The Roloffs: Little People, Big World
by Hawkins Teague
Nov 22, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A former Cadiz resident has found success in the “big world” that is the entertainment industry.

Jeff Weaver lived in Cadiz until he was four years old and is the grandson of James and Naomi Guest. After college, Weaver moved out to California to work in film and television. Over the course of the last decade, he’s worked as a director of photography on several projects, but he is now the supervising producer for The Learning Channel’s “Little People, Big World.”

The show airs back-to-back episodes every Saturday at 7 p.m. Central time. It’s all about the lives of Matt and Amy Roloff, two dwarfs (or little people, as they are commonly called) who are married and have four children. Jeremy and Zach are fraternal twins and are the oldest, at age 16. Jeremy is of average height and Zach is also a little person. Molly, 13, and Jacob, 9, are also of average height.

The Roloffs live on a 34-acre farm in Helvetia, Oregon. The camera crew follows them each week as they conduct their everyday activities. Although much of what they experience is similar to that of any family, they are faced with the additional challenge of being little people. They generally overcome these problems through innovative solutions that most people wouldn’t have to think of.

“Until you’ve lived in our shoes or spent a couple of years of your life walking around on your knees, you know, you really don’t appreciate the full impact of what it’s like on a day-to-day basis,” Matt said in a recent episode.

“We try to shine a light on the everyday struggles they go through,” Weaver said.

The Roloffs must be creative in solving their problems every week. In the previously mentioned show, Matt hired someone to build a back deck with posts that were proportional to his, Amy and Zach’s height. It reached to just below their chests. Unfortunately, the county building inspector wouldn’t approve the structure because the deck was elevated a couple of feet off the ground and the building codes required the posts to be higher for safety reasons. Matt protested that the regulation wasn’t fair to little people, but it didn’t help. So to meet the codes without actually changing the post height, Matt brought in dirt to pile under the deck so that the posts wouldn’t technically be above the ground anymore. Amy wasn’t too happy about the appearance of the dirt mound, but Matt said they could plant flowers there.

As supervising producer, Weaver has a lot to do with the day-to-day workings of the show and helps move things along smoothly. He said he makes sure that everyone on the crew is doing what they’re supposed to and that it’s all happening according to schedule. If the Roloffs have a problem or a question, he is the one they need to contact. He even plays a role in the content of the show. He said he oversees some of the editing to make sure the show’s creative standards are upheld.

For Weaver, the journey from Cadiz to Hollywood was a long one. He was born in Germany, where his father, John Weaver, was stationed in the military. After he reached age four, Weaver and his family moved to Paducah, where he lived until he was 15. The family then moved to Pelham, Ala., which is outside of Birmingham.

After high school, Weaver attended the University of Alabama, where he had plans to earn a business degree and possibly go to law school after graduation. However, this was not to be.

“After I had to take an economics course, I rethought that,” Weaver said.

So Weaver changed his major to telecommunications with an emphasis on film. During the summers, Weaver worked as a grip and electrician on several projects. After he graduated college in 1991, he continued to live in Alabama, but worked all over the Southeast shooting commercials. Most were local spots, but a few were regional or national ads.

In 1995, Weaver moved to Los Angeles to try to hit big. As with most people who head to Hollywood, it took Weaver a while to make his mark. He continued shooting commercials and working on other, shall we say, diverse projects.

“I shot a lot of music videos for Japanese bands you would have never seen in this country,” he said.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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