EP 441 – Linking the Generations: An Interview with Dan Debenham of Relative Race

Dan Debenham, host of BYUtv's Relative Race, joins us to discuss family history, the evolution of the hit show, and a little bit of behind-the-scenes fun.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ncredible show for you this week! Do you love BYU TV’s Relative Race? Do you love family history? Do you love a little friendly competition? Do you love genial hosts? If so, stick around for a terrific interview with Dan Debenham, host and producer of Relative Race. Learn about behind-the-scenes work on the show and see how Dan’s passion for bringing families together plays out on screen.


Geoff Openshaw:
[0:00] Hey there TWiMsters.

[0:03] Welcome once again and thank you for tuning into another harrowing edition of this week in Mormons the greatest podcast in the entire world,
that’s what I said it move over Joel Osteen we’ve got this covered on this week’s special show however
we’re going to do a flip the calendar back a few pages because I did two months ago we had the privilege of interviewing the
producer and host a relative race and if you’re not familiar with relative race is a terrific BYUtv program that bring some competition to the proceedings but at the end of the day it’s really about uniting families it’s at is the seasons of going on,
are the contestants of showed up with some incredible stories and watching them reunite with loved ones meet them for the first time
and really see that the power of the spirit of Elijah,
on-screen is really something special and when we interviewed and it always thought I’d be just kind of a nice way to plug the show and learn some behind-the-scenes stuff which is part of the interview but what I really loved and reflecting on it,
hi is how passionate Dan is about,
the genealogical aspect of it about bringing people together even contestants who don’t make it on air for example about still,
letting them linked together with their families there’s something really really moving and useful in them and because season 6 of relative race just premiered this past weekend check it out if you haven’t done so,
we thought it’d be a great time to revisit this interview and see what we can learn about family history and how.

[1:31] BYUtv has really Amplified its content in recent years,
the great to me like to stress about relative races yeah it’s not just this competition show yes there’s a prize at the end.
But at the end of the day there’s something a lot more meaningful behind it so with that I will hand it over to myself.
All right well now it listeners we are very excited to bring on our special guests for this week’s episode and Evan ham from relative races with a side an.

Dan Debenham:
[2:00] Hey how you doing Jeff.

Geoff Openshaw:
[2:03] I’m super thanks for being with us.

Dan Debenham:
[2:05] Anytime anytime.

Geoff Openshaw:
[2:08] We’re big fans of relative race on the show where supporters very excited incidentally if I can self indulge for just a moment I found out about relative race two years ago and Susan one came on because,
my co-host Al was featured on turning point.

Dan Debenham:
[2:25] No way.

Geoff Openshaw:
[2:27] Yes so after watching down on the BYUtv at my wife and I were perusing and we saw a relative race were big The Amazing Race man to wear in the genealogy and that’s how we got into it so Al I guess we have you to thank for this.

Al Doan:
[2:39] I I honestly I feel like most of the success of relative race comes back to to me.

Dan Debenham:
[2:45] That’s what I was thinking I was thinking why are you guys even talking to me it’s Al that we should all be speaking to right now.

Geoff Openshaw:
[2:52] Yeah but they are actually at that popped in my head last night so I’m glad we got to do this just in time when I thought of that but yeah I was on turning.

Al Doan:
[2:59] How did how did you get tied into a turning point not turning point into relative race was that was it your idea was that kind of your baby or were you are you just a Hired Gun for your good luck sir.

Dan Debenham:
[3:11] It’s it’s an interesting it’s an interesting combination so we had created
when I say we meeting lenzworks Productions which consists of we’ve got a nice Boutique group here about 20 individuals but my business partner and I,
we kick this production company off about 18 years ago,
and I’m about 7 years ago we created a show for BYUtv called dining with the dean
and that’s where the relationship began and we were looking for ways to work together,
after dining with the dean and we had a couple of key people at BYUtv approaches about 4 years ago,
it said died in essence they said luck we’ve had people from ancestry.com come and talk to us about,
creating a show with them in mind and a new division that they are getting ready to launch called ancestry DNA,
and you guys do a really good job of coming up with original television and so what about something that could be created with the discovery of family through DNA.

[4:28] And so from there that was kind of the opening Salvo that was the opening conversation and we talked a little bit more creatively you know some possibilities that they had in their mind
week we definitely brought in budget that that does matter we talked about budget and we talked about expectations and my business partner and I Tom and I said we’ll look when we get back in about three weeks give us about three weeks and we’ll come up with some concept
and the one that we really quickly gravitated towards internally here at Lens works
was the show that we tentatively called relative race
and came back pitch them on relative race and everybody said let’s give it a shot that was season 1 and from there we we certainly hope that we have refined it over the last two seasons
now season 3 and we’re in pre-production and casting right now and research for season 4
and it looks like we we we may have commitment for the future Seasons beyond that but nothing set in stone until there’s a contract signed,
we love what we’re doing we did the show it has more meaning than anything else we’ve ever worked on in our careers and it’s just really cool.

