Have You Ever Been on a TV Show?

Today I got my daily temptation alert from the Hi Pointe Drive In, one of the best and most creative burger places in St. Louis. The alert was for a $5 version of their classic taco burger AND a notification that a television show (I think it was for the travel network) would be filming at the restaurant today. I was intrigued, so I convinced a friend to join me for lunch.

I can’t say that any amazing stories emerged from the experience, just a few observations:

  • It seemed like the restaurant was MUCH slower than usual due to the filming. I’m not exactly sure why, because the cameras were focused on the people, not the food. My friend theorized that maybe they thought a long line would look better in the background.
  • I was amazed by the sheer number of people required to film this style of TV show. There were around 8-10 people on the crew. Only 1 of them was ever on camera.
  • I was more self-conscious than normal while eating my burgers and conversing, just in case I was in the background of one of the shots. The table next to mine had a brief interview, so there’s probably 5 seconds of me with an entire lettuce leaf stuck to my cheek.
  • It’s fascinating to me that a 22-minute TV show needs so much footage. I think sometimes we forget when we’re watching TV that the show we’re watching is stitched together from dozens of hours of footage cut down to maximize entertainment value.

I’ve heard that when Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is filmed, a big space is cleared around the Seinfeld table so the cameras can move around it without bumping into customers. But at the same time, my sense is that the customers in the background are a crucial part of the setting, so they need to be there (plus, a restaurant can’t just shut down for the day to serve 2 people).

Have you ever been in the background while a TV show or movie was filming? What did you realize about “TV magic” from that experience.