2010-10-09 / News

‘Dirty Jobs’ Films Special Episode at Grand Hotel

By Karen Gould

Hot tea is ready to be poured and champagne awaits a celebration toast as the season finale of “Dirty Jobs” is about to be filmed in the Pontiac Room at Grand Hotel Friday, September 24. Following filming with Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel show, twins Carolyn (right) and Marilyn Maedel said they had fun. Big fans of the show, the twins also helped introduce segments in 2009. Carolyn said of the crew and the host, “They're just neat guys, and he's a nice man, they're just such a nice group to be around. We just had a ball.” Hot tea is ready to be poured and champagne awaits a celebration toast as the season finale of “Dirty Jobs” is about to be filmed in the Pontiac Room at Grand Hotel Friday, September 24. Following filming with Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel show, twins Carolyn (right) and Marilyn Maedel said they had fun. Big fans of the show, the twins also helped introduce segments in 2009. Carolyn said of the crew and the host, “They're just neat guys, and he's a nice man, they're just such a nice group to be around. We just had a ball.” Dirt, alligators, sewer pipes, sharks, and other grimy and icky stuff were nowhere to be found by the crew of the television show “Dirty Jobs” Friday morning, September 24. The staff that travels around the country holding cameras and following the show's host, Mike Rowe, into unlikely spots was busy preparing to film the final episode of the season in the Pontiac Room at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. On the east end of the hotel, the highly appointed room offers a sweeping view of the Straits and Mackinac Bridge, a far cry from past filming sites like the inside of a dirt-encrusted industrial furnace or a red-ant-infested alligator nest.

Behind the scenes, Dave Barsky (right), producer of “Dirty Jobs,” goes over final details prior to filming the last episode of the season at Grand Hotel Friday, September 24. Pictured are cameraman Dan Eggiman and director of photography Douglas Glover. Not pictured are “Dirty Jobs” crew members Troy Paff, Chris Jones, Ryan Walsh, and Amber McClarin. Behind the scenes, Dave Barsky (right), producer of “Dirty Jobs,” goes over final details prior to filming the last episode of the season at Grand Hotel Friday, September 24. Pictured are cameraman Dan Eggiman and director of photography Douglas Glover. Not pictured are “Dirty Jobs” crew members Troy Paff, Chris Jones, Ryan Walsh, and Amber McClarin. This is the second year the crew has filmed the season's last show at Grand Hotel. In 2009, Michigan twins Marilyn and Carolyn Maedel of St. Clair, in a conversation with Mr. Rowe, helped introduce segments that featured the hard working crew. The twins were a big hit with viewers and the crew, said Dave Barsky, the show's producer.

“I'm not going to lie to you,” he said.” As soon as that conversation was over, I said to Mike, 'I want to use them again.'”

So they are all back on Mackinac Island, the crew, Mr. Rowe, and the Maedel twins.

“The special we are shooting now is called, 'Dirty Conversations,' and it's most of the stuff behind the scenes with people who have been on the show throughout the years,” said Mr. Barsky. “The conversation we're going to have with the Maedel sisters today will frame that and introduce those pieces. They are big fans of the show. They know more about the show than I do at this point. I'm not kidding you.”

Mr. Rowe and the twins would have tea and a conversation that would introduce film clips in the finished show, said Mr. Barsky.

The season premiere of “Dirty Jobs” is Tuesday, October 19, he said. This episode shot on Mackinac Island will be shown on the Discovery Channel sometime after January, but the exact date has not been determined yet.

When filming a traditional episode of “Dirty Jobs,” Mr. Rowe interviews people doing skilled work while he learns how to perform their job, and that usually leads into humorous situations.

“That's what 'Dirty Jobs' really is, a talk show in a sewer, basically,” said Mr. Barsky. “We learn, of course, because it is the Discovery Channel, but we discover who these people are and how hard they work.”

Filming at Grand Hotel is far less demanding than shooting on the Mackinac Bridge, as the crew did in 2007, although the process still requires planning. The Pontiac Room is one of the easiest for filming for the crew, Mr. Barsky said. Sunlight sneaking in and out of the clouds, changing the room's lighting, was the biggest challenge Friday.

As producer, Mr. Barsky is involved in every aspect of the show and that begins in the production office in Los Angeles. There, the staff sorts through job ideas looking for unique situations and work sites that will be visually interesting.

Once they arrive at a film site and scenes are determined, Mr. Barsky works with director of photography Doug Glover, who looks at the natural light and determines where people will look best. Then the two men discuss the scene and possible camera angles.

“We have to make quick decisions every day and I have to know what everyone is doing at the same time,” he said.

In a static scene like the one being filmed at Grand Hotel, the feel of the conversation will be translated by use of cameras.

To accommodate the scene, cameraman Troy Paff's camera will move around and three additional cameras will be used to shoot the conversation between Mr. Rowe and the Maedel twins.

“I want Troy's camera to really pick up on that and help the audience feel how dynamically they speak,” said Mr. Barsky, who eventually will participate in the editing process.

This shoot, said Mr. Barsky, will not be the last on Mackinac Island.

“Mike and the whole crew love it here and I guarantee we will be back next year,” he promised. “I guarantee we're going to find a reason.”

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