Kevin Deane

Kevin Deane

Burnett talks way into pilot

Spallumcheen world champion auctioneer Rod Burnett featured in a pilot being shopped to U.S. television networks

For a new reality TV show called Fast Talkers, who better to spotlight than an auctioneer?

And Spallumcheen’s Rod Burnett of Valley Auction, a two-time, provincial, Canadian and world champion auctioneer, is among the finest.

Burnett, who turned 37 Thursday, is sharing his everyday life as a world-class auctioneer with help from celebrity host Brett Wagner of Speed Channel’s highest-rated show, Pass Time, and the magic of producer and cameraman Kevin Deane of San Francisco-based Oakville Lane Productions.

“They’re shooting a pilot with the name of Fast Talkers, and once they get this footage, Kevin will take it to a huge television convention at the end of the month in San Francisco and shop it to the different networks,” said Burnett, who has had Wagner and Deane with him in Spallumcheen this week.

“Hopefully, a certain network will buy 10 episodes or a year’s worth. This is all just a lead-up to us selling the show. Once the show is sold, hopefully it becomes a regular occurrence.”

The idea for the show came to Wagner about a year ago while he was helping Burnett sell classic cars at auctions.

Wagner and Deane visited Burnett in Red Deer in September at a three-day class car auction, and spent the better part of three days at Valley Auction helping Burnett with a cattle auction.

They wrapped up the visit Saturday by shooting Burnett doing his thing at a car auction in Kelowna.

“They’re like, ‘here you are in a tuxedo selling classic cars, here you are in a cowboy hat selling cattle, and here you are in a ball cap selling to the public people,’” said Burnett of the show’s premise.

Deane admits projects like this can be a gamble, as interest, timing and, of course, money can all play a role in determining whether the show gets picked up by a producer, calling it “kind of a crap shoot.”

But considering the subject, Deane believes the show could garner substantial interest.

“I wouldn’t have spent all this money and flown all the way up here if I didn’t believe in it,” said Deane.

Such hit TV shows as Storage Wars have recently sparked intrigue into the auction world, and Deane hopes to give viewers a peek into the life of a live fast talker – from all the behind-the scenes prep to the swift tongue of auctioneers that could sell ice-cream to the Inuit.

“A lot of auction shows don’t show what it takes to book in the stuff, how you set up the sale, the thought process or all the ins and outs,” said Burnett.

Even though he confesses having a camera filming his every move, particularly while conducting an auction, is a little distracting, Burnett has gotten used to it.

He even laughingly admits he’s turned to Deane and said things like ‘Oh I probably shouldn’t have said that.’

Burnett credits Wagner and Deane for being consummate professionals during filming.

“Wagner is one-third of the show, he’s the guy helping us on the floor and he has picked up the auction business, which is nice,” said Burnett. “He’s willing to learn the ropes to make it work.

“Kevin is excellent. I don’t even really notice that he’s there.”

If the show does get picked up by a U.S. network – and Burnett believes the audience is there for such a show – it would mean more exposure for Valley Auction.

“If the show gets sold, it would be a huge asset, that we are all in agreement,” said Burnett, referring to his auction partners, Don and Peter Raffan.

“We’re not afraid of how we do business so we’re not afraid of how we’re going to get portrayed, so we think it’s good.

“We think it’s going to promote us and open us to a wider audience. Some people don’t know we sell cattle, or sell furniture or host horse sales and equipment sales. This will open us up to a bigger spectrum.”

—With a file from The Morning Star’s Jennifer Smith