Al Doan:
[5:45] I guess you got last night my wife and I sat down to watch the season 3
write your three episodes in and like literally episode 1 you got a guy that’s meeting his father for the first time you’ve got the team black that’s like
she’s she’s finding her like she never knew her mom after like 5 years old she’s meeting all of these aunts and uncles that she had no idea existed emotionally tapped in story
of any TV show I’ve ever watched it’s it’s pretty unreal the other content you get to work.

Dan Debenham:
[6:22] You know we we appreciate that when you use the term unscripted or reality
in my opinion that that’s been so overly used and kind of abused meaning abusing the audience with kind of DES in main nonsensical trying to you know peek at the worst of people
with with unscripted reality based programming and we really we realized,
quickly how real that the show would be.

[6:55] Again without any scripting and so we we look
to do just the opposite which is there there is absolutely zero scripting that takes place in this nobody told what to do we have in a 30 cameras rolling and,
we’ve done at you know just an incredible intense amount of research,
222 Bilby Fant these discoveries of family and,
and you can’t script those moments that you just talked about you cannot script when somebody who is,
been searching for family their entire life and all the sudden they knock on a door there in the middle of a competition and their emotions have to take a complete 180 from being in race mode and competitive mode,
to all the sudden realizing that the reason that the real reason that they’re doing this just stepped out of the door,
and introduce themselves as I’m your daddy or I’m your aunt or I’m your cousin or I’m your brother,
or I’m your sister and for people who have never had any family that that moment you can’t script.

[8:11] It it’s unbelievable and that’s why it’s been so tremendously gratifying both personally and professionally it,
to research and available to to build to those moments and then see them unfold in front of you in real time and know that we get to present that to a Nationwide audience is just it’s just very humbling.
And it’s very rewarding.

Geoff Openshaw:
[8:40] For sure can you tell us about the what is the process for the research how do you go about this new finding all these families and sending all that up I imagine it’s going to be a huge potential a logistical headache so what goes into all of that.

Dan Debenham:
[8:54] Yeah you know I I I worked on a lot of shows when I was,
ESPN I ice you know I spent eight years at ESPN and and during that time I wrote produced and and hosted,
you know around around 40 shows a year and as as detailed,
as in as much effort as that took,
I have never in my life thought that that there could be anything more.

[9:29] It more difficult is what we tackle every season on relative race which is first the casting process and that is to find somebody that quite frankly is,
we hope is going to be good on television but also has a very deep personal,
story that we hope to unfold you know over 10 episodes 10 days of racing then once we narrow it down to about 20 couples.
We’ve been,
start reaching out to their relative well first of all we do the research and that in there for each team there is an assigned a professional genealogist and they work with a team internally here at lensworks they work with a team of three,
internal people for each team so there’s there’s this total of 4 people per team,
researching to find relatives and then reach out to them and contact those well it doesn’t say look are you interested in being on this show will you be on the show
and half the time were shot down right out of the Gambino
we’re right off the bat meaning people are saying look I don’t I don’t know you I don’t trust you I don’t know what television show I don’t want to be a part of it leave me alone.

[10:44] When we get past that and people will actually listen to us it’s amazing how quickly.

[10:55] They want to be a part of it,
I then we’ve got to make sure that they’ll sign the contract then we’ve got to make sure that they line up with routes that allow us to drive a realistic distance each day of the race
just goes on and on and on and then we narrow that down ultimately to four teams and for backups because again you never know is that process continues in this process by the way that I’m describing takes about
six to seven months and that’s just all in pre-production research,
then then we have it down to those those nine relatives for the nine days of of racing and Discovery per team,
so that’s 9 * 4 that’s 36,
and then of course gate tenens is a very different format those that survived the teams that survived to get today 10 they’re no longer looking for living relatives that we’re really dialed-in on on that,
ultimate Financial prize which is part of the process as well so again that’s that’s the interesting thing this this show,
we were challenged when we talked with BYUtv and when we talked with ancef we were challenged with making it relevant to today’s programming while being meaningful and true,
add to 2 what the purpose of the end result of the show was ultimately to discover family but,
you know we came up with this concept again of of a true race.

[12:24] And if you’re going to have a race with Real Results you know what’s the end prize now you certainly you can argue and I and I happen to sit on the side of the fence that
look your prize is paid off every day that you get to meet relatives that you didn’t know that you had and you’ve never met before but,
hey buddy in today you know in today’s world look realistic and we’re trying to create a very entertaining show that is that is well received and accepted in end and even,
critically acclaimed and to that you know to that.
Effort we’ve we’ve you know we won the synopsis award a year-and-a-half ago for best new reality show in America,
so you know we we really try to hit everything while understanding,
the ultimately and most importantly this is a show about discovering finding and connecting,
with family for people who have been searching for that their entire lot.

