Meet the Actor: Dillon Waidyatilleka

“Why’d ya tell her that?” That’s how I learned to say Dillon’s last name—Waidyatilleka. It’s pronounced with the same cadence with which I’d state that question!

We thought it would be fun to introduce you to the terrific cast from the Amazing Wonders Aviation Worship Rally DVD. So, I’ll be writing a feature on each of them every few days. Dillon plays the central character in this year’s video. He had lots of physical action to perform (such as open-ocean swimming for yards and yards). Unfortunately, in a video shoot that means he had to do those scenes over and over, and then one more time. (As Bill, our director, famously says: “Perfect! Now, let’s do it again.”) But, Dillon was a real trooper and never complained (at least not in front of us)!

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Airplane Props for the VBS Musical

If you were fortunate enough to attend the Nashville VBS Previews and see the children’s choir from The People’s Church in Franklin, TN, you would’ve seen these cute airplanes they added to the theme song! Several people have asked where the choir purchased these. The choir director ordered them a few years ago from Oriental Trading. They currently are out of stock or no longer carry them, but we’re thinking they just might make them available again if there are enough requests!

Official title and product number: “Amazing Airplane”  IN-61/9054.

Every year we get questions about “that program the kids presented” at the VBS Previews! You’ll find the musical printed in The Music Book (005404192) which sells for $5.99. This book contains the six VBS 2012 songs along with the written drama and production notes. Be sure to check it out!

Behind the Scenes

A video production is an enormous undertaking, especially when shooting a drama. For instance, if your story covers more than one day, then you likely have wardrobe items to keep track of, as videos are almost always shot out of sequence. If I fail to make good notes during production, I find myself asking, “Was her hair pulled to the left or the right, or was she wearing a headband two days ago?” When shooting the Worship Rally DVD for Amazing Wonders Aviation™, we had to shoot all the water scenes that are a part of the Day 5 story on day 1 of shooting. We knew if we were going to shoot at a recreational area that we didn’t want to be there on the weekend, and due to scheduling other locations, day 1 had to be our water day. The actors were just getting acquainted, but had to shoot their most emotional scene on their first day together.

The things that happen (and don’t happen) as we work to pull this project together can sometimes be amusing. Tim Cox, our video editor, always includes some of these bloopers in our credits. One of my favorite things from the Amazing Wonders shoot was our attempt to get THE BARREL (a central part of the story) to roll into the river.

It was on a slanted bank and didn’t have very far to roll. Seems easy enough, right? But, it would not roll into the river. It rolled into a tree several times, or the lid came off as it was rolling.

The crew anxiously on ready, waiting to capture 'the roll"

(Added to the challenge was the fact that this was happening between torrential downpours of rain. Each time the rain would stop, we’d set up and give it another try.) Finally, our central character, “Roscoe” (played by Dillon Waidyatilleka), came to the rescue! He rigged a twig and a long vine to place against the barrel. He would pull the vine on cue from our director, Bill.

Dillon prepares the rig

"On the count of three . . ."

It worked! There was great celebration! Unfortunately, because we all had gathered around the barrel to watch and see if this rigging was going to work, we couldn’t use the shot! So, the next time, everyone hid in the trees, out of sight, so the cameras could capture the action! Ta da! Success! (Thanks to Dillon’s parents, Nandi and Cate, for providing this video clip!)


Be sure to take a look at the fun credits when you get your copy of the Worship Rally DVD!

VBS Geek of the Week

I can’t remember the first time I met Clyde. As the Leadership Development and Church Growth Ministries Director for the Hawai’i Pacific Baptist Convention, he’s been a part of LifeWay’s VBS training for several years. One thing I love about Clyde and his team is the fact that they always (and I do mean ALWAYS) bring gifts from Hawai’i for their conference leaders! Chocolate covered macadamia nuts . . . Kona coffee . . . yum! Sharing the Aloha!

I have a fun Clyde story to tell before I turn this over to him. When we were preparing VBS 2008, Outrigger Island™, Clyde agreed to appear in a video we shot to help explain that Outrigger Island was not a Hawaiian theme, but an island theme in general. He did such a great job, and we had so much fun putting that together!

Shooting "Wiki Wiki"

After we finished shooting that clip, we asked Clyde to stay and participate in our choreography shoot with Jeff. During what is one of my favorite ABC songs, “Wiki Wiki,” Clyde is the person who caught the ukelele each time Jeff tossed it offscreen! Then, Clyde had to toss it back to Jeff with perfect timing (and perfect aim) as well!

This year, as we were shooting the Amazing Wonders Aviation™ Worship Rally DVD in Hawai’i, Clyde and his team were there to help—ready to assist in any way needed. They helped us find bicycles; provided us with a cooler, a generator, bottled water, and A TRUCK!

Keeping the radiator full!

(I was a bit concerned when Clyde offered the truck and then said, “The gas gauge doesn’t work, but I’m pretty sure it’s full. Also, you’ll have to stop every once in a while and fill the radiator with water.”)

And now, I turn this over to a great friend of the VBS Team, Clyde Kakiuchi.

1. What are your VBS roles (state, association, church, etc.)?  

I take our State team for VBS training, host a state VBS clinic, assist with church VBS, VBS training with summer missionaries.

2. What is your “geekiest” VBS moment?  

Boomerang Express theme – During a training event I threw the sponge/nerf boomerang out toward the audience while commenting that “It All Comes Back to Jesus.” Well, I missed the boomerang and it hit me in the head. The boomerang actually worked. I’m counting my blessings that the boomerang was made of sponge.

