I wanted to do a little mathematical break down for you today of how a reality show is filmed. I was going over it in my head, and I think it will be really helpful in conveying the complexity involved in assembling an hour of television.
For Amazing Wedding Cakes, we filmed over the course of a couple months, totaling I think 24 days in all. We shot on two cameras the entire time. Give or take, I saw 10 tapes a day go in and out of each camera for 20 tapes a day equaling 20 hours of footage.
20 hours of footage x 24 days = 480 hours
That means, with some extra filming here and there, WE tv had access to just shy of 500 hours of Merci Beaucoup in action.
Now let me start another equation. We are featured in 11 of the 14 episodes set to air for season 2 of Amazing Wedding Cakes. In each episode, 3 of the 4 cake shops (L.A., N.Y., CHI, & O.C.) are presented creating a cake. In a standard hour of television, about 44 minutes is actual program while the rest is commercials. We all know that too well don’t we! Taking out credits and those little animated bumpers between ads and cake shops, you get I’d say 42 minutes of cake time. That’s 14 minutes per shop per episode.
11 shows x 14 minutes per show = 154 minutes or 2 hours 34 minutes.
2 and a half hours of Merci Beaucoup will actually make it across your T.V. and into your homes this year. That seems like a lot doesn’t it? Well, not really. Not when you factor it up against the 480 plus hours of footage out there. That includes interviews, deliveries, decorating, all of what you see in the show.
I ask you give me the 500 hours just to make this math a little easier, okay? So, if we take 1 hour of television time and divide it into 100 hours it is what... 1% right? How about 200 hours, .5%. Half of a percent! That would mean 1 hour of 500 hours comes out to .2%!! So our 2 and a half hours equals approximately .5% of all the video that was shot!!
2.5 divided by 500 = .5%
Half of one percent of every inch of video tape we were exposed to will actually be used!!! Now that is amazing!! Even if they used 1% or 10% or even 25%, that is still almost nothing and hardly an accurate representation of what went into bringing these cakes to life. And the whole show! 2000 hours of footage shot for what amounts to under 11 hours of actual television. It is absolutely crazy when you think about it.
Imagine you went to Europe for a month, filming the whole wonderful experience on your camcorder. Sounds great right? But when you get back home, you only have a five minute highlight reel to show your friends. Mere seconds of the most beautiful art, landscapes, buildings, and culture. That is sort of what filming this show has been like and why we wanted to share even just a bare minimum more with you here on the blog, because the simple truth is, showing someone wash their hands is boring television.
Which is why I began running these numbers in the first place. Over at the We tv website, there is a lot of negative chatter from a lot of uninformed people about us, about the other shops, about everyone. Most of it has nothing to even do with the show or the cakes presented but come down to personal attacks. It must be easy to launch an anonymous attack from the safety of your couch. Fortunately, it is just as easy for me to debunk them from my comfy recliner.
See, those numbers above are much like the actual percentage of viewers as compared to those on the message boards. Boards are a notorious wasteland of petty, anonymous comments from a marginalized few. I thought it might be better on a network like WE as opposed to a bunch of dudes picking apart X-Men films, but it takes all kinds to make up an audience. I rest my case however, that the half a dozen bad eggs posting their hate amount to little more than a speck of dust in viewership.
The reality of reality TV is that a lot of hard work went into making Amazing Wedding Cakes, from the producers to the sound department and camera crew to Cake Girls, Christopher Garren’s Cakes, Cake Alchemy, and Merci Beaucoup and down the line to those poor editors with all that tape. It takes a village people and we thank all of you who have said so many nice things over the past few weeks and are enjoying the ride. Your numbers are far far greater and we appreciate it.
We love making cakes! We treat it like a party every time and make sure to have the most fun that we can. Nothing about our personalities is fake, we really are the way you see us. It’s cake! It is meant to be a celebration and I hope that comes through. Amazing Wedding Cakes is just a glimpse into what we do, and we’re glad you enjoy all one half percent of it. It is television after all, entertainment, so remember to have fun, we do!!
Oh, and trust me nitpickers, Marc washes his hands like every 10 minutes. I know, I buy the soap.