In between the many different projects April has going, we were able to ask her (via email) a bit about Assembly Required, a new TV show premiering on the History Channel tonight. In addition to April, the show stars legendary TV tool guys Tim Allen and Richard Karn.
Tell us about the show.
We filmed 10 episodes for season 1 and every episode brings in three new contestants. The three competitors are all sent the same package of materials ahead of time so that when the judges say to start the first challenge, they open their package and start building. They then have 90 mins to build whatever the judges asked them to build….it varied from a flashlight, to a fire extinguisher, to a dog door! At the end of 90 mins, everybody puts down their tools and the three are judged on what they have, from there, one gets eliminated and two go on to compete in a 5 day challenge where they are tasked with a large more complex build. A winner is picked from the two and that person gets a prize package from a sponsor and also a $5,000 reward.
Did contestants use their home shops? Was there a home shop advantage?
The contestants were originally suppose to come to LA and build off in person but with COVID the show instead left the contestants home and allowed them to work in their home shops. Only building material from the packages could be used for the builds however they were able to use any machines or work tables in their shops. I definitely think it was a plus. I know I would be able to get a lot more done in my own shop versus somebody else’s.
Where did the challenges come from? Did you have a favorite challenge?
I’m not sure who thought up the challenges, but they did a great job at mixing them up and not focusing on just one area of knowledge. Some challenges I wouldn’t have known where to start, whereas in others I would have blown right through it. Both sets of challenges have their own appeal. The 90 min challenge was fun because we got to watch the entire time as they worked through the problems and made things work. Then the five days we got to see the big highlights but the final products were outstanding to test and play with.
Did you spend a lot of time on set with Tim and Richard? What was shooting during the pandemic like?
We were shooting anywhere from 10-12 hours a day so yeah, we spent a lot of time together. Tim and Richard spent way more time together as they are always on set and I’m only called in if one has a question on technique or a method of building. The entire crew, which was probably around 40-50 people, were in masks the entire time and everybody received a COVID test every other day. I think the studio was really creative for figuring out a way to still shoot while keeping everybody safe but I do look forward to, if the show goes for another season, seeing the contestants build in real life and being in the shop with them.
What was your favorite part of the process? Would you do it again?
Watching the creativity and seeing the outcome! It’s a true testament of “there are a million ways to build anything”. Give three people the exact same material, time limits, and end goal, but then watch as they all go about it differently to get there. It’s inspiring and so much fun to watch.
You get either Tim or Richard to be your shop helper for a day. Who do you choose and why?
Ha, I’d pick Richard hands down. Tim grunts too much.
What else have you been up to?
Besides a lot of work and expanding in a ton of directions, I’ve picked up golf. It’s fun that when I pick up a new hobby, I can build all the things needed for it….golf bag holder, golf ball display, ball marker, driving range…..: D I’m not joking- since I’m on 20 acres I’m planning a driving range that I’ll also use as a shooting range for guns and bows. That project has me thinking about building a conveyor belt to move 100 yards of dirt. Besides that, this year I also have an outdoor kitchen on my to-do list and a new shop at my commercial property. It’s going to be another full year to say the least.
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