Melissa Smith: interning on Love It or List It (week 2)

Back in October our NSI Lifestyle Series Producer students blogged about each day of their bootcamp training. The next step in the course is an eight-week internship on a lifestyle series. We’ve asked our students to write a weekly post about their experiences.

Melissa Smith, Big Coat Productions, interning on Love It or List It


Melissa has been a member of the Big Coat Productions team for the past five years. During this time she’s fulfilled many roles and is currently acting as the on-set producer for the Gemini nominated W Network series Love It or List It.

Another exciting week in the world of Love It or List It and my apprenticeship! I love learning; learning about absolutely anything new leaves me feeling invigorated. With the apprenticeship I find myself excited to go to work each day with the prospect of learning more about a given subject, learning about something completely new, and interacting with members of the team I previously had limited contact with.

The role of the series producer is to oversee all aspects of production and must therefore have an understanding of the objectives and challenges of each department in order to make informed decisions that result in the best possible outcome for the series.

One of the most beneficial aspects of this apprenticeship is that I feel free to ask questions of the staff/crew around me. I think my co-workers may be starting to wonder if I’m writing a book! When the time is right I like to check in with my co-workers about what their tasks are for the given day, what challenges they may be facing and what could be done to help assist them in the future. I find this a great tool in comprehending each person’s role, the perspective from which they approach things and identifying potential improvements/efficiencies to the production infrastructure.

I had the opportunity to discuss scheduling and budgeting with Maria Armstrong the executive producer of Love It or List It and co-owner of Big Coat Productions. The topic of discussion was the pros and cons of adding a second camera to various shoot days. As I observed Maria work out the dollar-to-time value ratio of adding a second camera I knew I was truly watching a professional in their element. She intuitively knew the impact a second camera would have on post-production, daily scheduling, host performance, budgeting etc. I only hope to one day have the experience level that lends itself to such informed decisions.

My week wrapped up with a story meeting for a new episode. Our casting department has done a great job and I am eager to begin filming next week and continue the creative development of this particular episode.

About Love It or List It

Love It or List It is a real estate and renovation show featuring interior designer, Hilary Farr and real estate agent, David Visentin. While designer Hilary attempts to win over the homeowners by renovating their current home, real estate agent David tries to find them the home of their dreams. Once all work has been completed and all potential homes have been viewed, couples must decide whether to love their homes or list them.

NSI Lifestyle Series Producer is made possible by Program Partners Shaw MediaCorus Entertainmentand Bell Media; Supporting Sponsors Cineflix MediaPaperny EntertainmentFrantic FilmsRTR Media Inc.Big Coat ProductionsCellar Door ProductionsArchitect Films and Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA).

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