April Wilkerson Interview: Assembly Required

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Among the many different projects that April has underway, we were able to ask her (via email) for some Assembly Required, a new TV program premiered on the History Channel tonight. In addition to April, the show stars legendary TV instrument boys Tim Allen and Richard Karn.

Tell us about the show.

We shot 10 episodes for the first season and each episode brings three new contestants. The three contestants are sent the same pack of materials in advance so that when the judges say to start the first challenge, they open their pack and start building. They then have 90 minutes to build what the judges asked them to build … ranged from a flashlight, to a fire extinguisher, to a dog door! At the end of the 90 minutes, everyone puts down their tools and the three are judged on what they have, from there, one is eliminated and two continue to compete in a 5 day challenge where they are tasked with a bigger and more complex build . A winner is chosen between the two and that person receives a prize package from a sponsor and also a $ 5,000 reward.

Have competitors used their home stores? Was there an advantage in the home store?

The contestants were originally supposed to come to LA and build in person, but with COVID the show instead left the contestants at home and allowed them to work in home stores. Only the building material of the packages could be used for the constructions, however they were able to use any machine or work table in their shops. I definitely think it was an advantage. I know I would be able to do a lot more in my shop than someone else’s.

Where do the challenges come from? Do you have a favorite challenge?

I’m not sure who thought about the challenges, but they did a great job of mixing them up and not focusing on just one area of ​​knowledge. Some challenges I would not have known where to start, while in others I would have overcome them. Both sets of challenges have their own appeal. The 90 minute challenge was fun because we could watch the whole time as they troubleshoot and make things work. Then the five days we got to see the big highlights, but the final products were great to test and play.

Did you spend a lot of time on set with Tim and Richard? How was the shooting during the pandemic?

We shot 10 to 12 hours a day, so yeah, we spent a lot of time together. Tim and Richard have spent a lot more time together as they are always on set and only get called if anyone has a question about the technique or construction method. The entire crew, which was probably around 40-50 people, were in masks the entire time, and they all received a COVID test every other day. I think the studio was really creative in finding a way to still shoot while keeping everyone safe, but I can’t wait, if the show goes for another season, to see the contestants build in real life and be in store with their.

What was your favorite part of the process? Would you do it again?

Look at the creativity and see the result! It is a true testament to “there are a million ways to build anything”. Give three people the exact same material, time limits, and end goal, but then observe how they behave differently to get there. It is inspiring and a lot of fun to watch.

Get Tim or Richard as your shop assistant for a day. Who do you choose and why?

Ah, I’d choose Richard without a doubt. Tim grunts too much.

What else have you done?

In addition to a lot of work and expansion in a lot of directions, I have learned to play golf. It’s funny that when I take up a new hobby, I can build all the necessary things for it … golf bag holder, golf ball display, ball marker, driving range …..: D I’m not kidding, given that i am on 20 acres i am designing a driving range which i will also use as a shooting range for rifles and bows. That project made me think about building a conveyor belt to move 100 meters of earth. On top of that, I also have an outdoor kitchen on my to-do list and a new shop on my commercial property this year. It will be another full year to say the least.

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