First of all, let’s clarify: what is the job of a senior creative producer?
I am the senior creative producer of reality shows at RTL, which means that I am responsible for most of the reality shows. The basic task of both the creative and the senior creative producer is to develop and supervise the entire content and arrangement concept, as well as to keep the budget framework.
It sounds like a complex task.
I will use a computer analogy: we are like the processor and the motherboard.
How long do creative producers work on a show?
From the first moment to the last. How long it takes depends on the show.
The Eden Hotel was it more or less?
We found out at the beginning of February Eden Hotelso from then on we can say that it has started, and we will finish the follow-up work in November.
Dating programs have been running on Hungarian commercial channels for more than twenty years, and it does not seem that their number will decrease in the near future. Why you might care the people is this format intact?
For the same reason that romance novels worked three hundred years ago: they actually do Eden Hotel also uses the principles described in them. But this is not a classic matchmaking game, since the characters can get together not only because of love, but also because of tactics. It’s more of a tactical game played by men and women, and the underlying dynamics between them shape what happens.
Basic theses of human nature and human instinct drive the threads, and it really is like a well-written novel or a great soap opera.
If you already mentioned the article: is it possible to deviate from the format of the purchased license?
The format of TV shows is not like a recipe that describes what it takes to make a dish. There are differences with every show, even though the license is the same. This stems from several things, it largely depends, for example, on the personality and habitus of the creator. Of course, we keep the basics: the show takes place in a hotel, a protected singles player always arrives, there is a couple selection ceremony, even though there are many variables that we cannot plan in advance.
The regularity of the ceremonies, the changes in the dynamics between the actors, the integration of the actors are all variables that cannot be planned, they are revealed during filming. Although I said that we don’t make a show based on a recipe, our work is still similar to that of chefs: we flavor and taste according to our own taste, and if we need more salt, pepper, coriander, we add spices.
If the recipe is different in every country, can’t lessons be learned from the criticisms and viewer feedback of foreign programs?
No. In Hungary, this is also difficult because, even for the most popular programs, we encounter terrible negative feedback on Facebook, for example. We don’t have any data from abroad that would allow us to know what can be said to be good in terms of viewer feedback.
From his words, I take it that they also throw a fit about this in the program production.
We won’t deal with what was mentioned before, but we don’t care at all about the feedback of the domestic viewers. It can also be interesting and instructive for us how a show performed in certain markets. THE Paradise Hoteli.e. it is Eden Hotel has been running for more than fifteen years in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. A popular show to this day.
A very similar program was broadcast on the competition in the past: it was a Money or Love. According to criticism, it was not a successful attempt. At the Éden Hotel, did they consider that this format is perhaps less popular at home than in Scandinavia?
It is a difficult genre, but the most exciting as a creator and viewer. I wouldn’t watch the competition’s show, it wouldn’t be elegant. However, the judgment of a reality show does not only depend on how many people will watch it. Be interesting to viewers who like, love the genre.
People stand behind each other as a tactic, they try to form alliances and expose others who like each other, they will see the approach of the other, or perhaps the fulfillment of a relationship. Viewers see how certain situations affect the nervous state of the characters and how they are changed in certain situations. It’s like a good series.
It can be argued that the evaluation of live-in reality shows is bad, but I would be more careful: in recent years, the tabloid media has gained and continues to gain an amazing readership from these shows. Those who look down on this genre, I think, do it out of a desire to conform to themselves.
How many applied for this year’s show?
We looked at about a thousand people, but more people applied. There were a thousand people at the casting, of which we invited five to six hundred people for the second round, and in the end we selected twenty-four people.
Have they all moved into the hotel, or are there reserves?
There are reserves, but we do not think it will be necessary to deploy them.
What makes a reality show character interesting?
I distinguish two types of characters in such a show: one, who is so interesting, suggestive and extroverted, expressive personality that he attracts attention, with a good joke and a good attitude, can quite simply be the center of the company. They are the ones around whom something is always happening, which makes them the protagonist. And if he also has a goggy next to him, then this game gives him the space to project the power inherent in his personality onto others and move the threads as he wants. There is another type who gets into a situation and becomes the main character by being good looking and sexy to the opposite sex.
