Project Runway Season 9 just started, and I will be rabidly watching every episode. I think you should too. Here’s why.
A few years back, I did a talk at NAB about one of the fundamental ideas in The DV Rebel’s Guide:production value. Specifically, that your film’s production value is not coupled to your budget. The example I gave is Project Runway, a show where designers compete to create beautiful clothing. Each designer is given the same budget to shop for fabric. They all have the same tools and the same amount of time. But often, when the finished garments are judged by Heidi Klum and her panel of fashionistas, only one or two of them earn this praise:
“That looks expensive.”
Project Runway is inspirational and good fun no matter what. It’s a weekly art contest, and unlike cooking shows, we viewers can actually appreciate the work. Watching people succeed and fail under pressure can be invaluable education for the director, who ultimately does their most important creative work on a tight timeline and in front of dozens of people. The show is downright classy by reality TV standards, and can even be supremely touching — I defy you not to cry watching last season’s custom patterns episode. But through all the laughter and tears and boobs, the show is also a great, ongoing reminder that it’s not what you spend. It’s not what tools you have. It’s what you do with what you got.