TCT members, John and Terry O’Brien, will be part of a segment on the Travel Channel ” Big Time RV”. It is to be shown this Sunday night at 8 pm. I asked Terry if she would send me a piece on their experience as “reality” stars. Attached is her piece.
Congratulation to the O’Brien’s
Our little blue “Lost in the 60’s”, 1984 Casita trailer certainly draws attention as we travel down the road. People constantly take pictures and give us the 2 fingers (peace sign). It has put us on the cover and centerfold of a magazine and drew attention from the travel channel. A couple of years ago, after the magazine article was published, a producer from the travel channel met us at a music festival, we spoke for a while exchanged contact information and enjoyed the music. We didn’t hear again from this producer for almost a year. At that time she asked us if we could set up a 45 minute skype interview with a director from the production company. We did so, and laughed our way through the interview because we realized she was talking about a program on the Travel Channel pertaining to RV ’n. We are far from RV’ers. We still consider ourselves campers in the huge world of coaches. We guess the interview went well because a few weeks later we were in constant e-mail correspondence regarding our being part of a reality segment of Big Time RV. Contracts were signed and time, date and place for us to meet were set.. The dates conflicted with the TCT Annual Winter Convention at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville FL, but we decided to do the Travel Channel “challenge” and catch up with our fellow TCT’ers another time. We were to meet at Lazy Days RV dealership, camp ground in Seffner Florida. Lazy Days is overwhelming. It is the world’s largest RV dealership, it can accommodate rigs of all sizes for stays, has 3 restaurants and large swimming pool on the property, a huge repair shop and salespeople all over the place. On the day we were set to meet, we had just gotten off I-75 when we got a call from a producer of the show asking where we were. We gave him our location and he told us where to pull over at the next gas station and a crew would meet us. We pulled over and within minutes our car windshield was set up with cameras, microphones were attached to our clothing and we became instant reality show people. The camera crew followed and surrounded us on the roadways getting us to the RV park. We were led to a camp site to settle in for a few days, however, while we were “settling in” the crew had cameras and microphones going all the time. Our set up time is usually an hour, but this time it took over 3 hours. Everything we did from backing the trailer in, to hanging our tie dye drapes from our EZup was shot by camera 2 to 3 times till the director was happy with the scene. Setting up “camp” was exhausting and by 5:00 we had to remind the crew that it was “Happy Hour”. Well, here we went doing the happy hour thing for another hour and a half. John had to fill our martini glasses several times before the cameraman was happy. Needless, to say we finished 2 martinis each before the director was happy with the shoot. By the end of the scene shoot, we invited the crew to enjoy a drink with us. Their workday was over and we enjoyed sharing chips, dips and libations together. It was very interesting meeting these new, energetic, bright young people, some of them had vast cinematography backgrounds, even studying in exciting places around the world. The crew said they would be back at 8:00 in the morning. Well…..as Forrest can tell you, I don’t do 8:00 in the morning. I barely do 9:00 but I compromised and teased them that they had better bring a makeup artist to make me look alive, when I should be enjoying the last REM’s of last night. TCT’ers become Reality Show “Stars” for a few days courtesy of the Travel Channel At 9:15 we were set to Rock n Roll. We were explained the entire scripting for our segment. We were going to be introduced on camera to a sales person (who, by the way, looked just like Errol Flynn with the pencil thin mustache). The series was to be about different couples who were interested in buying coaches. We were asked if, hypothetically, we were to buy a new rig, what would be our budget and what criteria we would want in a new rig. We did not get to meet any of the other “reality show couples”, but we soon realized that our budget was much less than the over $100,000 budget of the other guests. So, we came to a figure of $50K. We were told the other guests were interested in large coaches with slide outs. We felt compact was better for us. The others were into the RV scene, we preferred vintage campers, without granite countertops or large flat screened TVs. Give us a campsite with a campfire and we are happy. So, our Errol Flynn “look alike” sales person drove us around in a golf cart for two days. We saw mobile units, trailers and even a vintage unit that needed restoration. Again, each scene had to be shot 2 to 3 times. There was a large shower in the first RV we were shown and I told John it could fit the two of us. The director picked up on that, had cameras set up in the shower and John and I had to go in and out of that shower several times before the scene was satisfactory to the crew. You will have to watch the show to see which unit we would have decided to buy, had we decided to sell our Casita. The Show will air in September and we’ll give a shout out on FB TCT site with information of time and date. Bottom Line is we had such fun and it was a great learning experience as to how these reality series work. The travel channel covered all our expenses including meals and we were given a $300 gift certificate at the RV store in Lazy Days. The crew was incredible, some even wore tie dye shirts in our honor the last day of the shoot. We asked if we could stay an extra day to recuperate from being reality show “stars” and they covered the cost of our site and said ENJOY YOURSELVES. What fun! Terry & John O’Brien, Silver Springs Florida