We approached this show in such a way that we are looking for actors who are not fillers, but who are all main characters. I feel like I succeeded.
Did it work? So no one showed anything different inside the hotel than they had expected in advance?
There was someone we underestimated. There was no major inspection. We are shooting perhaps the most exciting reality show of the recent period.
Is there an exclusionary reason when selecting players?
It is a disqualifying reason if someone is overly aggressive, as the goal is not for anyone to fight here. Any mental problems or suicidal tendencies are excluded. These usually come out during castings.
Can you tell who is aggressive or suicidal?
I think yes. That is why we find out not only on the basis of our experience and our own judgement, but there is also a psychological examination. What’s more, there is also a psychologist crew member on site during filming. When we see that someone is being marginalized within the group and this has a bad effect on them, then we have someone to discuss this with who can consider the matter from a professional perspective. It is a basic requirement that the mental health of the actors is in order during the filming and also later when the show is on.
According to them, even after the recording of the show, the hands of the actors are not completely released. Do they deal with them afterwards?
It also depends on who experiences the shooting, but of course we are also prepared for follow-up. It is understood during this: if someone receives very, very bad comments on social media, we will monitor it, and if the actor wants to take advantage of this, there is the possibility of having a psychologist deal with the person.
What motivated the applicants? Money, love, fame?
Among those who came to the casting, there were those who just wanted to travel, but this is not RTL Tours, we do not send people out in a prize draw. I think it is important for every program to have motivation in the applicant. It doesn’t matter what.
None of them here would mind if they had more followers, if they could appear in other shows, if their name became associated with the streaming service.
Do you have a favorite character?
There isn’t. It’s not good if there is, since from then on you can’t observe the events objectively. The actors went through the casting process, everyone knows about us, the producers, who we are, and sometimes we even interview them.
How tactical and how emotional are the players’ decisions in the show?
Basic instincts cannot be ruled out. In the first couple of days, we had our first love story.
If someone wants to get off during the journey, what options do they have?
Of course, at any time for any reason. It is also included in the contract of the players that they can give up the game at any time.
I guess the question is often asked: how staged is the show? How much do they have a say in the way things are going from the outside?
No matter how much. It’s a competition.
If we had controlled the actors in these shows in any way in the last twenty years, then it would no longer be a competition. Nobody wants to play in a league where things are pre-arranged.
On the other hand, even actors often fail to play dramas or emotions that are difficult to convey with sufficient authenticity. If you were to say to civil actors, “Listen, Laci, Veronika should break up with you right now and get really, really out of it,” everyone would see that it’s not real. There are excellent screenwriters who have a very good imagination, but I believe that in reality shows – and that’s why I think this genre is wonderful – many times things happen that you wouldn’t be able to imagine, because you would say “oh, that’s too much “. And yet it happens.
Was there also a presenter casting?
We immediately thought of Dávid Miller. David is on the one hand X Factorhas already proven his ability, on the other hand, he has a long-term perspective. He can learn so much from him that he can practically become a versatile baseman. Among the female presenters, I think Aniko Nádai is good in this type of show, but she is at home with her baby now, so she could not be considered. Balázs Sebestyén and Bence Istenes are the ones who also know the genre, but due to other commitments, they could not participate.
Then Dávid Miller became the runner-up on an exclusionary basis?
No. RTL has invested a lot of energy in the search for new presenters in recent years. David is like that too. If I had a computer and cooking analogy, now I’ll use a gardening analogy: when you sow a seed, you just wait for it to sprout and produce flowers. And when he brought flowers, you were happy and showed it to everyone. Is it more understandable that way?
Not quite, but let’s move on. What was it like working with Miller?
Very good, Dávid is very enthusiastic and very talented. In addition, the show definitely sucked him in. He said he didn’t think there would be so many events in the first week.
(Our previous reports on the filming of the show can be read here and here.)