Friday, March 1, 2013

WILD, WEIRD AND WACKY!

WILD, WEIRD 
AND WACKY!
_______________________

I've now grown 
accustomed to some
wild ministry-related 
experiences. In fact, I 
recently found myself 
preaching in the jungles
of Nicaragua — weird 
indeed. However, this
week, I was sent on
perhaps my wackiest
mission yet.
_______________________

As a new staff member at East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, Florida, my responsibilities run the gamut from setting up stage production to mentoring young people, to chiseling poop from bathroom tiles. Hence, being sent out on statewide excursions to pick up audio / visual equipment and other various supplies is commonplace. So when Pastor Ray Goolsby asked me recently to drive to the Clearwater area and retrieve some pieces of scenery for ECCC's newly-remodeled kid's center, I was all too happy to oblige. "Where am I headed?" I inquired. "Wacky World," Ray replied enthusiastically. I thought to myself, "Wacky World? This ought to be wild!"

No relation to Papa Roach, Grandpa Roach 
greets Wacky World visitors.
Initially, I expected Bruce Barry's Wacky World Studios to be a run-of-the-mill manufacturing site — a sauna-like, cinder block warehouse full of sweaty dudes with exposed plumber's cracks, slaving away on primitive-looking sculptures and flea market-type signs and banners. Oh contraire! What I actually discovered was a nearly indescribable 25,000 square foot real life fantasyland that serves as the creative home to more than 30 über talented artists, craftsmen, sculptors, painters, carpenters, designers, technicians and administrators. In fact, I felt as if I'd walked into Tim Burton's house.

One of Wacky World's executive offices.
With one simple objective — "to create fun and exciting environments that fire you up and leave you captivated by your surroundings," Bruce Barry's Wacky World Studios has been bringing dreams and visions to life for 30+ years.

Carrying on a family tradition, Bruce's father was a cartoonist for Disney. But Bruce possesses his own unique artistic style — one that could be best described as an outrageous cross between Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. And over the years, Bruce has been involved with such well-known cartoons as The  Pink Panther and Ren and Stimpy. His additional talent for designing, painting, and building also has led Bruce to numerous gigs with such high-profile clients as Universal StudiosF.A.O. Schwarz and Mall of America.

The early phase of a soon-to-be water slide.
A Wacky World technician applies hard coat.
I was greeted at the front entrance by several (extremely) friendly staff members who immediately began loading the ECCC order into my vehicle while Art Department head, Allison, gave me a VIP tour of the facility.

Along the way, Allison explained in great de- tail the multi-step production process in which Wacky World creations come to life. From a blueprint layout, metal frames of the piece are first constructed. Next, Styrofoam sec- tions are applied to the frames and shaped and sculpted to spec. Then, a hard coat layer is applied, followed by a hand-painted exter- ior. Finally a protective clear coat is applied and — PRESTO!

Once I get my mini van paid off, 
I'm gonna have Bruce design me
a pimped- out ride like this one.
From major corporations to hometown churches, Wacky World Studios has been honored to create spectacular themed environments for an array of clients worldwide — both business and residential for more than three decades. However, I got the impression that they are particularly proud of their creative connection to their various church clients from across the country. Allison beamed as she conveyed her delight over Wacky World's role in helping to ignite kids' enthusiasm for attending church.

My new BFF, Bruce Barry
has the coolest office EVER!
In addition to their world-renown, larger-than-life creations, Bruce and his team also have produced award-winning video projects, including the popular five-part Bug Rangers series for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in the early 2000s.

Wow, visiting Wacky World Studios certainly has been the highlight of my year — what a fun place! An amazingly talented and cordial staff, creating outrageous, one-of-a-kind works of art in an unimaginable environment. Uh, hey Bruce — are you guys hiring?

-Christopher Long
(March 2013)



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