Exclusive clip, Q&A: Optomen, DIY Network reveal “Aloha Builds”

Ahead of the premiere of Discovery-owned DIY Network’s Aloha Builds today (Sept. 10), realscreen presents an exclusive clip of the 13-part series. Aloha Builds, produced by All3Media-owned prodco Optomen Productions, features a pair of ...
September 9, 2018

Ahead of the premiere of Discovery-owned DIY Network’s Aloha Builds today (Sept. 10), realscreen presents an exclusive clip of the 13-part series.

Aloha Builds, produced by All3Media-owned prodco Optomen Productions, features a pair of siblings who showcase the affordable side of island living in Hawaii. The native-born siblings David Jaime, a licensed contractor, and sister and designer Michelle Jaime source local materials and reclaim items to create décor for families on a budget.

Optomen U.S. president Maria Silver, SVP of development Ricky Kelehar and exec producer Brenton Metzler serve as EPs on the series.

Realscreen caught up with Metzler and Silver prior to the premiere of Aloha Builds to learn more about the series.

What are the origins of the series?

Brenton Metzler: Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth. People from all around the world dream of living there. When we found a talented brother and sister build team that was making those dreams become a reality, it really felt like a perfect combination for a remodel show that everyone would be drawn to.

What does this series do that separates it from other home reno shows?

BM: Both of our hosts are local Hawaiians that were born and raised on the island of Oahu. They encounter their fair share of distinct problems that builders only find on the island, but beyond that David and Michelle’s design sense and style have a uniquely Hawaiian flare. You’re going to see materials and ideas used in ways we haven’t seen.

They also incorporate traditional Hawaiian culture/design into a house, wherever they can. They’ve used traditional canoe lashings to help dress joints of carpentry, used lava stone tile
– lava was taken from the islands, as we would hate to anger Madam Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire – and used a breeze blocks design as inspiration for beautiful wooden room dividers.

Another great example is in the pilot for the series, where, to stretch the budget, David and Michelle used jalousie window panes as backsplash tiles for a kitchen.

Did you have any production challenges while shooting?

BM: The first season was incredibly tough to pull off. Everything in Hawaii is made slightly more difficult when it comes to remodeling these homes. From shipping costs and shipping times to material being more expensive, remodels take a lot of time and preparation. From a production standpoint, we dealt with mudslides, hurricane weather and a missile scare. It was a scary and amazing adventure with beautiful scenery to help alleviate the workload.

Did you use any cool new gear during production?

BM: With technology becoming more affordable in the camera world, we were able to get great production value without breaking the smaller budget of a show like this. We utilized a Ronin M camera gimbal unit to get our steady cam shots and we purchased a Syrp Motion Control to give our beauty shots that sleek look that really pays off for the renovations.

It appears that Optomen is new to the home reno genre. Why did you decide to tap into that space? And, will you be producing more in this genre?

Maria Silver: We received intel that the network was looking for a new, talent-led Hawaii based show, so fulfilling that brief was irresistible for us given the incredible location.

How does this show fit into Optomen’s slate?

MS: We have had a longstanding, successful relationship with Scripps over the years and produced many hours for both Travel Channel and Food Network, so it seemed natural to produce something in the home makeover space for them too.

Anything new that you encountered in shooting that you will use as takeaway for future projects?

BM: Shooting in Hawaii is almost like shooting in another country. Schedules and budgets work differently here. You’re thousands of miles away from any place that can ship to you and things work at their own pace there. You have to be twice as prepared and planned out as with any other production you might work on, and getting a good lay of the land before you start physical production is incredibly smart.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.