by Carol Badaracco Padgett Added May 14, 2012
What do snow, foam, fog, and confetti have to do with Sunday services? It all depends on the imagination of church staff and the degree of desire to make a noticeable community impact.
Global Special Effects Inc. in Lexington, Ala., is an international manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and specialist in special effects with a heart for churches and special church event productions. The company produces everything from bubbles to scent technology, and is the sole manufacturer of Evaporative Snow and a unique floating promotional logo called ‘Flogos.’ And it does interface quite heavily with churches. As Owner, Founder and President Francisco Guerra puts it, “We work hand-in-hand with churches and religious filmmakers all over the country to provide the ultimate special effects experience for their plays and productions, as well as providing our services for special events such as youth socials, block parties, and genuinely fun fellowship.”
WFM: Which Global Special Effects product is most often requested by houses of worship?
Guerra: Our most popular products with churches are our Evaporative Snow (for Christmas productions), foam (for fun foam parties), and Flogos to help advertise and attract attention to concerts and events.
Until recently, Global Special Effects was known as SnowMasters Special Effects, because we mainly specialized in Evaporative Snow products. Early on, we generated a significant amount of attention from local churches [that] wanted to use our Evaporative Snow machines and artificial snow products in their Christmas productions. We’ve expanded our product lines to offer multiple special effect categories [so we can offer] an even better visual experience for churchgoers everywhere.
WFM: What’s one of the most interesting ways that a church has used your products?
Guerra: Highland Baptist Church in Florence, Ala., was one of the first local churches to show interest in our SnowMasters product line. Every December, they put on a Christmas production called ‘The Living Christmas Tree’ where they construct a gigantic Christmas tree on the stage, and the choir fills it to the very top of the ceiling and sings from inside the tree itself—turning it into a living Christmas tree. It’s a spectacular show, with crazy light effects and the whole shebang. Well, Ronnie, the music director, seems to think that every single year has to be even more amazing than the [previous], which can prove quite difficult when you have such a great show to begin with. One year in particular, he decided to consult us on using our Evaporative Snow machines. We came in with some of our T-1500s and hung them from trusses so that it would snow down upon the audience … and they were astounded. We even used some of our Eco-Scent scent machines to make the whole auditorium smell like evergreen. It was pretty amazing.
WFM: It sounds as though your company has a heart for churches and their needs. Why is that?
Guerra: The leadership of Global Special Effects has a heart for the religious industry not just because we obviously benefit from each other, but also because the church market is so different from all of the other markets that we deal with on a regular basis, such as the entertainment industry. People in the church market are much more easy-going and fun to do business with, and it just feels right.
We are a Christian-based organization that holds all of our employees to a very high standard when it comes to morals and virtues. We have found that it is much easier to run a business when it is filled with positive people with good morals, and we always want to carry that over into our transactions so that people see those morals and virtues through our company and what we do as a whole.
WFM: What special effects products stand out right now or show special promise for the church market in the years ahead?
Guerra: Besides the obvious stand-bys, snow and foam, a couple of products that have just recently started to take off are our Cryo-Jet, which shoots out a gigantic stream of evaporating liquid CO2 up to 30 feet, and also our fog machines, for which we can offer custom solutions such as low-lying ground fog and even whole-room fog. All of our products are also available for rental, so even small churches with small budgets will be able to put on amazing productions for a great price.
The most amazing product though, that is just now starting to gain a huge presence at special events everywhere (including The Super Bowl and World Cup), are our Flogos (floating, Flying logos). You can ['skyvertise'] your event in the sky with one of our two sizes of Flogo-Lite machines, which extrude a patented mixture of soap suds and helium gas through a custom stencil to create any shape, word, or logo that you could possibly imagine. These machines are perfect for any church event promotion.
WFM: How does the company keep coming up with new special effects that work for church use?
Guerra: We take advantage of technological advancements in our product development and then pass those advantages on to the church market. A few years ago, for example, our chemists developed an alternative mixture of Evaporative Snow fluid. We had received a few complaints from smaller churches with lower budgets that they simply couldn’t afford the costs of putting on productions with our equipment because of the cost of fluid needed for just a small production. We called our new fluid mixture ‘Value Snow,’ which is currently available with all of our other products on our website at GlobalSpecialEffects.com.
The value snow is less concentrated and doesn’t produce the same volume of snow as our regular snow fluid, but we found that it is the perfect solution for some of our smaller clients who have limited budgets for short productions. Another example would be the introduction of our Flogo-Lite machines. After much research and development, we were able to begin producing equal-sized Flogos with machines less than half the size of the originals, which cut our costs in half—[and] we can therefore pass on the savings to our customers, making Flogos available to churches both big and small.
Carol Badaracco Padgett is editor of Worship Facilities Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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- In The News: “Burger Bytes – Global Special Effects” (globalspecialeffects.com)