3. What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?  

Two things: 1) Seeing how excited the people are when attending the VBS training. It’s a fun way to share Jesus.  2) It translates into salvation decisions, Sunday School prospects, follow-up discipleship, and more trained leaders.

4. What is your favorite VBS theme to date?  

Ocean Odyssey. The songs are still in my head. We can relate with an ocean theme since we’re on an island.

5. You might be a VBS Geek if . . .

A. You know all the VBS themes from the last 10 years in order

B. You still have all the VBS T-shirts and music CDs from the last 10 years

C. You check the VBS web site every day to see if there’s something new

D. You give Lifeway suggestions for improving different aspects of VBS (like different craft ideas….)

E. You have a countdown till the next VBS

F. You wear a VBS T-shirt every day of the week (even to work)

G. You burst into your hip-hop routine of “Yes to VBS!” when someone merely mentions VBS

H. You buy out Walmart’s stock of craft supplies or decorations

I. You buy out Lifeway’s supplies at the training clinic

J.  You “want” to sign a 10-year contract with the State office to be on the VBS training and traveling team

K. You dream about VBS

6. Will we see you at one of the VBS Previews in January or February? (Which one?)

Yes. January in Ft. Worth.


On Location (sort of)

Here’s part two of my video production story for Amazing Wonders Aviation™. By now you know that we’ll be “visiting” natural wonders of the world—Paricutin Volcano in Mexico, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Victoria Falls in South Africa, the Matterhorn on the border of Switzerland and Italy, and the Northern Lights. Our video budget would not support us traveling around the world, so we had to get creative. We considered several different ideas. Could we go to each location with a limited crew and have just one local child on camera? Maybe the locations don’t need to be a part of the story? Was there one place on the planet that had several of these geographic features? That’s the idea that fell into place and seemed to be the right choice. By shooting in Hawaii, we had our own version of many of these locations.

A lava field served as Paricutin Volcano’s lava field

Wailua Bay served as the waters of the Great Barrier Reef

Waimea Canyon served as the Grand Canyon

Huleia River served as the Zambezi River that leads to Victoria Falls

If you typically do not use the Worship Rally DVD, I hope you’ll take a look at it and consider it for VBS 2012. You and your kids will be glad you did.

So, where will you see the Matterhorn and the Northern Lights? Remember the mysterious WWII bunker. . . .

Shooting Video in New York City

The preproduction process for the VBS 2012 video shoot is getting into full swing now. We just received management approval for our story idea, so it’s time to get the ball rolling! We began brainstorming ideas way back in November, but it takes time to determine the best plan and consider what our budget will allow us to do.

Last year, we were able to shoot a couple of days in New York City. Our departure day was getting close, and I still didn’t have any kids who could be extras in the video. I had made some calls to the few people I knew in the area (all two of them), but nothing productive was happening. I was beginning to panic! Thankfully, I remembered that Becky Loyd (your former blog master on this site) has a sister in NYC. She, along with Andrew Mann (one of the featured missionaries in this year’s missions stories), provided just the help I needed! In no time, I had more kids than I needed! Everyone was able to show up at their appointed location, be there on time, and do a great job! All the kids (as well as their parents) were wonderful!

Two NYC actors with our superheroes

I wish I had pictures of all of them so you could actually see them. But, it’s a rare opportunity when I can put down my script and pick up my own camera to take a few photos in the midst of production! You’ll just have to look for them in the Worship Rally DVD daily videos. They’re the kids on the bicycles, in the rowboat, playing “freeze tag” in Central Park, and so on.

Bill, our director, provides instruction for the carriage drive

I’m always amazed when I see how God is at work in our themes (though I shouldn’t be). He never, ever fails. Isn’t it humbling to recognize how He truly “shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6)? As I should expect, God already is at work with Big Apple Adventure®. This year is the 10thanniversary of 9/11. Though we’re not focusing on that in our curriculum, it’s exciting to know that thousands of churches and millions of people all over the world will be praying for New York City during this special year, due in part to LifeWay’s VBS. I hope you’ll commit yourself to join others in this opportunity.

Moving on with 2012. . . . I can’t tell you where we’re hoping to shoot the video. But, even if I did, it wouldn’t give you ANY clue regarding the theme! Now, isn’t that interesting?

Help! My Worship Rally DVD is messed up!!

Well, it’s not really messed up – we just added a new feature and it works differently now!!

We added a split-track feature to the Saddle Ridge Ranch Worship Rally DVD this year because of customer requests. The split-track feature allows you to turn down the voices on the DVD so you can have the instruments playing and Jeff Slaughter doing the motions, but not hear the kids voices on the DVD. Unfortunately, this has also caused some issues with playback if your TV/DVD player is not set up just right. Hopefully the tips below will help get your DVD playing like it should!

  • If your DVD plays just fine, but you can only hear either the instruments or the vocals (but not both) in the performance segments, your speakers are set to output mono instead of stereo sound OR your DVD player is not properly connected. Those performance segments have split track audio, which means the instruments are in the left stereo channel, and the vocals are in the right.
  • FIRST, if your DVD player is connected with composite cables (Red, White, Yellow), make sure you have BOTH the red and yellow cables connected properly. If your player is connected with component cables (other colors), make sure your audio cables (they will be separate) are properly connected for stereo output.
  • If this is happening on a TV with built-in speakers, just hit the menu button on your remote and set your audio output to “stereo”.
  • If you have external speakers or are using a soundboard, make sure your balance is set to the middle (not toward the left or the right).