Write On! speaks with Lorena David Esguerra, who, along with Mark Roberts, is executive producer of My Ride Rules. The car-themed reality show filmed four episodes in Dallas and Los Angeles and five episodes in Atlanta; four owners compete against each other for a $1,000 cash prize and the “My Ride Rules” trophy.
Starting tonight, episodes air back-to-back every Tuesday at 10pm PST/EST on the SPEED channel.
Why did you create My Ride Rules?
ITV Studios asked my partner, Mark Roberts and I to come up with a show based on the format of their enormously successful UK hit Come Dine With Me, but for the SPEED Channel. In Come Dine With Me, four people give each other dinner parties and they all score each other. In My Ride Rules four people show their cars to each other and score each others’ cars.
How did the elements come together?
We knew we wanted a cars and owners that had a lot of personality, as well as people who had a special connection to their cars. So that’s what we looked for during casting.
Then we knew that we had to cover the interior, exterior, and engine for every car, so we created the “car tour” section for each car. We wanted everyone to drive each other’s cars so they could properly judge performance so we added a Test Drive part.
As the format from the UK did not have a host, we do not either. However, like that show, we have a voiceover to move the competition along. We also knew that having a hot girl was important to car fans. so we added a trophy girl to hand out the prize.
What was your favorite part of the process? The greatest challenge?
My favorite part is the car tour and test drive, as you can see people learning about and appreciating other cars in an authentic way. The greatest challenge was how to reveal the winner. The other format had a very simple reveal and we wanted a bigger, more fun reveal, so we built an outdoor set and put them all behind the wheel. Without a host it was hard to announce the winner, but we figured it out.
How much writing and preparation goes into each episode?
A lot of work goes into prepping for who these contestants are and what kind of story we want to tell about them. That is the work that the field producer does prior to shooting. Then there is the voiceover, which we work on along with a story producer usually after we have shot the show.
What is it about America’s fascination with cars?
I think cars represent independence and freedom. They allow us to go where we want to be, which is very liberating (just try not having a car). Cars also give us the chance to display our wants and desires along with who we are … or who we want to present. We don’t have to take advantage of that ability; lots of people just buy comfortable, efficient cars, which is fine. But our show is for those who want to show off or just be a little more defined.
Advice for those looking to create/produce a reality show?
Make sure you have a tone that is solid and carried throughout. Also, make sure you are presenting entertainment. We have a rule that our show is a balance of four C’s: Comedy, Car information, Competition, and Conflict. If there is a piece in our show without a C, we know to cut it.
What are the biggest mistakes people make when creating or trying to create a series? How can they remedy them?
Its hard to say, as we were incredibly lucky, but I would say make it unique, make sure it has a niche audience, make sure its entertaining, and make sure you know what happens at every minute of your show.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started this project?
That our weather was going to be a big problem. When we got picked up for 13 more episodes, we were so excited, we just got going, not realizing that shooting in Atlanta and Dallas in the winter would be very cold and often rainy. Bad weather is not conducive to photographing cars beautifully. That’s what we get for growing up in LA!