Living with Ed


The Production

The ProductionLiving with Ed Season 3 Press


Season Three – Living with Ed


Details of the Production

The goal in producing Living with Ed is to have the lowest possible carbon footprint and gets the most efficient use of energy and resources possible.

It all started with a 10-minute pilot we decided to put together for the network. We shot in February of 2006 at the Begley ’s home in the Los Angeles area. 

As a crew we weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived for the first shoot day.  All of us knew who Ed Begley, Jr. was, but we weren’t sure if we were going to be ejected from the house for wearing leather shoes or if we would be force fed granola and rosehip water.

We soon found out Ed is one of the most non-judgmental people you will ever meet. He welcomed our questions and kindly accepted us into his home like we were part of his close knit circle for years.  

The first day we took a tour of the home with Ed and Rachelle Carson Begley, his equally remarkable wife. They took us through the front yard where Ed houses his own drought tolerant plants, some of which are edible. He also took us through his amazingly normal home where he showed us all the modifications he has made over time to run a greener life or “Ship” as Ed’s refers to it.

Ed and Rachelle’s whole living experience is completely off the “grid”. By “grid” I mean the Local Power Company that the rest of us pay $30-$190/ month to for lights, heat and general electricity. None of us in the crew had really thought seriously about getting electricity any other way than by plugging into the wall and paying a bill monthly. 

As Ed showed us around, we all felt like a brand new door had opened to a place that we had heard about, but never really thought was possible in everyday life.That’s the thing with Ed.  He does the following four things that lure you in and we can all learn from:

  1. He never preaches about what he is doing. If he is asked, he will tell you exactly what he thinks and never pass judgment on those who are outside of his box of thinking. 
  1. He doesn’t expect everyone to live like him. It’s this little thing he does where he has his personal goals and you just naturally aspire to be like him. He makes it look so easy and he doesn’t ask anything of you.
  1. He walks the walk 100%.
  1. He is way ahead of the rest of the world. Ok, maybe the rest of the world has been told to take care of the planet over and over again, but he actually listens and cares about future generations. We all are obsessed with being more technologically advanced, but maybe Ed has it right with his one simple phrase: Live Simply…So Others Can Simply Live. Is it technology that is ahead or living simpler?

We all left the first day of shooting with a refreshed view on the environment and a new sense of living.


The first thing we all thought of was recycling. We ordered a new recycling bin at our production offices. Once we told everyone on staff that we had a new recycling pickup, the results were astounding. The bin filled up with cardboard boxes and paper in less then a day. We then had to call the city of Burbank and jump through hoops to get a huge recycling dumpster. 

We were all embarrassed that we hadn’t done something like this before. We went through tons of paper, cans of soda and cardboard boxes everyday for the last few years and never recycled one piece. That’s sad, but look at Ed saving people one office at a time.

Ed recycles any paper we use while at his house which is 100% post consumer, and our crew fills and brings a large water container that is used with washable bottles assigned to each crew member.

We also use Burbank Recycling Center to recycle old DVDs and CDs after use.


Production requires a lot of paperwork. Releases, scripts, emails, binders, music cue sheets, edit decision lists, etc. It goes on and on and most of the reports are in the 100’s of pages. We decided to make a conscious effort to only print things as needed. If it can stay on your computer, it should. If you can scan it and email it instead of making multiple copies, than you should. We also purchased recycled paper instead of new paper.

Note:  When you are done with toner cartridges you can recycle them.  There are a lot of charities that take them or you can look on the vendor websites for return slips. Staples will even pay you for recycling them.


As I mentioned before, craft services in production are quite lavish on some sets. We have always had smaller craft services at BCII, but we needed to do a better job for this show and future shows alike. We decided to buy things in bulk where possible. No more individual bags of chips, candy and other wasteful wrapping paper. 

If we were going to snack on nuts, then we could all take if from the same big jar and not individual packets.  Once you start to think about the waste of buying individually, it is pretty easy to move towards bigger containers and refilling snacks instead of throwing away a wrapper every time you snack.

Car Pooling and Hybrids

Ed with family To date we haven’t done a lot of traveling on Living with Ed. Most of the shooting we do is at their home, so thankfully we aren’t required to use a lot of gas. The crew is carpooled from a central location at BCII offices in Burbank each shoot day. Hybrid vehicles are used for transportation and all vehicles are offset with TerraPass.

Note:  Ed either rides his bike or drives his electric vehicle. I have never seen him in a gasoline car. Not even our crew carpool.



There is a simple rule every one of us has naturally adopted on set. If you aren’t using it, turn it off and/or unplug it.   We all realize that when we are charging our camera’s, batteries and other equipment at the Begley’s home we are being fully charged by solar grids. This does not give us an excuse to waste electricity. Even if the energy is clean, we need not waste.

Note: While on location at Ed’s home, all equipment and batteries are plugged in and charged from the solar PV on site. When on location elsewhere, batteries are pre-charged on the solar before moving to location. All non-solar PV power used is offset with TerraPass.

Lights, Camera, Action….

We decided to use fluorescents on set instead of incandescnets and for good reason. They cast a beautifully diffused soft light, use less power than incandescents, and run cool. No more furnace-like atmosphere that requires loads of cooling and sweaty foreheads.

As far as cameras go, we have to use a certain level of camera to shoot the show. There isn’t a lot of play in this area. We are already charging the camera’s batteries on solar, but we decided we would try and use the tapestock till its end to reduce tape usage.

As far as the still camera’s we use, we only use digital. This way we do not waste paper, or film processing chemicals. We find that only about 2% of the pictures we ever take are used outside of our group and most are for online consumption. 

We all think of new things everyday and continue to grow as we shoot the show.  If you have suggestions, please let us know by emailing us at

We will post more of our production green notes as we make changes to our everyday habits. Check back soon.
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