Volunteering Pays Off for APLD CT Member Scott Hokunson

One of APLD CT’s members, Scott Hokunson of Blue Heron Landscape Design in Granby, is getting some much deserved attention for his work through his association with The Ultimate Backyard Makeover.  We caught up with Scott and asked him a few questions about the time he spends volunteering in his community has impacted his business. 

How long have you been working with The Ultimate Backyard Makeover?  How did you initially become involved?

2011 will be my third year with the show, and each year we grow a little, in terms of the contractors involved. I am now the co-host/designer/project manager, although it very much is a collaborative effort. I am also listed as a producer this year.

I was brought in initially through a contractor I have known for about 18 years. He was approached to perform the work, but was reluctant to be on camera. He called, and the rest as they say, is history.

What kind of an impact has your involvement had on your business?

It has given me tremendous exposure throughout Hartford County. As the show grows, it is gaining more notoriety, and consequently I hear from more and more people who have seen me as the host. The Hartford Courant is also involved, and I’ve been given great exposure through a special insert about the show each year, in which I am interviewed and able to provide tips for the reader. My clients get a kick out of seeing me on TV also.

It has introduced me to new vendors and contractors, and allowed us to share techniques in a way that would not really be possible in the real world.

I have also made a few great contacts on the production side of the project, and we have had a few discussions about other projects for the future.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned while working on The Ultimate Backyard Makeover projects?

I have learned a lot about the news, advertising and TV production business. It is a fast paced, hold on tight world that is fun to be around.

What’s the status of this year’s The Ultimate Backyard Makeover project? Can you share some of your involvement so far?

As I am writing this we are just finishing the project and looking forward to the wrap party tonight. The party is fun and a nice way to say thanks to all the participants and to relax with the homeowners in their new surroundings. We also are visiting and interviewing the first two winners this year for the show. It will be nice to visit with them again. We are very lucky again to have a very nice and appreciative family of five to work with. And a very interesting patio garden to create, this site is unique.

Once we finish filming the wrap party and the past winner interviews, everything will head to editing, and will air on May 21, 2011. I may be called back in to perform a voiceover or to reshoot something, but by this time everything is pretty well set.

My involvement has increased from simply coordinating the first year to scheduling, hosting, producing and even selling vendors on the idea of being involved. Afterward there will be follow up meetings and a little pre-planning for next year’s show.

 What’s it like to be interviewed on camera? Do you have any tips you can pass along for fellow APLDCT members who might themselves in a similar situation on day?

First time on camera is very nerve racking. I am lucky in that the producers and cameramen I have been working with are very patient and helpful. My co-host, Sarah Cody from WTIC Fox 61, has also been great. She is a seasoned pro who guides us through the rough spots.

My advice to those who would be interviewed is to relax and talk as you would to a client during a meeting. Have an idea of what you would like to say, but don’t script it or memorize it. Doing so gives a robotic and uncomfortable feel to the conversation. Most viewers are very interested in what you have to say, so just tell them what you know stay away from things you are not sure of, and you will be great. Also, it’s okay to mess up your lines, because you can always start over and get it right on the next take.

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