For this month’s Wyler Works: Challenges of a Third Season as told by the Executive Producer of “It’s How You Get There” on History.
From the title of this blog many of my friends in production will say, “Max, you are complaining about having a successful show with multi-seasons. What is your problem?”
Yes, it sounds a little bit like whining and not being grateful but there are problems that come with success. In a motor arena, one of those that happen is…
“How many interesting machines are there that people want to see in action?”
We ran into a similar problem with four seasons of South Beach Classics on Velocity, it was all about classic cars and when you are talking classic cars the king of ratings are: Mustangs, Camaros, 50’s Chevy’s
So how many of those can you show before it all starts looking and feeling the same? With “It’s How You Get There” we are very fortunate with the dramatic change that is taking place in both the car and truck market, as well as the recreational vehicle market.
Electric Vehicles Making Waves and Change
We have only touched the surface of the new electric car brands as well as electric motorcycles and a huge amount of pretty cool trucks and RV’s. With the population growth of new products, the challenge is picking the winners and not the losers.
Our talent is great. Julian, Jenn and Sam are really good, and that non-scripted word that I hear a million times when pitching, “Authentic.” They are authentic at finding the good things about any product but as Executive Producer, I have to make sure that the products they are driving allow them to be authentic (there is that word again) and trusted.
I cannot expect to bring in the Yugo (for those of you younger readers this is a reference to an old very bad car built-in Czechoslovakia in the ’80s) of electric cars and expect our talent to make the show interesting. It goes for the backdrops as well, we can’t have the new generation of Corvette being driven in New York City or any other place that does not allow our talent to get the real feel for the vehicle and share that with the viewer.
Another challenge with a successful series is that if you have a weakness in your talent and you have not been able to develop their character it really shows in multiple seasons. We are really fortunate that our talent has those developed characters– by skill or luck or my personal favorite reason, the great work of me. At first, Julian’s “seat of the pants approach” of crashing and breaking stuff and ultimately losing all the competitions seemed like an issue, with both me and our insurance company. But it has worked very well as a match with Jenn’s “totally prepared” approach and Sam’s “I am going to win” demeanor.
And the most important thing? Each of our people really likes each other. I have done this for a while now and when talent does not like each other– it shows. Our talent even hang out with each other in their free time and they even hang with us crew guys too. Can you believe it!?
So three seasons are in the can or in this case on Amazon Prime after their run on History.
So what will season 4 look like?
I think it will be very “electric” and technology will rule the vehicles we select. Kris Zeisler, Executive Producer and in charge of getting a great product and locations and his team are going to have their hands full. My crystal ball tells me that Toyota has some really cool stuff to showcase as well as several companies with electric pick-up trucks!
After my crystal ball evaluation, I thought about if I could have everything I want in one episode what would that show look like.
I asked myself last season that question. And that resulted in our Bondurant High-performance Racing School episode. This episode included the full line of Dodge performance vehicles including the Dodge Challenger SRT 717 horsepower Hellcat and all their sport models of the Durango and Charger. I have always liked the look of the Mopar stuff when I was growing up. I then wanted a great track where we could really get a feel for the power. And lastly, I wanted to have our talent taught new driving techniques by a famous driving school.
And by God Kris made it happen.
This season, I have a vision that goes back to my high school years and the Toyota Supra’s of that time. They were great cars and it would be interesting to get our hands on the current versions as well as the new generation of Toyota off-road trucks. I want the backdrop to be the Las Vegas Desert! We shall see! As I get overwhelmed with the destination of season 4, I calm myself down by remembering the show’s tagline.
“It’s Not the Destination, It’s How you Get There”
Same thing with producing the show!