Chasing Classic Cars

Bryce holds a camera while filming Chasing Classic Cars
Senior Producer
Project Details:
MotorTrend / Discovery
Exec. Producer: Hannah Lintner
Senior Producer
Project Details:
MotorTrend / Discovery
Exec. Producer: Hannah Lintner

Case Study


In 2017, Jim Astrausky passed away.

Without a doubt, his loss took an emotional and personal toll on the small team producing Chasing Classic Cars, a show he had created. Additionally, his loss had its professional impact. Without Jim, the show was now without its main cameraman and one of its trusted producers. Adding complexity to the situation, the show was undergoing a shift from half-hour to hour-long episodes.

After attempting to proceed with production of Season 10, the tight team began to feel the pinch. Without another producer, executive producers Hannah Lintner and Dan Carey believed that production would become unmanageable. So, they began to debate who could take on the responsibilities of a field producer, as well as work with editors as story producer.

The best solution would likely involve someone who had been a part of the show at some point during its previous seasons. Together, Hannah and Dan thought about what Jim always insisted: a qualified producer would be one with post production experience.

Lucky for me, I had worked with Jim, Dan, and Hannah on Chasing Classic Cars for two years, from 2010 to 2012, and had proven my command over the material as an editor.

So began my shift from post production to production, an opportunity for which I’ll forever be grateful.

Over three years producing two seasons of the show, I had the opportunity to wear many hats. There were days when I was out in the field. Some days, I’d be acting as field producer to chase down storylines and interview talent. On others, I’d have a camera on my shoulder to follow the fast-developing action and capture as much connective b-roll as I could. When not in the field I was in the office. As a story producer, I’d craft shows alongside editors. And as post production supervisor, I’d ensure footage was ready to edit and post remained on schedule.

On Chasing Classic Cars, our crew was composed of ‘jacks of all trades,’ ready and willing to do what was necessary to get the story. Working as a small team, we knew one another’s capabilities and were able to take responsibly for what needed to be accomplished. As a result, each one of us grew over the three years I was part of the team, something I’m proud to remark.

Rather than continue to speak in general terms, the rest of this case study will focus on producing the fifth episode of Season 12, Great Godsal!. Specifically, I’ll focus on the final three-day shoot that concluded the storyline.

Great Godsal!

Great Godsal! was a gamble that paid off, as it follows a car restoration that remained nearly unchanged for the entire first year I produced Chasing Classic Cars.

In fact, the very first time I walked into F40 Motorsports, the auto restoration facility owned and operated by our show’s host, Wayne Carini, I was tasked with running A-Cam on a scene featuring the 1935 Godsal, the one-off English race car with a starring role in this restoration episode. Looking through the viewfinder, I filmed the car’s freshly restored chassis. However, I panned over to also film the car’s body, which to my eyes looked like a pile of kindling stacked in the corner. I thought: this car isn’t going anywhere fast.

As this was my first day working in the field, I awakened to the fact of just how long some of these stories would take to produce. Chasing Classic Cars had been a different show years ago when I was editing. Having been 22-minutes long, storylines were brief. Often, there was no time for the details of a full, body-off restoration. Now with the show expanded to 44-minutes, there was a canvas for such a story.

Yet, as the months passed and we produced segments with numerous other cars, in and out of the shop, we hardly filmed progress on the Godsal. Whenever fellow producer Hannah Lintner or I inquired about progress on the Godsal, the folks at the shop would tell us about the progress being made - none of which was film-able.

As we began to edit and deliver the entirety of Season 11, I began to lose hope in ever seeing the Godsal in an episode. This was a situation I was getting use to. Being a documentary series, Chasing Classic Cars often had storylines fall away. As producers, Hannah and I took chances filming storylines. Yet, not all storylines resolved in ways conducive of the established series expectations.

Despite my doubts, over the course of three busy months at the start of 2020, the Godsal suddenly became our only focus. Aided by the fact that Wayne was solely concerned with finishing the restoration for a concours-debut, production was able to focus on each detail as the restoration materialized.

The only problem was post production. Hannah and I were deeply focused on delivering the final five episodes of Season 11. With production and story producing a team effort, Hannah and I had to tighten up our processes to maintain stability. Divide and conquer was the name of the game. If one of us was shooting, the other was at the office ensuring our editors were progressing towards picture lock. Trading responsibilities, we relied on one another’s edit notes and daily shooting reports to pick up where the other had left off.

January to February saw us delivering multiple episodes as we began to plan for the uncertain payoff featuring the Godsal.

Pre-Production for the last acts

The Godsal would be debuting at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida. Having filmed at this and other concours before, both Hannah and I knew the obstacles to expect: ambient music on loud speakers, packed crowds, and the unpredictable obligations held by our show’s host, who would also be acting as a concours judge the day of the car’s debut.