Al Doan:
[13:25] Back in the day when it flashes back to the to the headquarters you seem like a real hard a back there you know you run a tight ship it’s all business.

Dan Debenham:
[13:39] Did you say hard a I’m a hard egg.
Versus at versus a hard bee is that versus a hard C or.

Geoff Openshaw:
[13:46] Family Show.

Al Doan:
[13:47] Yeah you know you know you seem like a real like a real jerk.

Dan Debenham:
[13:53] People that did that there has to be an ultimate person that is making ultimate calls and is moving things ultimate long so not only do it not only do I meeting at our company we certainly wear a lot of hats,
buddy in the show I also wear a lot of hats specifically in.

[14:11] I am a co-creator I am an executive producer but I’m also the host of the show and sometimes it’s a little like herding cats you know so,
look if you’ve got it you got we we are filming live to tape so it it’s not like when we have that GoToMeeting call that video conference call every night that’s been alive
that’s not that’s not done after the fact that’s an every night live,
when you see me talking with those for being that’s happening every night of the race so I go out for day one then I fly back,
to our offices and then I fly back out to the race for the end of day 10
but otherwise I’m back there exactly as you see having those video conference calls now I’m obviously I know what’s taking place throughout the day because I’m getting phone calls from our producers
are directors of Photography I’m I’m sending out tax and getting text back and and and so that’s why I
try to bring it all together this show is certainly not about me
this show the host of the show in this case me is merely there is a traffic cop there just trying to to to meet Lee,
correctly you know direct the flow that needs to that it didn’t needs to take place so I literally try to back out of this show as much as possible,
and in just move but it’s got to move along you’ve got.

Al Doan:
[15:38] There’s like that urgency to it.

Dan Debenham:
[15:40] Yeah they’re their there certainly is because these guys have been racing sometimes,
you know that they’ve been if they might have gotten in their car is literally at 6:45 in the morning,
and then it’s 10:30 at night when we’re having that conference call sometimes and they are physically but emotionally,
completely spent you know they’ve.

Al Doan:
[16:04] News about that though you’ve got a guy in your office that was looking at a map for the entire day every every shot back there you still looking at the same map.

Dan Debenham:
[16:13] No it’s not to say it’s not the same map it’s a different map.

Al Doan:
[16:17] This number is never found for his going on that thing.

Geoff Openshaw:
[16:19] All you bring up one of my favorite things and I mean this with so much affection but I’ve always loved some of the relative race office shots when it does seem like it’s it’s.

Al Doan:
[16:28] It’s Like a downtown New York office you got to be in Provo right are you are you like.

Dan Debenham:
[16:33] Salt Lake City Salt Lake Salt Lake.

Geoff Openshaw:
[16:36] But I but I have.

Al Doan:
[16:37] Downtown shop.

Dan Debenham:
[16:38] It it those are good down to Dozer we flew AR drone up to get all those exterior you guys you guys can’t what am I talking about this stuff from the magic of television.

Geoff Openshaw:
[16:50] Tell your dad I will say this DD relative race offices of moved at least on television from season to season now.

Dan Debenham:
[16:57] They have they have and they’re not they’re not moving they’re not moving anymore.

Geoff Openshaw:
[17:03] Is it so with that what it was that actually the case like last season did you actually have a sort of setup office in Boston where you were calling the shots and running things until the finale.

Dan Debenham:
[17:13] I know that that was also Salt Lake City and what have,
quickly. We quickly got word from the producers the executive producers that BYUtv and the director of programming that said the same thing you guys are asking right now which is who we didn’t know you
offices in Boston.

Geoff Openshaw:
[17:34] Where’s our money go.

Dan Debenham:
[17:35] Do we don’t we don’t at me and they said oh guys we we can’t we look you can’t we got to change that you can’t say that these are the Boston offices and we went
really good at part of television
so we quickly we quickly got word and to that point you don’t get it doesn’t say where we’re at it says
relative race offices and that’s and that’s because every every season the show is refined and I hope that it gets better but.

[18:06] But that you pointed out one of the things that we have changed and part of it by the way part of it change purely because of budget as well meaning
but budget change than initially look season 1 was hey here’s a concept let’s see if it works and what kind of proof-of-concept season 2 was hey we we we like the concept but we’ve got to make it,
Network worthy and our point was great let’s do that together but together means we don’t,
have the money so let’s talk and we did and and so you know it it don’t those budgets have stayed in place,
and I find it very interesting to BYUtv the way that they work and I really admire this and we take it very seriously is the production dollars come from private donors that specifically donate
to BYUtv Productions and and so we we take that very very seriously,
and you know we were very careful with with those production dollars and we try to maximize them while trying to achieve again a an award-winning
look at that bringing family together.

