Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Freddie Sulit (CMU'11)

"Okay, people, listen up!" as Ty Pennington would say.

His popular ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recently enlisted the help of students from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC).

The team created a clever animation involving the demolition of the family's house for the "Urban Family" episode.

"Usually on the show, they send the family away on vacation for a week and the first thing the design team does is tear down the old house in some spectacular way," said ETC team member Freddie Sulit, (CMU'11). "This particular home, however, had historic value because it was built out of logs that were over 300 years old."

So instead of destroying the house, they dismantled it and were then able to reuse some of the materials.

The show's design team had the idea to make the demolition into an animated fairy tale with the family as the main characters. Through a series of connections, they contacted the ETC to see if there were any students who could donate their time to the project.

"A few of us took a field trip out to the build site in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and we were overwhelmed by the philanthropy from the community and from the show's staff," Sulit said. "It was an amazing experience and we are extremely proud to be associated with the show. It's television programming like this that reinforces our faith in humanity."

Michael Honeck (CMU'11) was especially touched by the family's reaction to the animation.

"It makes it easy to put in long hours when you know that you're creating something that moves people to laugh and cry," Honeck said. "The attention to detail and level of polish this project needed pushed us as a production team. We had to learn new skills on the fly and had to wholeheartedly embrace the ETC mantra of iteration and critique."

Mk Haley, associate executive producer of ETC as well as faculty advisor on the project, said the team jumped at the request to support the episode despite full loads as interns this summer.

"The opportunity to create animation for broadcast TV was huge. Once the team learned the details of the family, and even visited the construction site, it became about a lot more," Haley said.

The animation team included Sulit, producer; Honeck, director; Steve Geist, artist; Kim Kiser, artist; Franz Mendonsa, artist; Katherine Rubenstein, artist; Sue Choe, artist; Andrew Gartner, consultant; Tom Corbett, consultant; Ashok Nayar, consultant.

Pictured: Freddie Sulit (CMU'11)

Related Links: Entertainment Technology Center

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