A post from facebook.
December 21, 2018
Why DRS quit...
By the first few days of 2019, we will finish filming the television series FantomWorks. The shop will continue to build cars for years to come but the show called FantomWorks will conclude. Our weekly tours will continue as they have since long before the show began. A few weeks back, the network officially posted the cancellation of our television show. Because of that announcement, I decided it was time to explain why I quit and thank all involved.
I want to thank my crew of amazing technicians and the film crew that gave a group of mechanical artisans the chance to be in the spotlight. The crew of FantomWorks maintained the utmost professionalism building cars while dealing with cameras in their faces, sound equipment stuffed into nooks and crannies, radio wars (they were turned off 25 times a day), takes and retakes, working lunches, early mornings that turned into late nights, unwanted travel, and the general difficulties associated with being in front of the cameras 5 days a week, 51 weeks a year, 6.5 years non-stop. Right after the show began, employee turnover increased tenfold; stresses in the shop skyrocketed, and attacks on my company (bloodsucking leeches trying to suck “riches” that never even existed) came out of nowhere. In 2017 I announced to my crew my decision to leave the television show. To my relief, the crew responded very positively. As the cameras are now closing out the final segments of filming, the crew’s morale has skyrocketed and the love of building cars is effervescent again.
I am told that filming a television show on a “set” designed for filming and utilizing paid actors is a reasonably easy thing to do. However in the case of the show FantomWorks, filming was never easy by anyone’s standards. My thanks to those members of the network and film crew who truly cared about the shop. Some understood how difficult it was and helped in any way they could. We had eleven directors in six years, most of whom agreed this was the most difficult show to shoot they’d ever worked on (most one-hour cars shows are shot in a 2-30 day window while this show averages 548 days). Car restorations that averaged almost two years were a reality while we had to display “continuity” during the builds so it looked like they were seamless done in only days. Shop dust and oils affected film gear resulting in an unusual number of equipment issues that then resulted in countless “do overs.” We never filmed less than five days a week, many weeks six. Film crews worked 7AM till 6 or 7PM most days alongside our crews. Often times, filming went well into the night. All this while trying to keep 65 to 98 cars in build at a time. It was never easy. To add insult to injury, many customers were upset as they were never reimbursed for travel or other expenses. The film schedule was so demanding that during the final weeks of my father’s life, I was not able to attend to him. The show took over my life and to make matters worse, my wife and I now face almost a million dollars of debt we incurred keeping the production going.
I have only one regret related to leaving the show. That regret is that we have to say goodbye to our many fans. I have been honored to meet thousands of viewers of the show during the tours at the shop, in local car shows, and national events like SEMA. I’ve travelled the globe and been truly delighted and humbled by meeting so many people who have openly expressed their love of our the shop and the show.
Just a few months ago, a very emotional fan of the show shared a wonderful story. He and his father would watch the show FantomWorks together during the months before his aged father passed. His father suffered from severe dementia had forgotten almost everything; his surroundings and family. It was only during the hour that they watched this show together that his father’s mind became alert. He’d been a car builder in his younger years. While the two watched the show together, his father could “remember” and for that hour, they’d connect… they’d talk. When he told me about what the show had done for his relationship, I rationalized that all the financial hardship we’d been through to make the show and even dealing with the gutless faceless internet trolls for six and a half years were somewhat justified.
So when one of the senior executives from the network and I had a long talk. He suggested that if it doesn’t make any sense to keep going, it’s time to call it done. It was time…