Geoff Openshaw:
[19:26] You mentioned some of the changes over the season that I’ve noticed he’s as well and what are the big changes for season 3 is that they’re not all the teams they started off in Washington DC which is where I am by the way I would have appreciate the phone call so I could have come to the taping,
but but anyway they start off.

Dan Debenham:
[19:44] This is what one of the many deficiencies that I have is clearly I’m not good at keeping up with my close personal contact like I should so I.

Geoff Openshaw:
[19:52] Play Come On Come On Dan we go back but but.

Dan Debenham:
[19:56] I know at least 20 minutes now.

Geoff Openshaw:
[19:59] In in previous Seasons I’ll start off in 1 starting line and they went from there you know it and I have noticed it’s change cousin season 1 they all started in San Francisco
and they made their way across the United States summon you know northern southern Parts but they made their way across the whole country in season 2 that
pretty much is one of the Eastern Seaboard and I imagine a lot of that has to do with finding all the right families but now in season 3 instead they all flew two different locations across the country,
we don’t know where the finals city is I don’t know if they’re all in route to coalesce there or if I’ll just fly there at the end but what kind of drove that new approach wear instead you
break them all up on the completely different trajectories was that more because of the difficulty in finding family members and trying to make a nice a line for each team to follow sort of speak and it’s just easier when you break them up.

Dan Debenham:
[20:45] Yeah that there’s two parts of that you you have named one of those elements right there that’s completely correct when we settled on our four teams that are on this season and,
when we discovered where their family was and how to create a route we were really at a loss we were just like.
We’re hosed you know this how do we make this work so the other part of that is is clearly by Design and and that is not to confuse.
Loyal viewers just the opposite it is to just twist it up a little bit so when they think they know the show it’s like whoa,
show just changed and I can tell you that we’ll be doing that again for season 4 which we’re right now as I said in pre-production and planning and we’ll be shooting in May and will Air this fall BYUtv I now ask for to see.
Calendar year yeah so we are we are going to be airing spring and fall now.

Geoff Openshaw:
[21:45] That’s exciting glad to hear that enough to weigh to hold beer in between suit.

Dan Debenham:
[21:49] That’s one of the big comments that when you hear from viewers as they and again we’re grateful for these kind of positive
postings that you get is is people are saying you know the worst thing about the end of regular braces I have to wait a year before I can watch it again with us again that’s not going to be the case.

Al Doan:
[22:09] That’s great man congratulation.

Dan Debenham:
[22:11] Yeah we it’s Rich really cool.

Al Doan:
[22:15] So on the oh yeah I’m dying to know the people that are like the backups so the 4th at that didn’t make it on.

Geoff Openshaw:
[22:25] The understudies yet.

Al Doan:
[22:27] The understudies of such an emotional thing right you’ve already gotten done all of the research I’m assuming so that you have like routes lined up and everything
do you give them these experiences even though they don’t make it on the show I mean.

Dan Debenham:
[22:42] Yeah so every contact that we make that’s one of the biggest questions of concern that we get from,
from viewers and of course the beauty is with social media you now now instantaneously what people like what they’re concerned what their thoughts are with everybody post everything and and one in one of the biggest,
questions of concern that we get is please tell me Dan and I get personally emailed and sent things because you can you can.

Al Doan:
[23:12] You know who her mom is.

Dan Debenham:
[23:13] You can quickly see now that it is a lenzworks Productions and if you had Google Lens works you can email me and I get those emails sometimes that are like you know
you are the biggest scum on Earth how can you send that person home when when they had three more days of relatives to meet and our point is no no no no no no no no no
sorry we don’t have the time to explain all those nuances
but yes every bit of research that we do for anyone whether they appear on the show or not,
get sent to those people that’s it that’s the point of the show it is to,
find find the family and it’s not like we’re going to do the research and then go yeah we did all this research but you know you didn’t make it on so you don’t get the big prize.

Al Doan:
[23:59] That’s three strikes.

Dan Debenham:
[24:00] Yeah we we send everybody yeah we send everybody the research on everybody.

Geoff Openshaw:
[24:06] I was wondering I was wondering about that cuz the last season for example team black I think sort of Hit the new the new Xenith for dramatic story lines with him.

Dan Debenham:
[24:15] Open up until this season.

Geoff Openshaw:
[24:18] Yeah I’ve been told Lucy of course I know obviously you’re building on it but I remember thinking that last season like what would have happened if they would have gotten booted before he met his dad I figured there was a contingency in play.

Dan Debenham:
[24:28] And it there there is including including the way that we would have produced the shows.

