By Gary Seider
I arrived at the Santos Residence for the first time the afternoon of April 16th. It’s not every day you get to see a house jacked 11 feet into the air straight up! It’s funny how our thinking is conditioned based on what we’re used to seeing, because I remember wondering how Mr. and Mrs. Santos were going to park their car in their garage that was now up in the air!
In a very short time, I met Sarah Monzon, who is one of the producers of “This Old House” and Kevin O’Connor, who is one of the hosts of the show. It was the first time I had met them, so we took some time to talk and get to know one another. The conversation quickly centered on helical piles; what they were, how they were installed, and why they were being used on the Santos residence. In less than 15 minutes, both Kevin and Sarah had a good grasp of the subject. I have no idea what their prior experience with helical piles was, but they sure were quick studies. About 15 minutes after that, Kevin and I had worked out a rough “script” for the film shoot. We focused on what helical piles were, and why they were a good choice for supporting homes that have to be elevated in the coastal V-Zones.
The sound guys miked me up, and before I knew it, we were shooting. Kevin was absolutely great! He made my job easy. He prompted me with questions, and I answered them. He made me feel at ease. I estimate we did 10 to 15 takes from all angles and several “entering” directions. I don’t recall the director’s name, but he did a great job telling me what he was looking for.
And just like that, we were done. Kevin and Sarah went to prepare for their next shoot with the project engineer. It was at that point that I realized I didn’t have any lunch and I was starving!
All in all, it was a great experience. The “This Old House” cast and crew made it easy. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to the airing later this fall!
Gary Seider is the Engineering Manager. Gary develops and patents many products currently used in helical applications, while continuing to give educational seminars around the country and abroad.
This episode of “This Old House” will air on October 17, 2013 at 8pm on PBS. To catch a sneak peak of the featured house and learn more about the use of helical piers in house raising, check out our first video installment of “The Sandy Solution Series“. For more pictures of the filming, check out our Facebook album.