Crew films PJs under pressure
IT ALL started with the Mega Truckers pilot show.
PJ's Custom Spray Painting's Steve Lemon said the Cordell Jigsaw production crew filming the show wanted to know who had done the paint job on Jon Kelly's truck and to film the process.
While at the Rocklea workshop the reality TV channel thought it would be worth doing a separate show about PJ's and the work they were doing.
"Everyone wants the trucks on the road yesterday. That's how it started," he said.
It's the pressure his 22 painters and five mechanics are under that made for great TV drama.
PJ's is where you go for custom paint, effects, interiors and trimming, as well as restoration and panel beating, airbrushing and graphics, rust and fibreglass repairs and sand blasting.
They also do mechanical work - for cars, trucks and bikes.
You name it these guys can do it.
Imagine Pimp your Ride Australian style.
Now filming is the restoration of one of Mr Kelly's trucks from start to finish - a lengthy process.
From there the crew asked to film PJ's staff at work airbrushing a brand new Western Star for a sizzle shoot and Mr Lemon agreed.
Mr Lemon said the film crew told him reality stars were made rich when shows were picked up by the major networks.
It was a possibility, he told Big Rigs, because the trucking market was different in Australia - they're bigger, longer and tougher.
But the down-to-earth spray painter said he didn't know if people would like the show.
"They want to catch real life stuff," he said of the filming.
That means swearing and all. After John Kelly's controversial launch for Mega Truckers, Mr Lemon said he wasn't too worried because swearing was just a part of life, and something the boys often did not know they were doing.
"They wanted the weird and the wonderful. We're definitely weird," he joked.
He said there's plenty of action in the workshop and some characters as well.
The main guys who work on the big projects can be working up to 10pm to get jobs finished.
"We do what we've got to do," he said. "If a truck's not on the road its not making any money."
He said his boys had to have pride in what they were doing and he didn't want anyone on the payroll who couldn't stand back and admire their work and be proud when they were done.
"It's definitely interesting to see the other side of (production). You do things 10 times to get it right for the show," he said.
"There's a few characters. No doubt there will be a laugh or two from the show."
The crew has been doing interviews with the team, time-lapse filming, roaming filming and stop-gap filming.
Mr Lemon said he wasn't camera shy.
"Some of the boys were at that start. But they haven't held back. It's hard to be fake for a long time."
Since the 2011 flood, they haven't stopped working and do overtime most weeks.
For the sizzle shoot the production team wanted a Ned Kelly theme. They handed air brusher Jeff Barrie a sketch that looked like "a prison tattoo". He then researched Ned Kelly and his firearms.
Meanwhile Jon Kelly's Mack, an old V8 Valueliner (R model), is themed like his other trucks.
Mr Lemon said like most trucks it looked alright on the outside, but once his team started pulling it apart for the restoration it was pretty clear the old girl needed a lot more work than first thought.
So far it has been in the workshop for more than two months. It was still not finished by the time Big Rigs went to print, but the finished product will be on our website, bigrigs.com.au - so stay tuned.
The official word from Foxtel on Mega Truckers is it is still in production and will be aired later this year. The show's emphasis will be on John Kelly's team.