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Scott McGillivray Reflects on His First Day Filming for HGTV Canada (and What He Said That Almost Cost Him the Job)

Scott McGillivray Reflects on His First Day Filming for HGTV Canada (and What He Said That Almost Cost Him the Job)

The first day on the job is always nerve-wracking. Whether you’re on a renovation site, a television show – or both!



First Day Jitters

My first day was like anyone’s first day on the job. I was nervous, unsure of myself, and didn’t know what was expected of me.

The show was Debbie Travis’s Facelift, and I came in to do the construction work. At that time, renovation shows weren’t nearly as common as they are now, and although I had been renovating my own properties for a while, the idea of doing it on camera was totally foreign.

On my own renovation sites, I was the boss. I did most of the work myself, and when I couldn’t, I hired trades. But no matter what, I was still in charge of the project. On the show it was very different. There were producers, executive producers, directors – the list went on and I didn’t know a single soul, or what they did.


Ready For My Close Up

Although I’m comfortable on camera now, I definitely wasn’t too sure of myself back then. I had done a couple of commercials (and even posed for a stock photo – which still pops up every now and then), but never having had worked on a set like that before, I was definitely taken aback by the number of cameras pointed at me.

What NOT to Do…

On that first morning I decided that I would quietly do my work and try to mind my own business. Like anyone on their first day of work, I wanted to make a good impression and didn’t want to get in anyone’s way.

Shortly after I arrived, as I was minding my own business and gathering my tools together, a woman approached me and said hello.


“And what do you do?” she asked.

“I’m here to do some construction,” I said.

“Great,” she said. “I’m here to do some design.”

This is where I should have stopped. But instead I said, “Well we should stick together because I heard the host is a real nightmare.”

She looked at me and said, “Nice to meet you, I’m Debbie Travis, the host of the show.”


Final Thoughts  

If there’s anyone out there who’s nervous about starting a new job, let me assure you that whatever first impression you make, it probably can’t be worse than the first impression I made on my very first day filming for HGTV Canada.

Fortunately, Debbie was very forgiving. And now – 15 years later – I think I came out of it OK! I’ve been fortunate enough to appear on many shows, including 11 seasons of Income Property, Moving the McGillivrays, and now, Buyers Bootcamp, all of which I hosted and executive produced. I’ve worked with great people, and it’s led to many great opportunities.

The moral of this story is, if I can make as big a mistake on my first day as I did, and still go on to have the career that I’ve had, there’s hope for anyone!

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