Today was one of the coolest days of my life. Being a part of this show is going to be a blast, but also I’m really interested to see the entire behind the scenes process of how a TV show gets made. From the studio, to the promos, to the workflow with interviews and live action, to the filming and editing, just the entire process is really interesting to me.

We woke up real early for our 5:30 AM departure for the TV Norge studios. After a quick breakfast it was time for hair and makeup! Needless to say, the first time I’ve ever had my “hair and makeup” done in my life. Our first task is getting our photos taken for the Alt for Norge promotional poster. Everyone has their own specific pose with their own unique props. Heidi is leading the way, Joni has her ax, I’m looking through binoculars, Richard is swinging from a tree, Thomas is playing his ukulele, Kelsey is serving a drink (which Brittany is taking), etc. The whole production is fun to be around – I mean here are 12 very normal Americans who have been uprooted from their lives back home and are now being given the star treatment in front of the camera. It’s comical in a sense, but we all have a lot of fun with it.

Next up we film a scene in front of a green screen of us listening to a story, and pretending to see a troll, but soon realizing that it’s a friendly troll! We weren’t hired for our acting skills, so our mediocre overacting is quickly put on display. At one point I’m scolded for blinking too much and cut from the frame, pretty funny stuff.

We meet Fridtjof (pronounced like “fridge off”) who will be our new host for the season. Henriette, the lovely host of seasons 1-6 had a baby and has turned over the reins. Henriette was loved by all, but Fridtjof is game to fill her big shoes. He seems like a super nice guy. I’d done a little research beforehand, and learned that he’s hosted a number of other Norwegian shows. “So you’re like the Ryan Seacrest of Norway huh?” I ask him. “No, Ryan Seacrest is the Fridtjof of the USA!” he responds. He’s tall, lanky, recently broke his left arm (which is in a cast), and was in a fairly popular band.

We do some last group filming around the “fire” (flickering light bulb) with the actual troll, which is played by a very tall member of the TV Norge sales department with his face covered (will later be completed via CGI). Fridtjof tells a story, the troll arrives, Johnny: “Can we take him home!?” Joni: “He’s sooooo cute!” Heidi: “Let’s take a selfie!?” (which is clearly out of her character).

We leave the TV Norge studios and head up to Grefsenkollen for lunch and meeting with the press. We’ve now been in Norway for all of 30 hours but we’re already at a Michelin star restaurant, and it’s no let down – I highly recommend this spot (albeit I wasn’t paying)! The views from the restaurant are amazing of Oslo below and the surrounding islands. From this perspective you can tell we’re in a fjord.

Press day consists of taking video for the show’s opening tree sequence with all our names, taking photos for TV Norge, taking photos for our Alt For Norge bios, and taking photos for a local celebrity magazine. (If I somehow make my way into a Norwegian celebrity magazine or tabloid I’d be dying!) A few folks also do interviews with local newspapers and magazines.

Back at the hotel we nap and then have another big group dinner. After dinner we get together with Brita (one of our “mamas”, or people who take care of the cast) who makes an announcement that’s one of the coolest most surreal things ever. “Tomorrow”, she tells us, “we’ll be leaving for a 4 day adventure. We’re driving approximately 6 hours west, but we’re not telling you where we’re going. Here’s a packing list. The bus leaves tomorrow at 10:45.” SO COOL!

As a group we play Cards Against Humanity, and then I head back to my room where I’m just finishing this journal entry and getting ready for the unknown of what tomorrow might hold!

Next Day