Selling Sunset Creator Adam Divello on Music In the Show

FOr The Sunset Selling There are many reasons why fans love this show. Some come for the glory of seeing the huge, glistening mansions sold by the show’s real estate agents. Many others enjoy the excitement of real estate agents in 6-inch heels battling it. Then there’s the absorbing effect of the girlboss-core music used in transitions between scenes. The Sunset Selling’s Adam DiVello, the creator of Selling Sunset, has always seen the show as an aspirational look at California’s wealthy, in the same vein of his previous creations, Laguna Beach The Hills. Instead of following high school drama or 20-something drama, Sunsets for SaleThe fifth season of ‘The Women at the Top of Their Careers’ was released on Netflix April 22nd.

“People just love to watch these worlds that these women live in and see these expensive homes and see the cars they drive and the clothes they wear, and I think that’s a huge part of the success,” DiVello tells TIME. “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and tell me they moved to Los Angeles because of The Hills.”

DiVello speaks out about his iconic soundtracks and the effects tabloids have on them. The Sunset Selling’s plotlines, and how he created a spinoff based on a DM.

Which music style would you choose? The Sunset Selling?

I’ve never had to do that before. The goal is to keep it as fun and inspiring as possible. It’s also dramatic, so we use the music to help tell those stories. The songs can be fun and have a bit of message.

It was the way that music was used The Hills was so distinct, like the way it would show the artist’s name in the corner of the screen like a music video. Is music changing in reality television shows from the time you did it then or now? The Sunset Selling?

When we did The Hills, obviously that show didn’t have interviews, it didn’t have people talking to the camera, so we really needed to rely on music to help tell the story. That show was much more than that. The Sunset Selling, we would rely on lyrics telling the viewer what’s going on or when Lauren was looking at Whitney once in the clothes closet at Teen Vogue because she was talking about something Heidi did, and we used this Rihanna “Umbrella” song.

The Sunset Selling is nice because we have these interview bites, so we don’t need to get all the exposition out through songs and through stares and glances.

And so with spinoffs such as Tampa SellingThe future and what’s next Selling OCDo you adjust the music to suit the mood of your location?

Definitely. We certainly didn’t want TampaYou can have the exact sound of The Sunset SellingIt does not have the exact same name, but it was our wish that it did. Is it more laid back or more island-y? That show was definitely different. Sunsets for Sale.

Seasons 4 and 5 Sunsets for Sale were shot back to back – how do you go about making them look like two distinct seasons?

Even though they were shot continuously, we definitely took some time down cause it’s just a little tiring for the crew and everybody to make 20 episodes straight through. You know the gang had all gone to gone to Greece during the holidays and we thought ‘what a perfect way to start the season out’ and Chrishell and Jason’s news had just broken that they were dating, so that was over our holiday break and it’s like, boom there you go that’s the beginning of season 5.

Was the effect of the pandemic on the production style for season 4, 5 and 6?

There are many nasal swabs. Lots. Every week we get two tests. We made conscious efforts to make sure that everyone was wearing masks. Or was it okay if they didn’t wear masks? Cause we filmed it a while ago and we didn’t want it to come out and everybody still be reminded of this period of time in the country and in the world. So we did our best to avoid as many masks as possible.

A vaccine policy was there for shooting?

I don’t think I’d wanna answer that one.

The past couple seasons you’ve added new cast members, like Chelsea and Emma. How do you choose a cast member to join your team?

Obviously they have to be a real estate agent in the first place, and experience is always nice if they’ve got experience in selling high end luxury homes. It is important to look beyond stereotypes when evaluating a person who lives in reality. You shouldn’t put too much faith in their ability to filter the world. They need to be free to talk and to tell the truth.

Your shows historically have had majority white casts and that’s changed a bit recently with The Sunset Selling Tampa Selling. Did you make an effort to change the cast of these shows?

With Tampa SellingSharelle [Rosado]I was actually the one who reached out. I believe it was via a DM. She was like “you have to meet me and my agents. We’re incredible.” I read she was in the military, she was a paratrooper jumping out of planes and fought alongside her father and then when she was done with the military she opened up this brokerage and hired all of her friends who were all realtors. I was like, “this is a show.”

And as far as Vanessa and Chelsea, I don’t think it was a conscious effort, it was just like we found them, we thought they were great characters.

The show’s tabloids are a major part of the drama between women in season 5. There is drama about who spoke to which tabloid outlet. Is it encouraged for them to discuss the news with the press

We certainly don’t encourage them to say things about each other. The show’s premiere has press deadlines and Netflix guides them through talking with journalists. And as far as the other stuff goes, that’s the stuff that just happens between seasons.

The show will be watched by many people who are going to wait and see what happens. Like when Jason and Chrishell – that got out in the press that they were dating – the show wasn’t out yet but the storyline was out there in the world, everybody knew. However, I believe that many viewers waited for the launch to find out how it all happened. It keeps the show on people’s minds between seasons.

With The Hills Laguna Beach there wasn’t social media the way there is now. Is it difficult to maintain the show’s surprise when cast members post between seasons?

We watch the show and then the viewers are able to go with the girls and follow along with their day to day lives, so I think it’s just something that keeps our cast in the audience’s lives between seasons. Because you’re right, back when we did The HillsIt looked like Us Weekly, Entertainment WeeklyThese stories were being broken every week. Our show was featured on many cover stories. It was this that kept our show on the air between seasons.

You’re filming a reunion special for this season – is this a new endeavor?

Yeah it’s the first one we’ve done and we’re super excited about it. Netflix offered us the opportunity to do one. We jumped at it. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun, I think there’s gonna be a lot of surprises. There’s gonna be a lot of questions answered. It will feature the entire cast. Tan France hosts it. Queer Eye.

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