I first discovered Flea Market Flip a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorites. Saturday morning marathons on HGTV would have me glued to the TV. It was spring of last year when I happened to stumble across a random Facebook post saying that FMF was casting for their next season. With no expectations whatsoever, I decided to shoot off an email to the casting agency and I heard back right away. My teammate (my fiancé Mitch) had to complete a lengthy questionnaire, and after that was sent, we heard back that the agency had picked us to move forward with an audition! This was super exciting, but I still had no expectation of being chosen as a contestant.
The audition took place over Skype with the casting director. I’ve never auditioned for anything in my life, but I know have a newfound respect for actors who can put themselves through that experience again and again.
So, our first audition kind of flopped- we had technical issues and needed more design pieces to showcase. But, as luck would have it, they gave us another shot. This time we were way more prepared. It happened to by the same time the Brimfield Antique Show was in town, so off we went to find some pieces to “flip”. I whipped up a repurposed chair and Mitch crafted a crate footstool project. A few short days later we were back on for another audition with the same casting director. Everything went well and all we could do was wait for a response. About 2 weeks later, on Memorial Day Weekend, I was in the middle of shooting a wedding, and that’s when the email came through- we were chosen as contestants for Flea Market Flip! It was so hard to contain my excitement. There were so many things to think about, and not much time to prepare! Luckily, before our first filming day, I did have a chance to talk with the producer about all the ins and outs of how the day would go in terms of filming, interviews, and our potential flip projects.
Filming is split up into three different days. We were told our first filming day (“Buy Day”) would be over Fourth of July Weekend at the Stormville Flea Market in Stormville, NY. Since you are required to stay in a hotel the night before Buy Day (call time for filming is 5:45am sharp!), we drove a good 2 hours to the hotel they booked for us, quickly found an all-night diner and went back to the hotel to toss and turn until my alarm hit 4am. I think I got a maximum of 2 hours of sleep that night. My mind was racing and nerves got the best of me. So, please take pity when you see the bags under my eyes on your high-def TV screen.
Arriving on “set” was so surreal. It felt like I was living someone else’s life. There were dozens of camera crew members and producers, and everyone was SO nice and down-to-earth. We arrived along with several other teams all filming different episodes that day. There is a lot of “down time” while you are not filming, so we got to know the other teams pretty well- even our competitors! We loved meeting everyone, they were so fun to be around.
Filming was… difficult. It really requires a certain amount of acting skills for sure. You film your interviews at different times throughout the day. You also take your “hero” shots- photos that they use in the intro of the show. We did some spins and dips and who knows if any of that will make the cut! The camera guys from Reel Media were so awesome at trying to make us feel at ease. We loved working with them!
On our “Flip List” were three challenges: Twisted Traditional, Symmetrical Design, and Entertainment. We were given the messenger bag with $500 cash inside, and if you’re wondering if you really do have only one hour to buy your three flip pieces- you do. For the most part. Some times more,
some times less, but each team gets the exact same amount of time to make it fair. Luckily, we found our pieces pretty quickly and got some good deals. Having Lara Spencer walking with us might have helped us get a good price, but I’d like to think my bargaining skills shined through.
So a sunny day July in the middle of a big field gets pretty hot. You can probably tell which parts of the Buy Day were filmed at the end of the day (hello humidity), but everyone did their best to keep us cool during the 12 hour day. The crew even brought us iced coffee in the middle of the day (did we just become best friends?). We wrapped up our interviews, chatted with the art team on the direction of our flip pieces, and finally drove the long ride home to Massachusetts.
Our workshop day was August 2nd. From July until now, we spent hours deciding on the final direction of our pieces, and buying all of our supplies to accessorize with the extra $100 we were given for embellishments. We drove down to Stamford, CT and started filming at 9am. Workshop Day was by far the hardest day. Since a lot of the day is spent in interviews, you really have less than a day to repurpose three different furniture pieces. It’s a good thing we had the help of the workshop crew to lend us a hand (HUGE thanks to Cija and Dave- our two “master craftsmen” who were a big help).
Even with the two crew members, and an extra set of hands (you’ll see), we still struggled to finish on time. It was a little weird working right next to our competitors but it gave us the chance to scope out their pieces and size up the competition. We of course were encouraged to trash talk them for the cameras, but they were such nice people it made it hard! Lara Spencer gave us some advice on our projects and we finally wrapped up around 7pm. Mitch and I left the workshop covered head to toe in sawdust and paint. I can’t wait to see that on the big screen…
On August 7th, before the sun was even up, we drove the 3 hour drive straight down to NYC to get ready to film our final day of Flea Market Flip. Call time was 8:30am at Grand Bazaar NYC.
We unpacked our refurbished pieces and added some staging items. We shared a tent with our competition, so it was easy to know how well each other were doing, although neither of us knew how much the other team spent.
Mitch and I were really happy with how our pieces came out… but how did the buyers in NYC like our pieces? Well you will just have to tune in to GAC Sunday nights to find out! We do not have an exact air date yet, but it will likely be late April (look for episode 6 on season 9!). I will update the time as soon as it is announced at http://www.greatamericancountry.com/shows/flea-market-flip/episodes.
And that’s a wrap!
Hi, loved your post…I’m trying to sign up to be a contestant but I’m having a hard time finding out how to do it. Do you have any tips how I can contact someone or website I sign up on.? Thanks for your time.
Thanks! The application/casting is done through Sammi Mendenhall Casting.
I think the amount allowed to purchase items should be lowered from $500. To $200. The contestants really don’t have a challenge because the $500. Isn’t theirs and many of them just spend not caring about prices also sellers are aware the contestants have $500. So many of them jack their prices way up . Some of it I just shake my head in disbelief . I love this show but please lower spending money to $200. And make it more of a challenge , more interesting and sellers not taking advantage of some of your naive or just not caring about prices contestants . Thank you jean Bell
I don’t think (just my humble opinion) that they should get a set $500 every time for the reason Jeanette mentions, the sellers know how much they have. I think (humble opinion) that the amount the contestants get should vary. Change it up and down randomly. Sellers won’t know what they have and contestants won’t know, until they’re told, what they’ll have to work with.
4 Comments on Our Experience on Flea Market Flip!