The Parker brothers get the joke. In fact, Marc and Shannon, stars of Syfy’s new reality show “Dream Machines,” have used the well established gaming brand to their advantage. “The Parker brothers thing has sort of worked for us,” says Shannon Parker. “We had a few night clubs in South Carolina and we actually used Monopoly boards, framed them and put them on the walls. It was kind of a play on our names, so when we decided to do custom building, we stuck with it.”
Whether thanks to the name recognition or not, over the past couple of years, the Parkers have managed to carved out a successful niche doing what they do best: building “impossible” vehicles inspired by movies, science-fiction and comic books, and turning them into road-ready realities.
In “Dream Machines” (tonight, 10/9c), viewers are offered a glimpse into what it takes to get these vehicles built, and the A-list clientele the Parkers and their Florida-based team at Parker Brothers Concepts work with. In tonight’s premiere, the brothers are approached by 50 Cent to build a car “unlike anything that’s ever been seen before,” Marc Parker says. “So we came up with the concept of taking a jet fighter airplane and a Formula 1 race car and a space ship and kind of blending them all together and creating something totally different.” Apparently, 50 was pleased with the result. “He jumped around like a little kid on Christmas morning,” says Marc. “I think he was pretty happy.”
In a recent interview, the Parkers opened up on some of their wildest and most expensive builds, and revealed why one of them still drives a Honda Civic to work each day.
Check Out 50 Cent’s Jet Car:
How did “Dream Machines” go from you guys building custom vehicles in a shop to becoming a reality TV show?
Shannon: We just decided that we were going to build things that we liked, and it just sort of evolved from there. We liked the idea of doing a TV show, of course. But as we started building crazy vehicles, we just started getting approached by several different production companies about actually doing a television show. It sort of blossomed from there.
Did the idea of going from the creative, behind-the-scenes guys to in front of the camera stars freak you out a little bit?
Shannon: The thought of it sounded good to begin with. We didn’t realize how much work was actually being involved in making a television show. It’s great in theory, but be careful what you wish for.
Marc: I don’t think we had time to get freaked out. The television program was offered to us just a couple of months since we opened the business and we’ve been going about 200 miles per hour since then. It’ll probably sink in in a few weeks when things slow down.
What’s the creation process like?
Shannon: We start out with some design ideas from the client giving me an outline of what they’re looking for. Then we go through two or three different sketch ideas and go back and forth. A lot of people give us freedom to do whatever we want to do. We’re much better being the creative people we like to be.
Watch The Early Premiere Of “Dream Machines” Below:
Has there ever been anything you couldn’t do?
Marc: No, as a matter of fact we’re still waiting on that because that’s pretty much our whole premise. When someone comes to us with something that’s too easy, we get bored fast and don’t want to build it. We try and challenge ourselves with every build. I think Shannon’s idea is to give me a stroke or an aneurism in the next year. He tries to come up with designs that are completely unbuildable and then throws it to me and goes, “Hey, make this work.”
Give me an example.
Marc: Uh, a six-foot hub-less wheel that you ride inside.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever built?
Shannon: That’s hard. Every build is so different. They’re all weird and strange in their own way. For shock value, it’s gotta be the Shredder, which will I believe be our final episode of this season.
Marc: It’s actually for a movie that’s coming out this summer called “Battleship.” I’m not sure how much of that we’re allowed to talk about so I may have to bow out on saying too much about that, but it’s a promotional vehicle for the new Battleship movie.
Who are some of your clients this season?
Marc: We have a really weird mix of clients. We’ve got everything from just regular individual people who are everyday Joes to 50 Cent, John Cena, Universal Studios, and we have some royalty like the Prince of Saudi Arabia.
So, the price of something for an “Average Joe” has got to be different than what you’re doing for the Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Shannon: It really just varies so much. For the Prince of Saudi Arabia we built a motorcycle, for 50 Cent we built a car, for the Universal movie – I don’t even know what you would call the thing we built for them. There’s no real standard price.
What was the most expensive thing you ever made?
Marc: Probably in the neighborhood of $250,000. Thousands of man hours go into these and we use expensive materials like alloys and metals.
So is it safe to say you’ve souped up your own cars?
Marc: We’re the plumbers with the leaky sink. Both of our motorcycles are in pieces right now. We’ve got a couple of cars that get us back and forth to work and that’s about it. We’re too busy. The ten minutes a week we have free, we’re glad to get sleep instead of working on our own projects. But hopefully things will slow down soon and we’ll build something cool for ourselves. My Honda Civic gets me back and forth from work to home – [it's] nothing special.