Flip This Bitch is a full-service production design firm that creates fictional fantasy worlds come alive on hit web series like Critical Role and makes reality shows like Jersey Shore look slick and sexy.
Flip This Bitch is a small group of dedicated artists. Depending on the project, the company typically organizes film-set duties for 30 or more people. However, the group’s core includes President and Production Designer Jeffrey Toraichi Eyser, VP and Set Decorator Sue Oneto, and Executive VP and Art Director Joe Myers.
PopAxiom wrangled Jeff, Sue, and Joe for a chat about what they do, how they do it, and the origin of the company’s name.
How did the members of Flip This Bitch get their start in the film and television industry?
Jeff: “I moved to Los Angeles back in 2006 and landed my first job in television with Bad Girls season one. From there, I fell in love with the art department and design. It was something I had a focus on growing up, and so it was a natural shift.”
Joe: “I went to film school in Florida and drove across the country three days later. I started an internship, and within a year or two, I was working with Jeff on Bad Girls Club. He said, ‘Hey do you want to do this job with fewer people, but more respect?'”
Sue: “My education is actually in social work. I got my Masters in social work but quickly realized there’s no money in that and I wasn’t married to the idea that I loved doing it. I always had a dream to be living in California. I drove across the country to California six years ago. I had a friend who worked in the art department as a decorator and asked her if she could get me a quick gig for some cash while I figure out what I want to do. She hired me for two weeks on the Tyra Banks pilot for her talk show. I fell in love with the art department. It was a very fast switch in my head. I was passionate about it, and it was a career I could build on. Then I met these freaks who got my name from a mutual contact and asked me if I’d come to a job for a couple of days. Here we are five years later.”
Where did Flip This Bitch get its start?
Jeff: “Flip This Bitch has been around for almost 12 years, but we’ve been a real company for the last five. It started as a funny idea with my friend Alexis and I as a title for our team. We thought it would be funny to have a crew wearing t-shirts with our faces on it saying ‘Flip This Bitch,’ so we did. We became known as Flip This Bitch, and as we progressed and became bigger in the industry, we became a real company. We have a team of carpenters; a team of draftsmen; people who get us lunch.”
Sue: “The first project that I was on with Flip This Bitch was a reality show called Fix My Mom, where they just pitted mothers and daughters sort of against each other, but trying to make them come together. I started working on the Bad Girls Club.”
Joe: “Our first big show as Flip This Bitch, as recognized by the government, was Fix My Mom.”
Jeff: “Fix My Mom was our very first show as a team, I did 15 seasons of Bad Girls Club. Collectively we did about seven or so seasons. We did a season of The Real World and MTV’s The Challenge in Spain.”
Sue: “We’ve done the reincarnated Jersey Shore, which bled into Floribama Shore, which bled into many other MTV reality shows that we tend to always do.”
Jeff: “We do kind of everything. We do reality TV, TV, and film, but we also do residential projects for people, restaurants, stage productions, and gameshow-type shows. It’s an interesting niche we’ve carved out for ourselves.”
Flip This Bitch works on a lot of reality television, which is a lot more work than most viewers recognize.
Jeff: “Ultimately, it’s funny; people tend to look down on the reality TV world. But I feel like the mindset is the same. You’re developing a world for the characters. Our characters happen to live in the world we create. We have to make sure there’s a bar near-by and a pool table to keep people busy. It’s about creating a flow through the set and how people will interact with it.”
Joe: “I think one of the primary things that we’ve talked about before, so many times a scripted show is trying to dull-down the fantastical, whereas we take reality and lift it and heighten the experience.”
Jeff: “A lot of times, we’re building these sets. Even when you see a show that takes place in a house, we’re building sets within the house. A lot of the walls you see are built in front of existing walls to hide the cabling, lighting, and camera gear. You generally see about half of an actual house. We’ve gone in and built rooms inside of rooms to create our looks. I don’t think people realize how much work goes into a lot of these set constructions.”
Reality TV of the likes worked on by Flip This Bitch film all over the world.
Sue: “There was one year where we clocked like thirty-something flights.
Joe: For three months, we traveled between Spain, Georgia, and Florida.”
How many projects does Flip This Bitch handle at any given time? The answer is a bit hazy when things are continuously busy.
Jeff: “Currently, we have six?”
Joe: “I was thinking five.”
Where does each member draw inspiration?
Sue: “The first name that comes to my head and I’m stealing it from Jeff because I know he’s going to say it is Kelly Wearstler. She’s a genius with putting crazy combinations of patterns, furniture, and lighting together, and it all looks brilliant. She’s probably my number one.”
Joe: “My aesthetic is probably less from interior design and more from print and graphic design, like screen printing and minimalist design; 2D art is where my heart is.”
Jeff: “There are so many things to pull from. I’m really into chaos right now. It’s all about trying to meld things into our work.”
Flip This Bitch services a wide range of clients.
Jeff: “We work with MTV, Discovery, SyFy channel, NETFLIX, and Critical Role. The residential project that we’re doing now, which I can’t reveal, is big in that world.”
Role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons are popular because of Critical Role and Flip This Bitch’s work. It helps that Jeff and Joe are fans of RPGs.
Joe: “We have a Flip This Bitch Pathfinder Game.”
Role-playing games aren’t part of Sue’s wheelhouse.
Sue: “I do enjoy the Critical Role jobs. I don’t understand it. But I love to learn, and I get to learn about all these characters and the world. It’s a fun challenge for me because it’s totally different from anything I’ve been into.”
Jeff: “When you love working with people, it makes it all fun.”
What’s a dream project for each member of the team?
Sue: “I want to do horror. If they were to remake A Nightmare On Elm Street, that would be so amazing to me!”
Joe: “I would love to do something like future LA. Something like Westworld or Blade Runner. I think that future-mid-century aesthetic works well with our skillset. We’d knock it out of the park.”
Jeff: “Anything Evil Dead. I would lose my mind.”
Flip This Bitch handles films, television, reality television, game shows, and homes. So, what’s a tip from the team for designing at home?
Sue: “I love nature and the outdoors, so I take every opportunity to bring that inside. So, plants or using a lot of wood or stone. I advocate for plants everywhere.”
Jeff: “I have a stock answer for this one. My biggest tip is that there are no rules. You shouldn’t be afraid to do whatever makes you happy.”
What’s coming next from Flip This Bitch?
Joe: “We’re working on Top Elf season two for Nickelodeon. It’ll be out for Christmas. Children get to compete to be Santa’s next helper.”
Jeff: “We’re doing a secret dating show that we can’t talk about and another in Georgia we can’t talk about.”
Are reality shows in your queue?
Thanks to Flip This Bitch for making this interview possible.
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