ABC Family Show "The Vineyard" Films in Falmouth

The crew of the ABC Family show
DON PARKINSON/ENTERPRISE - The crew of the ABC Family show "The Vineyard" films a shot at the Steamship Authority terminal in Woods Hole.

Many visitors to Martha’s Vineyard venture to and from the island via Falmouth and thanks to that proximity, the town will gain some national exposure after the cast and crew from an ABC Family production paid a visit to shoot some key scenes in Woods Hole last week.

The show, “The Vineyard”, is billed as reality, chronicling the lives of 11 main characters in their late teens to mid-20s, who come to the island to work during the summer. Production began in early May and is set to wrap this week.

Even before arriving on Cape Cod, the show’s executive producer David Broome admitted there was worry from locals that “The Vineyard” would be a retread of “The Jersey Shore” set in Massachusetts. “I think everyone here, including local officials, who, before we came to town, had those same fears,” he said.

But over time, he said, those fears began to subside as Cape Codders realized this would be much different, and would paint the region in a positive light. “I’m from New Jersey and I’d never make ‘The Jersey Shore’,” he said. “It is a well-done show for what it is, but we’re not doing that. What we’re making is a show for a company called the Disney Corporation, which owns ABC Family... I think everyone has put one and one together and realized it is not ‘The Jersey Shore.’ ”

Instead, the show, shot stylistically like a movie, will follow the characters as they try to navigate life’s obstacles, from romance to career paths, all set on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard. As an example, he said, “one of the lead characters is in the fashion industry, is out of school and works in New York City and has been summering on the Vineyard. She’s been in a four-year relationship with her first true love and trying to decide whether or not this is the man she wants to be with for the rest of her life.”

During a phone interview last Thursday, he playfully suggested a tag line to encapsulate the show: “summer flings and serious things.”

And he has a strong connection to what the cast, which was announced last Fridaay, is going through. “I’ve got 19- and 17-year-old daughters so I understand what they are experiencing,” he said.

Mr. Broome, who has also served as an executive producer for “The Biggest Loser,” expressed a genuine excitement for the show and the potential it has for changing the face of reality television. “I think we are going to be a game-changing show for what can be done in an unscripted space,” he said. “I know nothing like this has ever been done or presented in this way. I’m positive of that though I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you if it’s going to be a hit.”

While the focus is on the characters, the backdrop is decidedly Cape Cod. Mr. Broome has relied on a cast and crew that includes local talent. And it showcases the scenery of the island; aerial shots of the Vineyard were completed last Wednesday.

Production has taken place in a variety of local shops and restaurants and the show has taken additional steps to be friendly to the area businessmen. “We’ve embraced local shops, local swimsuit designers,” he said, noting that “I had a guy who contacted me who launched a local clothing line so we put his shirts in the show. If we can put that guy on the map, it is the kind of success story we want.”

Cast and Crew Come to Falmouth

Although focused on Martha’s Vineyard, last Tuesday the show headed to the mainland, arriving in Woods Hole as part of a story line in which one of the cast decides to leave the island and go home. “One of the male cast members decided to chase her down and stop to talk to her and we wanted to shoot that in Falmouth,” Mr. Broome said. “While she took the ferry ride over, he took a private boat and we cruised across the water to meet them.”

Originally, scenes were to be filmed at two Woods Hole eateries: the Landfall Restaurant as well as Quick’s Hole, which is owned by Beth Colt.

Because of the threat of rain, Ms. Colt said the scene at her restaurant was scrapped.

As one who lived in Los Angeles and worked in the television industry—her husband is screenwriter P.K. Simonds, who was an executive producer on the “Ghost Whisperer”—she understood the changing nature of production.

She estimated that there were more than 25 people in Woods Hole helping with all the nuances of the production. “It is exciting in our little village to have a television crew,” she said. “Woods Hole is a perfect backdrop and a wonderful extension of the Vineyard and just as charming.”

Due to the weather the scene intended for Quick’s Hole ended up being shot at Selectman Kevin E. Murphy’s nearby restaurant, Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar on Water Street.

Mr. Murphy said there were six cameras with a total of 50 people, from cast to crew, that helped shoot what he believed was a break-up scene between two of the characters, although Mr. Broome described it differently: “It was a date scene,” he said, involving one of the couples who are complete opposites, but end up falling in love with one another.

Although Mr. Murphy said, he has had several celebrities, from Phil Donahue to Billy Joel, grace his restaurant this is the first time a scene from a television show or film was shot there. “It was interesting,” he said. “A lot of times people try to do a film it is really a start-up, but nothing of this magnitude.”

He acknowledged that can come with disruptions, but for the most part he saw this as a positive, particularly if the show—the first of eight episodes is set to air Tuesday, July 23, at 10 PM—does well. “My discussion with the producer was that if the first season goes well that they hope to be filming here more often,” Mr. Murphy said. “That would be a natural because that is how folks typically go to the Vineyard.”

That can only benefit Falmouth, he said, as viewers are exposed to the town and may be compelled to visit or perhaps even decide to settle here.

As to his first experience filming in Falmouth, Mr. Broome said it went well. “I just had a great experience,” he said. “It is an incredibly picturesque, really cute town. I love the manicured lawns, the way some of the homes are landscaped with the beautiful architecture. I’d love to do some other stuff here in the future with the show.”

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