[24:34] So while everything is recorded live to tape on all of those cameras we then bring that all back in and we have to edit,
all of those because we’re recording thousands of hours and of course
why we had a 90-minute Premiere this season 4 for the first episode the rest of the episodes or 1 hour and we’ve got to figure out how to take hundreds of
shooting hours every day and come inside down to an hour and and as part of that,
we have contingencies on if somebody is get received their third strike you know and they are missing a huge part of their story,
then we have different contingencies on how to edit that into the bandits and to this point we never had that scenario happen but I can tell you that,
I did it it could occur this season and I can tell you that we’re certainly planning for contingencies on that for season 4 cuz it looks like it it it could happen for season 4 as well so we have contingencies to how to
how to in post-production how to edit in those storylines,
even though they may not officially be part of the race anymore.

[26:01] That we we talked about ways to make sure that the viewers are satisfied with,
seeing results and by the way that is a byproduct of what you just discussed which was Joe team black on season 2,
and the idea personal comments that we that I personally received where people like how could you send him home and you know where point is well.
Again it’s a race but we also get it to television show and you have invested your time and emotions as viewers into the show and we want to deliver,
payment on that and we’ve got various ways to do that.

Al Doan:
[26:42] Do you do you have like a favorite story that didn’t make it on of either one of the understudies or one of the team.

Dan Debenham:
[26:48] Yes yes yes yes we do I got to tell my gosh I have so many of those it’s hard to narrow it down to one I I can tell you that we we had the twin,
okay okay let me go back we had two brothers that were going to be on the show that we wanted to cast on the show.
And they were not Brothers by Blood they were both adopted by the same family okay so and yet they knew nothing of their.
biological parents and so they were as adopted brothers raised in the same family out on a quest to find their biological parents.

[27:35] And we we found we found the mother the biological mother.
One of those young men that the that the brothers were 29 and 35.
And we found the biological mother it took get we we are private detectives.
We we owe you can’t believe what we go through sometimes just to eat we we often have to bring in legal help to unseal court documents and records and we have to petition the courts and and,
and in this case we found the biological mother and we found as a result of that we found all of his family.

[28:22] And they would not be on the show and you said no don’t do it.
We had but you but but we said but you have a son that wants to meet you and the Mother breaking your heart set on don’t care I don’t want to meet him and I don’t want to be on this show.

[28:39] You just sit there and you go to you and I we don’t get that right but.
The one thing I’ve learned in my years is you know I haven’t walked in other people’s shoes and I don’t.
You know I just I don’t know what’s going through her head I don’t I don’t know what her life has been like but you know I can tell you that.
We we negotiated oh I can tell you that we negotiated an ability for them to connect with each other if they so chose to.
So so that’s what we we we again we we we said look it’s in your hands here’s how you get ahold of you.

Al Doan:
[29:28] When you when you go back to this this potential contestant can you tell him that hey we found your mom but she doesn’t want to meet you.

Dan Debenham:
[29:39] I really probably should leave that one alone and I’m not trying to be dramatic your guys I’m just saying that that this one is is a fairly recent situation and it it was,
really it’s really it’s really convoluted it’s really dip.
And you know it on the flip side we’ve got some really hilarious moments that never made it on the show I mean just some really great moments that just they got they want up on the cutting-room floor because the rest of the stuff was.
You know it worked in a different way as we’re putting the shows together we fought,
this was going to be amazing but as it all comes together we decided now that’s more emotional so we’re going to go in this direction and there’s some things that are
istick that haven’t made him in the show this year I can tell you that this year season 3 that’s currently airing
BYUtv online is going to be airing at times and I don’t know the specifics of it cuz it’s in their marketing and social media Department we’ve delivered a bunch of,
extra footage from the episodes that will Air exclusively online.

Geoff Openshaw:
[30:57] Oh okay.

Al Doan:
[30:59] Little webisodes Maybe.

Dan Debenham:
[31:00] Yeah they’re there their little webisode they’re just kind of beer just kind of extra moments one of them is you know I I put my eyes on
on everything before it goes out
and I remember reviewing one of this each of the extra content is that they’ve asked it be around 60 Seconds,
and one of them was so I’m just sitting there just thinking man I’m telling you I’m so close to this cuz I went in and watch this 60 seconds of footage and I was just sobbing,
just sobbing my eyes out it is so beautiful and so meaningful and I’m so grateful that we that BYUtv said look give us,
additional footage if you feel it’s there that we can are online only,
and so there’s something really cool there’s some really cool additional online moment.

Geoff Openshaw:
[31:55] So I’d like to ask you about some of some of the Mormon Tangled is 3y UTV we’re Morning podcast all that good stuff so because it’s BYUtv there’s certain standard.

Dan Debenham:
[32:06] You guys are Mormon.

Geoff Openshaw:
[32:07] I’m serious.

