I am back home… I’ve actually been home for a few hours.
My head is spinning…I have learned so very much in such a little time – I feel it will take me days to process this all.
I can say that I learned more about myself and what I need to do in the future more than I learned any top-secret animatronic secrets. I found that pushing my comfort envelope can be rewarding and confidence building.
This weekend I got to reuite with a long time friend, make some new aquaintances and bring a little piece of myself to a team of professionals that I admire.
I wont / can’t go into the personal epifanies I had, as they wouldn’t mean much to anyone other than me. What I will share with you is I feel like this weekend I took a big stem towards breaking the chains that have held me still for a very long time. Most of you already know I have a HUGE problem getting myself to even cross the river to Lancaster – so when I told everyone I was going to New Jersey few believed me.
Well – I did it! Thanks to Pete Rondeau! (Yes, THE Pete Rondeau – not the red-neck NASCAR guy! The cool one!)
Pete owns his own company: HauntBots
I got to see, tour and even WORK IN the headquarters of Creative Design and Engineering! This place has more coolness per inch than anyplace I have ever been. It’s an overwhelming mix of outstanding organization and chaos all at the same time.
The place is run by Eric Princz… who, like the workshop, has a mix of personality traits I rarley see all in one spot.
The first thing I noticed about the place (and continued to appreciate throughout my entire visit.) Is how Eric has the place organized. I took the picture (below) of Eric’s nuts to inspire me to get my nuts on order too! Here’s a picture of both of our nuts… see if you can tell who’s is who’s….
Shortly after we arrived, we loaded up a truck wthi finished props and headed out to the haunted house located on the Wildwood Boardwalk….
When we arrived, I saw an unassuming business that looked like it not even close to being a haunted house…
Inside the place was quite different… it was like a bee hive with people going every direction… wood being sawed, things being painted, lights being wired…. and everything being double checked.
Eric said I could post pictures of the inside – but I still feel that my pictures don’t do it justice, and as I said before – you must go see this for yourself. Besides, the place still isn’t finished… in just the few days I was there, the crew re-worked an entire scene that Eric wasn’t happy with. So who knows – a week from today – more could change!
I didn’t take a picture of any of the construction team with the exception of Lauren… the painter. Not because she’s a cute girl, but because… well – hell, make something up. Truth be told – she’s a cute girl.
Once Eric made sure his team was on track, it was time to go back to the shop. It was close to 10pm by then – so we didn’t have long to work. WRONG! We were up the first night till 1:30(?) and every night after that till after 3:00 am!
This is a picture of where I did a lot of the work taken from the loft above the work areas…
The suits of armor you see are what I spent most of my time on… but I also helped with a chandelier and some dolls. But the suits of armor were all me! They had to be torn apart and reinforced from the inside, fitted with conduit and wiring and put back together by riveting them. It was like playing with sharp tin cans for two days in a row… and I managed to not get anything other than a few scratches!
Well, after a few days – my time came to an end. A quick inspection fo my work by Eric and we were good to go…
He said I did a good job on the props… but the proof will be if I get asked back again… What was our finish time????….
this is AM…. yes… so tired.
Before we called it a night – I asked what was going on for the next day. Eric and Pete both said they wanted to spend easter with their families… which is cool, because the haunt is scheduled to be inspected next Friday – and there’s a TON more to do. This guys could have easily told their families they were just too busy… to be honest, I probably would have….
So it was very refreshing to see business people put family first. Good stuff!
Rather than sleep – I jumped behind the wheel of my SUV and hit the highway to home… as I too wanted to spend some time with the wife and boy before the work week started again. Note to self – driving 3 hours after working till 4:00 am is a HUGE mistake. It was honestly the most difficulty driving I have every had. Even worst than driving drunk. (Not that I ever did!)
On the way home, I got to reflect on my awesome weekend and all the new things I am going to do to get this project on track and moving with some momentum.
Before I got home – One more cool thing….
It was a nice end to a weekend like I’ve never had.
Thanks to Eric and Pete for their hospitality over the past few days. It was a trip of great meaning to me!
Happy Easter Everyone!