Adding to the obstacles, only one producer would be available to travel. In years passed, Amelia Island was an event calling for all hands. Yet, with a narrowing delivery schedule, Hannah would stay behind to shepard episodes to the network to meet delivery deadlines, while I would travel with our show’s expert shooter, Gordy Waterman. The two of us would be responsible for capturing the conclusion of the Godsal storyline, meaning we’d need to be well prepared and ready for anything.

Before travel, I spent my time reviewing all our story logs, ensuring I knew the particulars of our storyline, and the main beats we’d likely be focusing our episode on. Additionally, I reviewed interviews conducted throughout the restoration to prepare for the exit interviews I’d conduct on the show field. Finally, I ensured that all press passes, airline ticketing, and hotel accommodations were in working order to avoid any last minute surprises.

For Gordy and I, I prepared a thorough shoot brief detailing the weekends events, including maps and potential shooting schedules. But with Wayne nearly completely offline as he focused on finalizing the car’s restoration and shipment from Connecticut to Florida, these schedules would likely be amended once we were on the ground in Florida.

Days before travel, and with Hannah and I committed to post production, I sent Gordy and our production assistant to film the car starting for the first time before being pushed into the trailer for travel to Florida. What seemed like a straight forward shoot changed the course of all my Florida planning.

Returning to the office, Gordy and David reported that the car started, but it refused to move. For hours, Gordy had filmed the shop’s crew as they tore the Godsal apart, only to realize the specialty transmission would need the expert attention of Evan Ide, a restoration expert already in Florida. The car had been packed up to be finalized on in Florida.

Looking to our schedule and talking to Wayne, I adapted our schedule to ensure we wouldn’t miss Evan Ide work on the transmission, only two days before the car’s public debut. A day of travel would now involve driving directly to filming a key scene.


From Jacksonville Airport, Gordy and I drove straight to Bonhams Auction, where the Godsal was being fixed.

Arriving, Gordy and I built our equipment and were ready to shoot. Sensing the high stakes for all involved, I began to worry about the shoot. Shortly after persuading Wayne to wire up with his lav, I was asked not to bother Evan.

Preparation is everything when stakes are high. And I had come prepared for such an actuality. Dispensing with Evan’s mic for the moment, I snuck a Zoom H1N into the open glove compartment of the Godsal, only a foot away from Evan as he wrenched away at the car’s open transmission. And rather than tempt the wrath of stressed subjects, Gordy and I began shooting establishing shots. Slowly, we wormed our way closer and closer to the action, eventually getting into typical positions close up to the work being done, and winning the willingness of all involved. And eventually, I snuck a mic onto Evan, who kindly took the time during a moment of contemplation.

Yet, our audio obstacles did not end with securing mics on our subjects. After changing a battery, our camera would not power up. Troubleshooting on a tripod, Gordy and I realized that the pins of our Sennheiser receiver’s pass through were likely damaged. Without the time to repair, Gordy and I ignored our shame and gaffe-taped the receiver to the top of the camera to allow for another battery to be mounted to the camera and provide power. We decided to be prideful of our product, rather than what we looked like in the moment.

You do what you’ve got to do.

After all the chaos of the passed week, what could have amounted to a total let down turned into a truly blessed shoot. Not only was Evan victorious in fixing the Godsal, the car’s owner arrived just in time to see the car move for the first time. And in the waning light of a long day, Evan, Wayne, and the car’s owner united to praise all the hard work it had taken to finish the car.

Gordy and I had been blessed with a great payoff thanks to quick thinking and planning.

For the rest of the weekend, Gordy and I followed the car as it made its debut and won its class. With both of us shooting at times, we documented the festivities, the crowds, and the cars of the concours, as well as took time to capture exit interviews with all key players.


So much of producing is in planning. Reading research, reviewing footage, anticipating schedules, and ensuring obstacles are accounted for - they’re all essential to the daily operation of a producer. Because when a producer is prepared, the unexpected can be allowed rather than refused.

Being prepared also means anticipating like an editor.

In the case of the Godsal, reality happened. And when faced with the many directions a story can take, it is the producer that dictates what beats stay and which beats go.

After fixing the Godsal, we spent an entire day filming a pre-produced scene revealing the Godsal to its creator’s distant relatives. It is a lovely scene, yet it does not feature into the final episode. This scene, conceived of before the transmission problem was known, would have been the act leading into the concours. Yet, the drama of the transmission fix makes for a much better payoff.

Gordy and I could have rested after our flight to Florida, choosing to resolve the tension of the transmission with the reveal to the family. Thinking like an editor, I thought it better to film the fix. And what was not accounted for on paper now takes up an entire act of the final show, and truly makes the car’s victory at the concours feel that much more like a payoff.

My time on Chasing Classic Cars was an endless learning experience, and one that pushed me to try on roles and situations I’d yet to encounter. I owe much to the team that worked tirelessly to produce the show, as well as those who saw my previous editing experience as the necessary prerequisite that made me perfect for their open producing role.

No doubt, I have a bit more confidence as I train my sight on what’s next.

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