Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GIMME SHELTER, PART 2 - "The Writer Gets the Story"

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Designing Spaces Head Writer Trent Meeks, in blue shirt, at the reveal show.
Trent Meeks loves his job. For over 10 years, the college lit major has been head writer at Designing Spaces TV. While Trent scripts a ton of individual 6 minute segments about products or services that offer solutions to common household problems, these multi-part emotionally compelling "Spaces of Hope" series give him an opportunity to string his words for a cause. Creating a storyline that pairs willing and generous partners with grateful recipients feels especially rewarding.

For the current "Spaces of Hope" show, Trent jump-started the creative process in Joy Stewart's backyard where he and Joy spent the better part of an afternoon chatting. Trent did not bring a recording device, nor did he sit opposite Joy scribbling down notes. He listened intently with the primary goal of making Joy feel relaxed and comfortable enough to share her personal story. "There are things I learned that are not in the show. Joy is reliving things that are quite painful." he says. Later, he would return to the office and start outlining the main points.

Trent works closely with director Carl Smith (center) who keeps the action moving along.
While each Designing Spaces Dream Team member has a specific role, these two and three-part shows are huge collaborations. Trent, along with the director and executive producer, organize the storyline.   they must give air time to the show's partners while and making sure to capture the emotional angle too. In this particular series, an abbreviated list of players includes non-profits such as Rebuilding Together and Kids in Distress, the Broward County Sheriffs Office, plus national manufacturers such as Standard Furniture, Dow Chemical, and Sleep Pro Bedding, and local retailers such as Tuesday Morning and Budget Blinds.

Joe Campbell is Designing Spaces chief construction guy.
Furniture will soon be unpacked

Volunteers keep the progress moving along.
Trent and his colleagues set the pace so that the story unfolds proportionally between all 3 episodes. They set the stage, explain the problem, and then work on a solution. Since this is a renovation project, the first show tackles some of the structural issues with latter episodes focused more on decorating. Trent acknowledges that the biggest challenge is maintaining a balance between all show components so they work in conjunction and don't feel forced, canned, or gratuitous. He's got to get the commercial messages of the show's partners across, while entertaining and enlightening the audience
Trent provides the show's hosts with a basic script which they can personalize.
Basically, Trent's got to keep everyone talking  -- including the show's hosts Debi Marie and David Jones with whom he has worked for a long time. Trent knows their best points. He provides parameters for setting the scene but never makes them "slaves to my verbiage." Trent says, "They take it and make it ther own."
Trent Meeks has a pretty cool career and he's done a really fine job with this show.

Part 2 airs Thursday a.m. at 76:30 AM on Lifetime.
To see Part 1 featuring Joy Stewart, click here.

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