pre-shows with us, and was a bit nervous about how things would go. So I met with Matt and  real estate lawyer Mark Arbique (my other guest) early in the Green Room to talk about what I had planned.

That was when I discovered we had a whole new production crew from the people we’d worked with.  And when we got to studio, a few minute before the show was to start, we discovered my ear bud (the equipment that allows me to hear the producer calling the countdown for breaks) wouldn’t fit in my ear.

We tried another one. When it was inserted,  my own voice became magnified, as if I was underwater. So we decided to use floor signals instead, which I was fine with, as we’d done these during the pre-show practice. This means that someone stands next to the camera and uses hand signals to let me know how much time I have left to breaks. Crossed arms for 30 seconds, a straight arm held high in the air for 15, and then a five second countdown to soft closes (commercial breaks) or the hard close (the end) by counting down on their fingers.

The problem was that there was no extra person available to take on that role. The producer asked the cameraman to do it, but the cameraman, who had never done countdowns before, was very nervous at the idea. More nervous, in fact, than my guests were at being filmed.

And so we finally agreed that if he simply did the five second count instead of the 30-15 count, that should be fine.Somehow, however, that morphed during the show, into his simply waving frantically at me to tell me I was out of time. If you watch the show (it will be replayed next Monday at  8 PM) you’ll see Matt jump at one point where that waving (and some unexpected sounds) startled him.

An errant fly in the studio was another distraction: Mark couldn’t take his eyes off it. I was afraid he would whack it. And Matt was stifling a sneeze the whole time.

Afterwards, all I could do was laugh. Murphy’s Law, which I always knew applied to real estate deals, applies to TV shows about real estate too, it seems.  We hit the Clocktower Pub after for a much-needed beer and debrief.  

All that aside, the discussion was great (although we didn’t have any callers on what was supposed to be a call-in show). Nice to see this feedback on Twitter from Ottawa viewer, Bev Chene: ” @peggy blair Informative discussion on Real Estate 101 on #OttawaExperts tonight. Valuable info for homeowners; congrats on your tv debut.”

Thanks, Bev! Glad you enjoyed it, and for the rest of you, tune in next Monday at 8 PM and see if you can pick out our flubs!

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