Talking Marriage with David Armour and the Cast of “Married on MySpace”
You may have heard of “Married on MySpace,”, the very popular and hilarious web reality series that follows a young couple during their wedding plans. Well, there’s a catch, you see, as the MySpace community does ALL the wedding planning from start to finish. Viewers can follow the 2nd season of “Married on MySpace,” as the lucky couple Dehlia and Graeham go through all the ups, downs, and emotions of putting together a wedding.
I had a chance to interview the lucky married couple to be, as well as chat with David Armour, producer of “Married on MySpace,” and VP of Endemol Digital Studios, about the popularity of this web reality series and why they think it has hit such a chord with audiences.
Dehlia/Graham, first thanks for being with us..and Congrats for being cast on “Married on MySpace”! How do you feel right now that you’re going to have this amazing wedding courtesy of MySpace?
Dehlia: It feels Great!! We couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to get married. I am so indecisive and don’t know the first thing about planning a wedding, so it’s so great to have the support of the entire MySpace community.
Graeham: It is a crazy feeling. It is so humbling to know that the entire MySpace community chose us to be given this amazing gift. And it is not just the planning of our wedding, but an adventure with surprises around every turn. It is a lot of fun!
Definitely. So, how active are you two on your own MySpace accounts? Are you big on social media?
Dehlia: I’m very active on FB and MySpace, but G isn’t so much! But I’m not that big on Twitter and that seems to be G’s thing…haha!
Graeham: I’ve actually gone through phases, really active, not so active, but right now I am all over FB, MySpace, and Twitter 24/7. I mean, it was because of these communities that we have this opportunity, so I have got to give it up to my peeps!
So… the MySpace community is choosing your wedding locale, flowers, wedding dress, and even the bachelor party! Is it weird that your private ceremony is now this public event?
Dehlia: It was REALLY weird at first, just putting yourself out there for people to judge. I’ve always said we have nothing to hide, we are proud of who we are and I feel comfortable showing that to the world. The only thing is I wish I could control my emotions, because I don’t like it when people see me cry. The funny thing is that I almost NEVER cry, and most of my friends have never seen me cry…but already MySpace has seen me cry twice! when dealing with such a special ceremony/tradition it’s tough to control the emotions, but I’ll keep trying. Just wait until we read our vows…Yikes, I’ll make sure to have waterproof mascara.
Graeham: Yeah, it is weird, but we prepared ourselves for this before we got into it. Like Dehlia said in her latest blog, we are going to go through this process being true to ourselves, so whether it was private or public we are going to be the same G&D. Ditto on the crying thing too.
I love how you guys are sort of the real-life version of the inter-racial couple in “Our Family Wedding?” With interracial marriages, there’s always that mix of traditions and culture, so how have the both of you dealt with that?
Dehlia: It’s been very interesting, being that my Mom is very traditional we saw things a little differently. But we have worked things out and we are all pretty much on the same page. Luckily Graeham is very open and supportive when it comes to our cultural and religious differences.
Graeham: I don’t have a lot of strong family traditions and I think it is great that Dehlia does. I think it is very important to honor one’s heritage, so I welcome Dehlia’s traditions as they will become the traditions of our family and lineage.
How did the two of you meet and when did you know that you were meant to be together for the rest of your lives?
Dehlia: We met at Cal Poly Pomona in the dorms. We were introduced by my roommate and started dating shortly after. I knew he was special the moment we had our first kiss. I had kissed boys before, but this kiss felt completely different words can’t even describe. But at that moment, I knew he was the one.
Graeham: She had kissed boys before, but never a MAN! haha, just kidding. Dehlia pretty much summed it up, but to add to that, as time went on, there were a lot of things that pointed to the fact that we were meant to be together, reaffirming what we felt about each other from the very beginning. It sounds so fairy tale, but it is true.
Haha. You guys are too cute. So, what advice would you give to the single guys/gals out there who haven’t found their true love yet?
Dehlia: I would say be patient…a lot of times people are in such a rush to “grow up” and be married, even if its with the wrong person. That’s probably why the divorce rate is so high. G and I took the passive approach, and just let things happen. I never hinted at marriage or tried pressuring him into anything. I just figured if he really loves me he and is meant to be with me he should figure that out on his own…haha! Also, trust is the #1 key to any successful relationship. If you are always second guessing each other you can never have a healthy relationship.
Graeham: Don’t go looking for your true love. Just do what you do and always be yourself. Your paths will cross.
This is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. What is the best part of having the MySpace community choose your wedding for you?
Dehlia: Other than the fact that we don’t have to pay for it…we love that MySpace get’s to make those tough decisions instead of us. For example I can never make up my mind on what I like, so MySpace can make my mind up for me.
Graeham: Well, being that we will be engaged for 4 years this May, I think the best part is we are ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED! Finally! Haha. We have started planning a few times, but it always fizzled out. Having MySpace make the tough decisions is a huge help! I love it!
