TV film crew stops in Fairfield
Fairfield cannot hide from the limelight.
In a week when the city and its residents will be seen on two nationally televised programs – “Moving America Forward” and Oprah Winfrey’s “Lifeclass” – two Fairfield businesses hosted a camera crew that will feature them on the Discovery Channel Show “How It’s Made.”
Fairfield Precast Concrete welcomed the cameramen Tuesday, and Creative Edge Master Shop opened its doors to the crew Wednesday. The filmmakers spent both days recording each business produce a product from start to finish – septic tanks in the case of Fairfield Precast Concrete and a stone floor pattern in the case of Creative Edge Mastershop.
The program “How It’s Made” educates the public about the processes involved in manufacturing goods. It is produced by “Productions MAJ,” a company in Montreal, Canada, which sells the rights to the show to television stations in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere. The segments filmed in Fairfield this week are expected to be aired in about a year.
The four men in the film crew are all from Montreal and speak French as their native language. The director, Felix St. Jacques, said his crew records an average of two hours of raw footage when it visits a factory. That footage is sent to the production company in Montreal, which edits it down to a segment lasting five minutes and 30 seconds.
Jim Belilove, president of Creative Edge Master Shop, told his employees they didn’t have to be on film if they didn’t want to be, but no one on his staff was camera shy. In fact, he said his workers were excited to share what they do with a national audience.
“Everybody liked the attention,” he said. “I brought pizza for everybody. It was a fun day.”
Belilove noticed the film crew wheeling around a cart covered in bumper stickers. The crew told him they collect bumper stickers from every place they visit, so Belilove gave them one to commemorate their trip to his business.
Cindy and Mike Scearcy, owners of Fairfield Precast Concrete, said they learned of the chance to be on the Discovery Channel through an email from Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce director Nancy Morrissey. Productions MAJ announced it was coming through Iowa and was looking for factories to highlight in “How It’s Made.” The Scearcys and Belilove wrote back to express their interest in being included on the show.
Cindy Scearcy said she emailed the producer a step-by-step account of how her products are made, to give him an idea about whether the process would be ripe for filming. St. Jacques said the production company wants to make sure it is not filming something it has already filmed for an earlier episode.
The employees at Fairfield Precast Concrete said they would normally make four septic tanks in a day, but because they had to slow down and repeat steps for the camera, they only made one mold Tuesday. St. Jacques said he likes to film every process twice – once with the camera zoomed in and another with it zoomed out. His job is to leave no stone unturned, to make sure the editor in Montreal has all the footage necessary for the clip.
Scearcy said her workers were not excited at the prospect of being actors for a day, but she said they tolerated the slow pace and tedious nature of filming fairly well.
“I can see why actors are alcoholics,” she said, referring to the need to shoot one scene over and over.
The camera crew did not worry about doing interviews or even capturing sound for their filming in Fairfield. The clips will be narrated by someone in the Montreal office. Scearcy said the producer has told her she will be able to preview the final product before it airs to ensure the process was described correctly.
St. Jacques said he and the production crew had a great time while in Fairfield. They went to a bar Tuesday night where they were able to see their Montreal Canadiens defeat the Boston Bruins in an NHL playoff game. St. Jacques said he was surprised to meet a French speaker at the bar.