Living the Dream

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Dream
/drēm/
a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.

On a serene Fall morning in 2003, I embarked on a journey that would shape not just my career but my entire approach to life. With stars in my eyes and a determination to make my mark, I set foot on set as a 2nd Assistant Director for a home pilot show, hoping the network would pick it up and catapult me into a long-running series. It was only my second day of a ten-day shoot. While I had some experience as an assistant director on commercials and second units, this was my big break into a television production that I knew would change my life. Little did I know that a chance encounter with a man named Conrad Ricketts would leave an indelible mark on my journey.

As I bustled about, ensuring everything was set for the day ahead, I noticed a handsome gentleman casually taking out the trash a few steps ahead of me. Instinctively, I rushed over to relieve him of the chore, but his response stopped me. “No way,” he chuckled, “I am living the dream, and this is part of it.” Those words, spoken with such conviction, resonated deep within me, challenging my perception of work ethic and dedication.

I am living the dream, and this is part of it

Introductions followed, and I learned that the humble man before me was none other than Conrad Ricketts, one of the executive producers listed on the call sheet. In that fleeting moment, he imparted a lesson that would stay with me for life – no task is beneath anyone, and each role in the production process is integral to the collective dream we pursue. I often recount this story, particularly to those new to the industry, as a testament to the importance of humility and teamwork.

Conrad on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Throughout the pilot shoot and many episodes, Conrad exemplified his philosophy, going above and beyond his designated role. He embraced tasks large and small, from dog-sitting to neighborhood watch, demonstrating a commitment to the project that inspired those around him. Every day, he reminded us that he was “Living the dream.” His dedication left an indelible mark on me, shaping my ethos as a producer. Reflecting on that pivotal moment on set, I’m reminded of the importance of respect and gratitude. Respect for the contributions of every individual on a production team and gratitude for the opportunities that come our way, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

2003: Conrad dog sitting as wait for the cameras to stop filming

Despite the challenges over the various seasons and 3 specials I was a part of, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition remains one of the most cherished chapters of my career. It was a journey marked by both triumphs and tribulations. Still, through it all, Conrad profoundly shaped me through the experiences and examples he led, in addition to the remarkable individuals I had the privilege to work alongside. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Conrad, Tom Foreman, Mark Rains, Rob Day, and the entire team for entrusting a young 20-something producer with such a monumental undertaking. In hindsight, I realize that I was once a young, ego-driven producer, but it was on that show that I learned invaluable lessons. From mastering the art of building a house in seven days and nine hours to honing my ability to craft compelling narratives that transcend mere television moments, each challenge propelled me toward growth. Moreover, I discovered the importance of resourcefulness and the art of building genuine relationships in the communities we touched long before the era of Google searches and instant gratification. Above all, working alongside Conrad Ricketts on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition served as a poignant reminder to never lose sight of one’s dreams and to remain steadfastly grateful for every step of the journey.

…each challenge propelled me toward growth.

2003 The pilot episode of ABC’s, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

In the fast-paced realm of Hollywood, paths diverge, and opportunities ebb and flow. Though I never had the chance to work with Conrad again, his influence endures as a beacon of integrity and professionalism in an industry often characterized by flux.

Reflecting on that pivotal moment on set, I’m reminded of the importance of respect and gratitude. Respect those I report to and for the contributions of every professional individual on a production team. I am grateful for the opportunities that come our way, whether small or insignificant.

In honoring the legacy of Conrad Ricketts and the invaluable lessons gleaned from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I am reminded that true success lies not merely in attaining goals but in the journey itself. As I continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of television production, I carry with me the enduring spirit of camaraderie, resilience, and unwavering dedication instilled by Conrad and the countless individuals who have shaped my path. Through their collective wisdom, I am reminded that to live the dream is not merely to achieve but to embrace each moment with humility, grace, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. I hope you all are “Living The Dream.” 

Conrad Ricketts”Living The Dream”

Update: As I conclude this blog post, I’m thrilled to share a heartwarming update. I had the privilege of sharing this piece with Conrad Ricketts, and I’m delighted to announce that he has graciously given his blessing for me to tell this story. Knowing that Conrad supports and acknowledges his impact on my journey fills me with immense gratitude. He is still “Living The Dream.”

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