Reality TV contains so much drama that it's hard to separate it from narratives. There are big stakes, bigger personalities, and tighter deadlines for the people behind the camera.

You're constantly trying to get episodes up, highlight certain personalities, and even make things feel sexy and fun.

It's a demanding job that takes a lot of special skills.

Vanderpump Villa Editors Lauren Stava, Kara Torsney-Weir, and Kelley Tourangeau sat down with us to talk about all of this stuff, plus much more.

Check out our conversation below.

Vanderpump Villa | Extended Preview |

Editor's note: The following interview is edited for length and clarity.

No Film School: What software do you primarily use for editing Vanderpump Villa?

Kara: We use Avid Media Composer

NFS: What strategies do you use to maintain narrative coherence when editing out large portions of footage?

Lauren:On unscripted television shows, as a viewer you are only watching condensed moments of an event. This event might play out for five minutes on air, but in reality the whole situation might have lasted for five hours, and as an editor it is our job to cut it down from five hours to five minutes while still keeping the narrative of the scene alive.

Since we really need to be picky about the content we decide to feature, my general rule of thumb is that if it makes me laugh or gasp, then it’s probably hitting the right comedic or dramatic marks and I want to include that moment in the scene I’m building.

NFS: Can you describe the process of editing a confrontation or dramatic scene to maximize tension and viewer engagement?

Lauren:In Episode 109 I edited a scene where Lisa calls Eric, the chateau manager, into her office for a meeting. She wants to give him another chance after a recent mess up, and dangles the opportunity of resuming his managerial duties in his face. In order to really maximize the drama of this conversation, I utilized reaction shots in a number of different ways. Sometimes to elicit comedy, other times to amplify tension, and sometimes to just stretch out a moment to allow the audience to “take it all in.” Combining this all with the right music, these elements can make for a very dramatic scene.

NFS: What role does music play in your editing process, and how do you choose the right tracks for specific scenes?

Kelley: Music plays a huge role in the editing process. It sets the tone and pacing of a scene and guides the audience on an emotional journey. On Vanderpump Villa we were so lucky to have an amazing Music Supervisor, Kate Rubino. She curated a variety of cues that included quirky comedy, drama, and French inspired music.

Vanderpump Villa was composed of library cues as well as some amazing cues by our composer, David Korkis. For me, music is the most fun part about editing because it helps enhance the story of the scene, and helps the audience feel the emotions we are trying to convey. When scoring Vanderpump Villa, we were inviting the audience into the world of a chateau in the French countryside. The French inspired cues help compliment the events at the chateau that were perfectly curated by Lisa Vanderpump. The music also helped drive the drama and comedy of the show.

NFS: What techniques do you use to enhance the pacing of an episode?

Kara: On Vanderpump Villa, we like to live in moments, hold on shots a little longer, but keep things moving with a variety of music. An upbeat comedy cue lends itself to some faster shots and helps us hit the punchlines. For scenes like the guest activities, we used these classy slower cues to let the audience really live in the longer slo-mo shots and feel the luxury.

NFS: How do you approach editing interviews or confessionals to complement the main storyline?

Kelley: On Vanderpump Villa the interviews are a look into the headspace of the characters which helps paint the whole picture of the story. We had an amazing story team that handed us stringouts with interview bytes already in it. The story department is the frontline that assures the interviews compliment the story. They take the first pass at the raw footage and structure the episodes.

Once we receive the interviews, there are two key things that make the interviews sing—comedy, and making sure we're propelling the story forward.

During the notes process as an editor, sometimes you have to swap an interview to change the point of view of the scene. It’s always fun mining for bytes because you get a look into the headspace of the characters. The interviews are an integral part of telling the cast members’ point of view. Another one of my favorite parts of editing on Vanderpump Villa is cutting in the interviews that described the glamorous events that Lisa Vanderpump throws for the guests. We get these amazing bytes from Lisa describing the events, and also the Chef would walk you through the delicious food he was cooking for the event.

NFS: Can you describe a challenging editing decision you had to make and how you resolved it?

Kara: Reality editing is full of challenges. One scene that I remember in particular was in Episode 106. We were trying to tell three stories within one scene: the staff partying with the guests, Marciano being stuck in the dish pit and Priscila starting to isolate herself from the rest of the staff. I had to choose what the tone and structure would be for the scene. Is it all fun? Is Marciano being left to do the dishes more dramatic?

In the end, I structured the scene so that we introduced the staff partying, hit the Priscila beat with a little light drama, then went back to the partying. Then Marciano in the dish pit was played for comedy before ending with an upbeat end of party beat. I think it ended up flowing pretty well.