Dan Debenham:
[32:08] You’re Mormon.

Al Doan:
[32:10] Where the heart a Mormon.

Geoff Openshaw:
[32:11] Ask the missionaries they can help you they know everything so.

Dan Debenham:
[32:16] I got two young men in white shirts and ties are two beautifully dressed young lady that will come and visit with you and tell you about this interesting story of a young man that went out to find out for himself which church to join,
and we’ve got the answer for you and it’s called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I’m sorry so go on.

Geoff Openshaw:
[32:37] Fresh from his gig at teaching at the MTC this afternoon that he’s ready okay Church standards do they try to enforce title BYUtv of course has,
has stretched out a lot in recent years it’s wholesome programming but they’re trying not to be overly religious as they have been in years past but.

Al Doan:
[32:56] I noticed a lot of hex and gosh darn it.

Geoff Openshaw:
[32:58] Exactly like you have to tell them not to curse on cam.

Dan Debenham:
[32:59] Yeah so that’s it’s a great point.

Geoff Openshaw:
[33:01] Do they drink on the side of the rules in place or anything like that.

Dan Debenham:
[33:06] Well you probably remember that there are standards that that that we do need to adhere to
and I and we don’t have any problem with that went went when Tom and I created my business partners name is Tom to do an itch and when Tom and I got together to create lens Works Productions this was about,
teen years ago 19 years ago we long before we had any interaction with,
with BYUtv we personally wanted to create what we called programming with a purpose
and and so you know I came from ESPN Tom came from ABC and and so boy talk about a real match,
Maiden Mormon dumb
was this this wonderful relationship with BYUtv which there was no BYUtv went When lines Works Productions was first born having said that moving forward this show which is a
unscripted reality show that captures all of the moments does 1/2 there certain things that that are there.

[34:12] Clearly need to be here too and we have no problem with that which is we’re not going to bleep anything out like every other unscripted show it’s all bleeped well here you don’t hear anything bleed because,
we don’t include everything out is that to say that there are people on the show that the curse,
yeah the answer is absolutely some of the sweetest people you’ve seen on the show part of their lexicon in the way that they grew up is.

[34:41] God different language and and and and we just we
don’t include it and when it happens our producers are constantly reminding people saying yeah you know that that one word you really like to describe it’s an ad gif,
it’s a bird it’s a noun it’s a protease don’t ya you can’t use that so so,
we we the other thing is is we don’t show smoking we don’t show,
actively drinking but you clearly see wine and other things in shots let me be clear BYUtv Executives have been,
amazing to work with and,
and they recognize either of these are these are really talented people like they’ve come from they have very distinguished,
backgrounds in the television production industries in ad agencies in Industries in,
hey babe they understand the reality of what BYUtv is and what they’re trying to be in that is a stated that statement is clear that this is a gift BYUtv is is the LDS church as gift,
to the world and all they’re looking for is like minded viewers people that just don’t want to hear bleeps every other word in.

[36:06] You know that’s what they’re trying they’re looking for like-minded viewers a place to go where you can turn it on and actually enjoy meaningful content and programming and that’s what we do now,
it doesn’t mean that that’s what we capture all the time but that’s what we deliver,
shoot the person will go unnamed but I can tell you that there is a person that was on the show.

[36:32] Nobody would ever guess,
how this person talks because this person is I swear they’re still probably one of the most popular individuals,
been on relative race and you would just not.
Believe what comes out of her mouth and it’s because she just doesn’t know any pictures how she grew up and it it’s not meant in an offensive way at all it’s just part of her,
it’s part of her vocabulary you know, I had to say,
you really kind of rain that in and it was just it was kind of adorable to watch and and by the way it’s it’s it’s it’s kind of few and far between.

[37:25] That this is what takes place on a daily basis and those that use that language quickly it’s a matter of habits right and and and those habits change pretty quick when you got,
a bunch of cameras in your face all the time and a producer that’s going yeah you can’t say that book nope can’t say that but that changes really quickly and it’s usually after
a couple of days that that rare individual,
it is just gone that’s gone from their lexicon after a couple days I just don’t use it anymore in it. What’s interesting is he here,
them talk about it off camera after the show is off shot
and we stay in touch with them and they chest hey you know you guys broke or I didn’t really realize how I talked and man it’s kind of refreshing that I don’t talk like that anymore my friends back home with comment about it excetera excetera.

[38:22] I was just going to say guys the BYUtv a lot of people think I think there’s some assumptions that because this airs on BYUtv that these people are LDS Branson or not,
and in fact BYUtv has made it clear that look we’re not in any way shape or form interested in casting Mormons on the show,
now if they happen to In-N-Out,
that their point is if they happen to be part of the good storytelling and part of the people in the casting efforts in that works out and that’s great too but they made it clear that this isn’t a Mormon show,
this is a show about finding family.

