Two kids grow up in Coffs, move away, blow stuff up, fall in love and then return home … Hopefully to raise a family, settle down by the seaside and put the dynamite aside for a bit. Focus catch up with the intrepid Bath Family (Matt and Clare) to see what’s next.
What connection do you both have with the Coffs Coast?
These days Matt and I are proud Sawtell locals. We both grew up on the Coffs Coast and have returned to give our three kids the same wonderful lifestyle we received in the area.
Did you know each other when you were growing up?
We did; we met in Year 7 homeroom! We were good friends, but I lived at Diggers Beach and Matt was from Sawtell. It may as well have been two different countries in those days! We didn’t get together until the end of school. I like to say I’ve travelled around the world to end up back home with my childhood sweetheart – we even have a white picket fence!
Briefly tell us a bit of background about what you both do and how you came to be involved in that industry …
We’re both television producers. Between us we’ve worked on various shows over the past 20 years. Discovery documentaries, Beyond 2000, MasterChef, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and a stack of others – some we don’t mention!
For the last couple of years I’ve worked in post production on The Block. I’m really lucky; I have fantastic bosses who allow me to work from Sawtell. I have a home edit suite and fly down to the office as and when I’m needed.
Matt actually trained and worked as a registered nurse. He fell into TV when I was working in San Francisco on MythBusters. Our sound recordist quit and we decided to train him up to take over. The rest, as they say, is history …
Was MythBusters fun to work on?
Fun is an understatement! We busted all kinds of wacky myths and got to blow lots of stuff up along the way! The highlight was in the Mojave Desert outside of LA – it’s an aeroplane graveyard. We purchased a fuselage for 10 grand and essentially blew it up to test whether a gun fired on a plane could blow a hole in the side. It can’t by the way – of course, this was all pre September 11 – I don’t think you’d get away with that these days.
The greatest thing about MythBusters is that it’s an Australian idea, it’s Australian crew behind the scenes, and now it’s an international hit – that’s really satisfying.
What have been some of the highlights of your careers?
Highlights … too many to count … lowlights … a few of those too!
Matt’s been lucky to travel the world filming over the past few years. We both love to travel, so sometimes I get a bit jealous of the amazing places he gets to go for work! One time he was tasked with finding the best patisserie in Paris for MasterChef – tough gig.
I did a documentary last year, travelling Australia interviewing some of our most influential women, which was life inspiring.
The television industry is wonderful and challenging to work in; we’re very lucky. But we do work hard, it can be really long hours, and everyone has an opinion on what you’re working on – and they don’t hold back!
Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I’ve just finished Reno Rumble. Matt’s series producing a new show, but it’s top secret! I’m about to start a documentary series, and I’m really excited about that.
You’re also a celebrant; how did that come about?
People had said to me I would be a good celebrant, and I’ve always loved weddings – so I thought, why not? It fits in really well with motherhood and my freelance work, and many of the skills crossover. I’ve only recently been certified, but already I’ve done quite a few weddings and naming ceremonies,and I absolutely love it!
Why have you returned to the area? What has drawn you back to the Coffs Coast?
We both have close family here and we want our kids to grow up near their grandparents. It would also be impossible for us to do the work we do without lots of family support. Sawtell also has it all; it’s got a strong and vibrant community, beautiful beaches and great schools – who wouldn’t want to live here?
We hear you’re working on a documentary about the local Sawtell Cinema; tell us a bit about it?
What’s happening with the Sawtell Cinema is a really important local story. We’re both huge supporters of the cinema being open again, and we think that process should be recorded. It’s our town’s history, and to be able to throw our skills into the ring and make a documentary is really exciting.
Do you still get the same sense of excitement when you see a production that you have worked on, aired for the first time?
Definitely. If you didn’t get that excitement, I would say you’re in the wrong job. You put your heart and soul into each show though, so sometimes you should just stay away from the reviews the next morning!