The Wizard Behind the Scenes: Reality TV Producer Tone Innset

In the world of reality television, producer Tone Innset is the wizard behind the scenes. Responsible for some of the hottest competitive and documentary series in her native Norway, Innset regularly oversees crews and cast of more than 100 people and ensures that everything goes off without a hitch. With a huge range of projects under her belt, and more on the way, Innset raises the bar for producers following in her footsteps in the industry.

Tone Innset
Producer Tone Innset shot by Mark Newton

As the producer of Unge Modre, the Norwegian counterpart to Teen Mom, Innset shows an exceptional talent for capturing the most honest, human moments of the show’s subjects on the screen.

Unge Modre is a compelling display of both her business savvy and creative vision. Her approach to working with the stars of the intimate docuseries is one of compassion, carefully treating each of the young mothers with compassion while still managing to give viewers the truth about what is often a very difficult subject matter.

“When you are making a series like Unge Modre, it’s important to be aware of and remember that you are dealing with teenagers and very young adults, and their kids and families, and take that into account,” she said.

Using a closely-guarded set of insider secrets to coax the stars into giving the most earnest interviews and relatable on-camera interactions, she has helped make Unge Modre into the dramatic and moving pieces of television that it is today.

“I like to ask questions they don’t get asked everyday in order to dig a little bit further into their lives. Then I listen and ask new questions based on what they’ve just said,” explained Innset. “Usually, the person you are interviewing will show some real feelings and tell you what they really mean.”

Much more than a world-class, detail-oriented producer, Innset is a people-person who knows the importance of being sensitive to the needs and circumstances of those people her work documents. She makes gripping television by using more than just her technical skill and business-savvy, but by knowing her subjects and recognizing that they are human beings with strengths, vulnerabilities, and stories that reach out and resonate with audiences. She describes herself as a “people-junkie,” and admits that, “producing reality TV is more a lifestyle than a job.” That passion shows in her enormous volume of work.

“You get to meet so many different kinds of people, see many different places, and hear so many different stories,” she said. “I love to meet new people and get to know them. I think unscripted reality is awesome. I mean you never know what you are going to get on tape. You don’t know what it’s going to be like until you finish editing, and that excites me.”

Innset’s people skills also make her an essential player in the casting process, which is probably the most crucial factor in determining the success of a documentary series. Through a rigorous array of methods, she finds and narrows down a huge pool of candidates and potential cast members, until a final group is ready for eager viewers to follow their figurative journey.

In the case of Charterfeber, that journey is actually quite literal. Following a group of Norwegians as they escape the frigid north and travel to an idyllic Spanish island, the show allows viewers to escape the daily grind and live vicariously through the eclectic cast of characters. As the producer for seasons eight, Innset was tasked with overseeing the casting of the show, which required a lot of networking, hours of planning and research, and many, many phone calls.

“When you have done casting for a while you get connections, and a network you can contact when you’re looking for people to do a new season or a new series,” said Innset, who knows just how important that network is to the success of a production.

“It might be you have a person you know that’s been in a series you produced earlier, so you call them and ask if they know someone [relevant]. Then they might give you some names, and then you call them up and do your research on them.”

That process, one of her many techniques, is long, intensive and very hands-on, but has yielded excellent results and made her a standout figure among her peers in the world of reality television. , With her heart, soul and utter dedication invested in every element of production, the quality of her work shines in every episode of every one of her series. Innset, who’s on call all day, every day, says she loves each second of the hectic job she refers to as her calling.

“People like to watch docuseries and reality shows because they like to peek into others’ lives,” said the unwaveringly passionate Innset. “We get a sneak peek into how other people choose to live their lives, and see people that live very different from how you do.”

Her latest production, Norges Grillmester, recently aired during a primetime slot on TV2, Norway’s biggest commercial television station. Innset’s latest season of Unge Modre is also set to premiere this fall on SBS Discovery’s FEM, and will be syndicated internationally.

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