Thanks for your time Dehlia and Graeham! Congrats again on your marriage!
For the second portion of our interview, I had a chance to chat with David Armour, producer of “Married on MySpace and VP of Endemol Digital Studios where he focuses on developing, producing and marketing original, interactive entertainment programming across multiple platforms. He has an extensive TV background working as the executive producer of The Ricki Lake Show and the Queen Latifah Show, as well as working in senior management positions at leading entertainment companies including, Sony Television, Telepictures/Warner Bros. and Twentieth Television/Fox, among others.
We talked MySpace, marriage, and what’s the key to a successful marriage?
David, great to meet you. So, “Married on MySpace,” started in March 2009 with the concept of having the MySpace community choose every aspect of the lucky couple’s big day. Tell us about the inception of this idea early on. Did you think that it would become this popular?
Yeah, this came about from us and MySpace. It took a real partnership to make it work. At Endemol, we’ve always been leaders in interactivity, we knew with the launch of “Big Brother,” that people loved interacting and seeing people at different times, in their own spaces, all while controlling their destiny. I think that the popularity of “Married on MySpace,” is that you can watch an actual about-to-be-married couple and have a part in controlling their destiny.
Congrats on the success of the show as millions of people are tuning in. Especially because you come from a studio-based background, how does it feel that you’re going off of views instead of Nielsen numbers?
Look, when you look at true views, user engagement, its a much more sophisticated way to see viewership rather than ratings. So I can get very detailed info. about the point at which someone stopped watching, dropped off. It changes the way we’re delivering an episode and helps you better tailor the content to the user. We don’t look at this only from a view standpoint because we also look at engagement..how many comments, how many friends, how engaged are they, how many votes do they have. Views/Engagement/Interactivity. If you put those three pieces together, that’s how to get metrics.
The Tri-brid. So, what’s the future of content delivery for online digital studios such as Endemol? Do you think there will be a day when people will just watch ONLY Internet based content instead of TV?
TV didn’t kill radio. Online viewing won’t kill TV. Its about merging media. You have to look at the medium to be used to deliver content. So, what you watch online and the way you interact is different from the way you interact with TV. I could read the lyrics of a Michael Jackson song, watch a video on TV, or listen and play with it online. Content is different depending on where its being consumed. How you interact with the media is different, but it doesn’t change the content.
True. Original content will always be in demand. You’ve said before that you like the immediacy of the “Married on MySpace” format. Why is that?
Getting married is a relatable theme, ticking time, relationships, stress. People fall in love with the couple, watching the stress, chaos, and drama. Its really fascinating and when you hand over control of your life, its definitely fun to watch. People love to see how you influence these people’s lives. You, the viewer have changed their lives forever. You had a hand in this. Granted, it takes a specific personality to be willing to do this…my wife wouldn’t have wanted to do this.
Haha. I agree with your wife. So, how different is it to produce content for MySpace vs. TV/Film studios? For example with the shows you worked on for BET and TBS? You’re still working with the same talent, directors, producers, etc…is that right?
It’s different from web content because you have to scale back your costs and be more efficient. This one is challenging because we can’t shoot video until the community votes and you’re shooting everything in real-time. There are some things that you shoot/edit in a day or 2 days which is extremely challenging. How can you be more efficient? In TV, there’s more room because you have time/budget/etc… But our editors are working around the clock. We have a good team.
You’re the VP of Endemol Digital Studios…what’s a typical day for you like? What gets your creative juices flowing?
I want to do things for the first time. I want to tackle things that people haven’t tackled…rules haven’t been written. Everyday we’re writing new rules. Here, if we believe in a concept, we have access to distribution, syndication, funding and get it made. There are no real rules. A perfect example is this show, we had a multi-platform launch on myspace, cable network SiTV, and no one had done that before. No one had taken web content and spun it into reality TV. We have amazing support as a company.
Very cool. What about plans for International shows? Are you planning on focusing content creation on the North American market?
We focus on what is big and franchise-able. We’re not in the market to create short form viral video. We’ve proven our record with 2nd cycle for “Married on MySpace.” And yes, we are in talks with several International territories about this show.
So, let’s talk about you David. You’re married with three kids. Any advice you’d like to give to the couples who got/will be married on “Married on MySpace,” about what makes a successful marriage?
Honesty. Trust. Have fun. We’ve been married for 13 years and we’re best friends and trust each other. Also in last week’s episode, the bride-to-be went on a girls’ night out and Graeham was fine with it. Building trust…have fun!!!
Last meal on earth?
Chips and Guacamole
iPhone or Blackberry?
Twitter or Facebook?
Tell us what makes a man decide that she’s the one?
When he’s comfortable saying that she’s the fiance and not choking when he says it.