Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jun 7

Ask the Producer: White Room Challenge

Each week, I chat with Design Star‘s producer Loren Ruch about your most-asked questions from this week’s episode. This week, he talks about why the White Room Challenge is important and what it was like on set with Vanilla Ice. Plus: What happened to Candice?

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch with Design Panel

David, Producer Loren Ruch, Genevieve, Vern, Guest Judge Vanilla Ice

Some of the blog readers are unhappy with who went home this week. Why do you make the White Room challenge the one time that the rooms don’t have to be functional?
This is a good question and one that I get all the time. At HGTV we think that a true Design Star needs to be a Renaissance person — creative, artistic, out-of-the-box, in-the-box, personality plus, and likeable! Too much to ask for? Maybe…but our goal is really to create a star! The White Room Challenge is the only time in the entire Design Star season where we can see the true artistic creativity of a designer in a non-traditional environment.

You may wonder, “Why would you care about that?’ but honestly, in our design shows our hosts use out of the box thinking all of the time – and this is a way for us to test just how clever they can be in their designs. For example, David Bromstad is such an exciting designer because of the incredible creativity he exposed in his own white room in season one. As for the fact that some viewers were unhappy with who went home this week, I’m sorry that you didn’t like who our panel selected, but in my heart I feel like it was the right choice. Heck, even Jordan thought it was the right choice! He mentioned after the fact that he just couldn’t wrap his head around this one, and that his room didn’t showcase his true talents or abilities.

This question comes from Jo C on the blog: “As I was watching this first episode, I wondered how many cameras are being used at one time? Does each contestant have a camera? How many hours of film get cut for each episode?
Jo, you are the first person who has ever asked this question – I love that! On average, we usually have 9-10 cameras shooting at any given time, depending on where we are in the season. We have more cameras earlier in the season (when there are 12 contestants) than we do towards the end (when we might only have 4-5 cameras). There’s a producer who is assigned to covering each designer. They are not allowed to talk with the designers or stop the flow of their design process, but they are jotting down everything that happens over the course of the day so that when we get into the editing room weeks later we already know the moments that are the most important or significant. For example, a story producer may note something like “at 5:45 p.m. Luca signed his signature on the wall”, or “at 3:15p.m. Rachel hand painted a mural,” etc. As for how many hours we shoot, it’s non-stop from about 7am through 11pm. There is never a time that cameras aren’t running because we don’t want to miss anything significant at their home or on set, so there are literally hundreds of hours of footage for each episode.

Also, people are wondering: What happened to Candice?
We miss Candice terribly! We actually wanted her to be on the show again this year, but her shooting schedule for Candice Tells All prohibited her from doing it. She’s one of the most fun people you could imagine working with, and the only reason she wasn’t on this season was her incredibly busy life!

What was it like on set with Vanilla Ice? Any rapping on the set? Best moment?
Rob (aka Vanilla Ice) was so much fun to hang out with on set! What you see is definitely what you get, so we spent much of the time laughing. Even though you’d think that Vern and Ice would be polar opposites they got along incredibly well. We didn’t get to hear any rapping on set, but he did toss out a line from one of his old raps in the middle of evaluation and it cracked up the entire room – even the designers – who are usually super stressed out during that process.

Since the challenge was at Union Station, the public could see the designers working, right? Did they have to interact with the crowd at all? What was the crowd’s general reaction?
It was a challenge to shoot at Union Station for a variety of reasons, the most challenging was the fact that it’s basically the loudest place on Earth! Between trains, buses, helicopters, etc.,  we couldn’t go more than ten seconds without some sort of interruption. And then when you add the public walking through the middle of our challenge, it added a level of even more pandemonium, but in a fun and energizing way. The passersby seemed to be drawn more to some rooms than others, although their likes and dislikes were never discussed in front of the panel. I think a lot of people were scratching their heads at Stanley’s space, but many of them seemed to gravitate towards Rachel’s and Danielle’s in a positive way.

Have a question for Loren? Shout it out in the comments and he might just answer you next week.

Posted at 8:00 am

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  1. I would love to find out how to get the painting that Rachel made for her white room challenge. I didn't get to see the whole show but saw the end and loved the painting – did she make her self?

    Paige on June 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm
  2. I agree with Gary R when he suggested not revealing the designers of the white rooms until after the judges have decided on the best.

    Marylee on June 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm
  3. WOW!! I have to say Rachel did it again! She literally took my breath away. She was hands down the clear winner no one else even in the ballpark on this one! She has more talent in her pinkie than a couple of them have in their entire bodies. I hope you realize you've found the real deal with this girl…talent on top of talent. She is so down-to-earth you can't help but love her! So excited to watch tonight.

    Cherie on June 12, 2012 at 5:33 am
  4. I'm quite sure Kris J's request for a makeover was legitimate. She figured the family needed even more publicity so why not use D.S.? Skipping this episode.

    CharlesD on June 12, 2012 at 11:28 am
  5. The entire show should be judged anonymously, not just WRC!

    Guest on June 12, 2012 at 11:37 am
  6. I watch DS for the creativity, unique ideas, and how individuals respond to the task at hand. I do not watch to see the tension between contestants, the squabbles or the breakdowns. Please show more of the designs as they develop, let the contestants share their inspiration and and even explain their failures….we all learn from doing things over and frequently mistakes take us to places of genious.
    And by the way, who dresses David – he looked like a PeeWee Herman tonight.

    Sooz on June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm
  7. Loren, I don't really care for the camera challenge and hope that this fad soon goes away. I get that it's a requirement in order to have your own show, but I think we already see that as the contestants handle themselves. What I would really enjoy is to have interviews with the contestants that we can watch where they tell how much pressure they were under to finish, ways they came up with their inspiration, what the design means to them, and how they felt they compared to the other designer's. I would watch a 2 hour show if it took more time.

    David on June 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm
    • Definitely would watch a two hour show. Little enough design shows on HGTV as it is.

      donna on June 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm
  8. I trust the show that having David Bromstad as a host is a good move, and a progression. I can't wait until David Bromstad is a judge! David is so talented, and has so much to give. I think Meg would make a great Host!

    David on June 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm
  9. When will Meg's tv show episodes be posted on hgtv website? I keep waiting, and really like to see her enjoy herself on tv.

    David on June 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm
  10. Loren, I really would like to see the Design Star show extended to two hours. There is so much the viewers miss when it is condensed to one hour. Please give this some consideration.

    Marylee on June 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

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