Geoff Openshaw:
[39:04] So building on that you make me want to ask one question any good Mormon does I like the Mormon watch you know you looking at the crowd you try to pick us out now it’s it’s normal have it we’re all involved in have there been.

Dan Debenham:
[39:15] Oh I had you pegged I had you pegged a long time ago by the way I knew you were.

Geoff Openshaw:
[39:20] My guess my guess you can refute this is that in the three seasons of the race two of the teams have been LDS am I correct or not.

Al Doan:
[39:33] Yes or no Dan we want answers.

Dan Debenham:
[39:34] Data data that is that is correct actually that is correct.

Geoff Openshaw:
[39:38] Now I don’t.

Dan Debenham:
[39:39] Now I’m curious I’m curious if that is actually correct and I’m curious to see if you know which two teams.

Geoff Openshaw:
[39:45] Okay my guess is Tim Green from season one and team black on the currents.

Dan Debenham:
[39:54] You know sometimes know-it-alls really bother me.

Geoff Openshaw:
[39:59] Team Blake gives it away he’s doing the T-shirt with the crew neck white underneath no normal person does that unless there’s a good reason to I just it just goes against the rules of fashion so it just gives it away just assume.

Dan Debenham:
[40:13] I got to tell you that somebody in our company came to me about a month before we filmed this season season 3,
and they said damn you’re not going to believe this I said what they said you don’t teen black,
I said Team black from what season is the season we’re about to film and I said yeah and they go their Mormon and I said really,
yeah and what was interesting is we didn’t have a hint of that and we’ve been working with them for 3 months then have a hint,
it’s not in their back room that they happen to be convert to the church and its meaning a didn’t come up in their background research or any of those things,
so we were as we were very very surprised to discover that because
that wasn’t any part we had no knowledge of died in the casting situation and all of our Skype calls and going down and doing their back story and filming them leading up to it we didn’t we didn’t have any idea that.

Geoff Openshaw:
[41:15] Haha that’s so funny.

Al Doan:
[41:16] You should you should fire that Pi that he couldn’t find that out.

Geoff Openshaw:
[41:20] What are maybe it’s on team black for not letting their light so shine that you know you can pick up.

Dan Debenham:
[41:27] Look I grew up in California Alaska and Connecticut so it’s not like I grew up in these bastions of the church so I never go around in the crowd going,
you know I think she’s a Relief Society president Elders Quorum President right there yet.

Geoff Openshaw:
[41:43] How did Dan did you got you got us I grew up by Disneyland you got to spend more time there you can pick out Mormons like it’s it’s like shooting fish in a barrel at Disneyland it’s outstanding.

Al Doan:
[41:52] If you if you were is seeing if you were single as long as Jeff and I were you get pretty good at 5.

Dan Debenham:
[41:58] Hey I will. I will I will tell you this I will I will admit this when I went when I spent those years at ESPN I people would meet my wife.
And they would just look at me and say where did you find her,
and I said Utah and there’s about a hundred thousand others that are there just that gorgeous and they’re like are you serious oh yeah I said those Mormon they know how to raise beautiful women let me tell people like,
so she’s a Mormon to and I tell you. Can you believe that I’m a Mormon and she’s a Mormon to ya.

Al Doan:
[42:34] The Scandinavian Converse they really did as a solid.

Dan Debenham:
[42:36] Like my wife does not look Scandinavian I thought she was Italian when I met her in college and she’s but now I married way over my head way way over my head.

Geoff Openshaw:
[42:47] OU practice guideline from many a sacrament meeting.

Dan Debenham:
[42:51] Know if you saw my wife and met her you would realize,
you kind of gold so explain why did you marry Dan what that I don’t get this cuz she is bright
beautiful stunning she is the life of a party she knows how to make everybody else feel fantastic whereas I just kind of suck at those things,
and she’s great.

Al Doan:
[43:14] She sounds like a real nice lady I real.

Dan Debenham:
[43:16] That she is she’s amazing.

Geoff Openshaw:
[43:18] Well we’re grateful she’s giving you us Dan so it still works out.

[43:25] We’re all happy well everybody we hope if you have not seen relative race wonderful show over there on BYUtv the BYUtv app is all over the place now it’s on like every single streaming platform other time.

Al Doan:
[43:37] I’ve got it on Xbox Ric have no excuse.

Geoff Openshaw:
[43:40] Yeah it’s on everything so.

Dan Debenham:
[43:41] The way I figure guys as you could go outside and connect to electrical currents together hold it up in a cloudy day and you’re going to be able to pick up BYUtv.

