Going Behind The Scenes: Extreme Makeover

October 13, 2007

Going Behind The Scenes – Norwalk Hour – Saturday, October 13, 2007
Norwalk company produces DVD that takes a look at the hundreds of volunteers who make an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project work.

By Chris Bosak – Hour Staff Writer

NORWALK, CT – The long-awaited Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode featuring the Brown family from Bridgeport will air at 8 p.m. this Sunday on ABC. The show’s designers and team leader Ty Pennington will have the lion’s share of the spotlight during the hour­long program.

In reality, it takes thousands of volunteers to get the project completed in such a short amount of time. To recognize the tremendous efforts of those behind-the-­scenes volunteers, Norwalk-based production company Palace Digital Studios has filmed and produced – on a volun­tary basis, of course – a DVD focusing on the volunteers.

The DVD, entitled “Building Your Extreme Dream,” will be distributed to the Brown family and some of the volun­teers who worked on the project. The Brown family and Gulick Associates, a New Canaan-based construction compa­ny that was the main contractor for the project, are having an invitation-only air­ing party at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport for the people who volun­teered.

“The TV show focuses on the crew that works for ABC and the family;” said Mau­reen Connelly; Vice President of Opera­tions for Palace Digital Studios. “Viewers don’t see much of what the volunteers do. These people are working 24 hours a day. We wanted to focus on the heart and soul of the project – what the volunteers go through. This is more of a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers.”

Several local businesses volunteered time, staff and products to help with the project. The Brown family of Bridgeport was selected to receive a new “extreme dream” home to replace their flood and fire damaged house. Gulick Associates, the ABC design team, and the volunteers had one week to tear down the old home and build and new one. The home was completed on August 1.

For the DVD, Palace Digital Studios, according to Connelly; pared down more than 60 hours of footage to 30 minutes. The company donated staff time and services to shoot, produce . and duplicate the DVD.

“We thought it was ·important to show what actually happens behind the scenes,” said Connelly; who was also the executive producer of the DVD. “It means a lot for people to help other people. It takes the whole community.”

Connelly said the DVD will not be for sale to the general public because every­thing involved with making the DVD was donated.

Even the music for the DVD was donat­ed by local bands Liquid Carousel and Warrior Poetes.

Palace Digital Studios, located within the historic Palace Theater in downtown South Norwalk, provides audio and video production and post production, comput­er graphic design and animation, and multimedia production services to the area’s top advertising agencies, broad­cast and cable TV networks, corporations and independent producers.

Palace is also headquarters for Rabbit Ears Entertainment, publisher of more than 60 classic children’s stories on broadcast and cable TV, as well as dis­tributed on home DVDs, video and audio tapes and books.

“We are delighted to volunteer our time and video production services to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” said Wendy Lambert, president and chief operating officer of Palace Production Center and Palace Digital Studios.

Palace Digital Studios, a Norwalk-based production company, has filmed and produced a DVD that takes a look at the hundreds of local volunteers who work behind-the-scenes on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Shown (left to right): Maureen Connolly, executive producer of the DVD and vice president of operations at Palace Digital Studios; Ben Churchill, producer; and Francis Sheehan, online editor.