Thursday, May 3, 2012

House Hunters International in Malta: Filming

Filming outside of the Remax Malta offices in Spinola Bay, St. Julians

If you missed instalment one of three of our House Hunters International story, go back and read yesterday's post here. And if you live in the United States don't forget to tune in for our episode tonight on HGTV at 10:30 pm & 1:30 am EST.

I don't want to ruin the 'magic' of TV so I'll be omitting some logistical details of the TV show in the next couple of posts. But if you absolutely must know how everything works you can read about fellow blogger Erin, who filmed an episode of HHI in Berlin this winter as well. I'll just say that, obviously, we saw more than three properties before finding the right one.

We were lucky to be able to work with Lorraine Bonnici of Remax Malta, who was fantastic in finding us the perfect flat to rent and was such a good sport about the filming process. We filmed in Malta with a British director, camera man, and sound guy, and a French expat who acted as our man-on-the-ground. The crew was really, really good to work with, and we had a lot of fun with them (thanks, guys!) They were full of stories and jokes and, despite being away from home and working with a vigorous filming schedule, were always very helpful and good natured about coaching us through everything. And boy, did we need coaching.

We aren't professional actors. My last acting class was when I was about 10, and Mike throughly butchered his role as Vince Fontaine in our high school's production of Grease. As we've said before - reality TV is 10% reality and 90% amateur acting. So a big thank-you to our crew and our agent, Lorraine, for being so patient with us. You guys rock.

Over the course of three days we saw three properties with Lorraine and the crew. We also toured around the island, filming 'fillers' like scenes of us walking along the seaside, eating Maltese rabbit at The Chophouse (one of our favourite restaurants, whose staff is always so kind to us - thank you!), playing with the dogs, and exploring Mdina.

Kudos to people who work in the TV and film industry full time - it is tiring. We were absolutely exhausted at the end of every filming day, which was normally only 6-8 hours long for us, and much longer for the crew. The strangest thing about filming was wearing the same outfits - and makeup and hairstyles - for the entire shoot. This was something I wasn't warned about ahead of time. Otherwise I wouldn't have signed up for wearing a tight bun and short dress for three days straight (yes, it's a Mediterranean island, but January is still cold here). Lucky Mike with his short hair and easy clothing...

Just like when we were filming in Halifax, we got a lot of stares in Malta. Some people even followed us around a bit, and many people were covertly (or openly) snapping our photo. It was weird. 

On to the properties. Like I said, we looked at many more than just three properties before we found the right one. Working with Lorraine we viewed an amazing flat in Valletta, several flats in the Sliema and St. Julian's area, and a few apartments in Gzira and Floriana. On the TV show it looks like we only looked at super modern flats, but in reality we actually looked at a mix of both traditional, old Maltese homes and modern flats. In the end, we filmed the modern flats as they were much easier to get permission to film in. 

Would we ever live in an old, Maltese home? Sure, but not right now. We lived in a centuries old Victorian home in Halifax, which scared us off of renting or purchasing old homes for awhile. The upkeep on old Maltese homes doesn't fit with our lifestyle right now. But who knows what the future will bring!

As in Halifax, we also filmed many individual and group interview scenes, and had to repeat lines and scenes to get them right. The dogs were, as always, stars. Although Winnie stole the show as Ellie got tired of working it for the camera and had to go to bed. 

And without further ado, photos of filming snapped on my iPhone, including some of the properties we viewed but didn't end up filming for the show.

Stick around tomorrow for the big reveal!

- Jess

filming in malta at the penthouse in gzira

filming in malta at the flat with the view in madliena (we're pausing for the noisy cement truck to roll by) 
a flat in floriana we viewed but didn't end up filming at

a beautifully restored maltese townhouse in valletta that we viewed but didn't end up filming at

the townhouse in valletta we viewed but didn't film at

mike filming a one-on-one interview at the flat we filmed at in sliema 
the flat we filmed at in madliena with the sea view

filming at the pool at the flat in sliema (with the coolest crew ever)

down time between interviews at the flat we filmed at in madliena

14 comments :

  1. These homes are SO beautiful! Can't wait to see the one y'all chose! It sounds like it really was a great experience for y'all!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you know if the episode will be available in Malta, or online?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! We've written a handy note about how to watch our episode, wherever you live, here: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=229107107197880&id=217066831735241

      Delete
  3. I came across your blog a couple months ago and it's been in my Favorites list ever since! In 2007, I had a brief/accidental 6-hour layover in Malta en route to Sicily, and it's fun to view the tiny island through your eyes - even though I didn't really get to explore it! I'm so excited for your HHI episode to air in the states tonight!!! I'll be tuning in at 10:30pm EST and can't wait to see what you guys chose! Love the blog, the pups, and the adventures. Keep it up :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words Allison - you are the sweetest! Can't wait to hear what you think about our episode!

      Delete
  4. Cannot wait to see this! My husband and I are huge House Hunters fans especially the International series. We'll be watching from the East Coast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna! Can't wait to see what you think:)

      Delete
  5. We run past that flat in Madliena every time we go for a run--I always have wondered what it was like! We live very close to it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so neat! Ah you runners, I admire you. How do you do it in the summer?

      Delete
  6. We only started running last November, so we have yet to survive a summer! We did the Malta half-marathon in February--was an awesome experience, but gotta admit--I kinda hate running. A LOT...(partly because the dogs at the restaurant in Madliena down the hill from that flat terrify me!!)Haven't seen your episode yet, but love Tigne Point! If we didn't have kids; we would probably be there, too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You picked the PERFECT place! It is so adorable and seems like a great space. I hope to visit Malta next summer. Love your blog and can't wait to follow along!

    http://mckenzieadelaide.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh, thanks! We think so too. It certainly feels like home.

      You definitely should visit Malta! Have a look around our blog for some inspiration if you're stumped about what to do while you're here :) And thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  8. It is so fun to read about your experiences with HHI! My hubby and I were filmed in Serbia and Belgium for it earlier in the year and our episode will be on in a couple of weeks. We are sort of nervous and excited to see the finished product. I will look through your next HHI post to see if I can view your show. :)
    Lana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lana! Thanks for popping by. That's so exciting! I would love to see Serbia someday.

      Unfortunately it's a bit tricky to view HHI episodes online outside of the US/Canada, but sometimes they make it to YouTube. But HHI did provide us with a DVD (we've only ever watched it twice!)

      Good luck! And I'm clicking over to your blog now :)

      Delete

Talk to me. I love to hear from you.