Geoff Openshaw:
[43:50] Well maybe if you’re in Utah but you know for the rest of us who are streaming everything.
But the folks check it out we’re a couple of episodes in the season 3 so it’s not too late to hop on and and see the rest of the season I imagine there are many more surprises awaiting us as the season goes on I would assume Dan you can vouch for that.

Dan Debenham:
[44:10] Guys I can tell you honestly our challenge has been we’ve been given this challenge just say yep we want another season and,
and I don’t know how you’re going to make it better but I can tell you that this season is yeah it’s it’s just amazing that the connections the families the storylines that develop it’s it’s.
It’s amazing it’s amazing and we hope we can we help we can capture that again in season 4 and Beyond.

Geoff Openshaw:
[44:39] I’m sure you will. I look forward to seeing you every Sunday with dramatic b-roll footage of the relative race office with everyone acting like it’s.
Like it’s the red alarm fire whatever military analogy.

Al Doan:
[44:52] It’s soaked.

Geoff Openshaw:
[44:53] But my favorite was because of hurricane Harvey you had an entire screen dedicated to weather and I just love seeing that every single week like these people at this is fierce this is Fierce People.

Dan Debenham:
[45:05] I’m in for Ivan press that you pick those things up we are actually hoping that people pick those things up because of the little details that we think matter but yes that’s the point is,
hurricane you know that hurricane hit right as we were filming it and that’s what’s in the background cuz we were had to track that hurricane.

Geoff Openshaw:
[45:22] Oh I love the super intense command center it’s one of my favorite parts of the show actually I.

Al Doan:
[45:28] Did it’s got a fight.

Geoff Openshaw:
[45:30] That’s awesome.

Dan Debenham:
[45:31] Guys you can just call me good just call me I think I am James T Kirk and you are all aboard the Starship in.

Al Doan:
[45:37] I want you to use that line.

Geoff Openshaw:
[45:40] All right we’ll Dan Devon have thank you so much for the time and good luck with all future editions of relative race and we’re grateful for all your success and for you taking the time to talk to us today.

Dan Debenham:
[45:50] Hey guys it was my pleasure I hope we can do it again in future okay.

Geoff Openshaw:
[45:54] What to do I take everybody.

Al Doan:
[45:55] All right we’ll see a man.

Dan Debenham:
[45:56] Sia bye bye.

Geoff Openshaw:
[45:58] Well it’s great huh.

Al Doan:
[46:00] Show the best.

Geoff Openshaw:
[46:01] I like that I like that you know.

Al Doan:
[46:06] Dan what a guy.

Geoff Openshaw:
[46:08] Dan the Man.

Al Doan:
[46:09] All right Jeff well.

Geoff Openshaw:
[46:11] I I I really enjoy that actually I will make sure to watch relative race do it they don’t pay us anyway to say that it’s just.

Al Doan:
[46:17] Literal tears tears tears tears tears on the on the side of my face and flames and the Flames were coming up.

Geoff Openshaw:
[46:27] Who reference good clue reference.
The one thing I will say that was a lie think you and I only would have qualified for like season 1 when they’re still figuring it out I don’t think I’m interesting enough now and I don’t have a cool genealogy story to Merit being on relative race which is.

Al Doan:
[46:42] Also also I mean you’re not as excited about your relatives you be like all you’re my cousin whatever.

Geoff Openshaw:
[46:47] I did want to ask Dan we don’t have time if you had any stories of kind of more Awkward encounters with relatives that didn’t make it on camera.
Cuz it had to be there they meet people from all walks of life and naturally you’re going to jail better with some than others so I imagine.
It’s normal I just you know just because someone’s your relative doesn’t mean you’ve hit it off perfectly but I’m.

Al Doan:
[47:10] Well we will ask will ask him next time Alaska next.

Geoff Openshaw:
[47:14] He didn’t hit that he would like to come back so.

Al Doan:
[47:16] Everybody we enjoy your emails contact at this week in Mormons. Com we’re still read them we still read them.

Geoff Openshaw:
[47:22] Read them all the time by the way Sunday school Bonanza listeners I just want to apologize but you can send your hate mail portal who’s yet to figure out our redirect to.

Al Doan:
[47:32] I’ll do it one of these days one of these days.

Geoff Openshaw:
[47:34] We’re like going to be months behind when they get there so the boys Sunday School it’s just the right now the feed is pulling in the Twin feed so you just get to listen to swim on both channels.
Anyway social they’ll follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t done so that would be an excellent thing to do you can take part in all the great fraternity that we have there so I’ll thanks for joining us.

Al Doan:
[47:55] Anytime see Jeff.

Geoff Openshaw:
[47:58] Love you buddy everyone be well be holy and be.

Al Doan:
[48:01] And be wise.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

More Good Stuff

Stay current with all things Latter-day Saints

Give Us Your Sacred Email

We don’t spam, unless you consider emails from us recapping stuff to be spam.