A year ago at Christmastime, Yvonne Roller committed herself to share biblical principles and important life lessons with families.
She remembered meeting Free Methodist elder, musician and puppeteer Heath Williamson of Phenix City, Alabama. She contacted Williamson, and her idea became a reality seven months later in “Well, Well, Well!” — a 12-episode video series featuring real people and puppets.
“I was really in way over my head, which I’ve really enjoyed,” she said.
She begins each episode by chatting with the puppets. Her husband, Bishop David Roller, closes each episode with a brief discussion. The couple wrote the episodes and recorded scenes with each other and other people, and then Williamson’s Big Heater Media created the scenes featuring puppets.
“We shot the show on blue screen in my shed and edited it as well. God still uses our fish and loaves,” Williamson said.
Each episode is approximately 20 minutes long. Because of a low production budget, the series may not look as visually impressive as better-funded Hollywood children’s programs.
“I’m embarrassed about that side of it, but in the same way, I don’t want to consider obstacles and excuses,” said Yvonne, adding that Hollywood’s primary focus is entertainment while “Well, Well, Well!” aims to help children “navigate difficult situations for life.”
However, “Well, Well, Well!” has Hollywood ties. The puppet characters Pumpkin, Fernando, Hare and Guy Mann are controlled and voiced by “Sesame Street” veteran Avery Jones who served as the puppeteer for Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy who is a main character in the new “Goosebumps” movie starring Jack Black.
The series includes appearances from the other two Free Methodist Church – USA bishops and their wives along with many other Free Methodists. Bishop David Kendall discusses why the Bible is the most important book. Marlene Thomas, the wife of Bishop Matthew Thomas, shares what she has learned about heaven since the death of her son, Mitch. Her comments are followed by reflections on death, heaven and resurrection from Daniel Colon, the young son of Pastor Joanne Green-Colon who died in December 2013.
The series also deals with other difficult subject matter, such as natural disasters and sexuality, in age-appropriate ways. Yvonne said these are important topics that families might otherwise find difficult to begin discussing. A kindergarten teacher advised the Rollers as they created the series, and the producers worked with a focus group of four families.
“It’s not just a children’s series. We realized it needed to be a family discipleship series,” Yvonne said.
The series reflects on the Garden of Eden and that God is creating a new heaven and a new earth.
“Above a dystopia and above chaos, here is this well, well, well living,” Yvonne said. “Part of the curse has been lifted at the cross.”
She said the puppet characters are estimated to be age 7 or 8, and the format is designed to affirm different ages. Younger children will want to watch it, but it also contains humor that older audience members will be more likely to catch. One episode teaches that “work is play with a purpose,” and a government worker said the video gave him a new perspective.
The English language version of “Well, Well, Well!” is now available at
fmchr.ch/wellww in a DVD set for $24.95. The set includes a CD-ROM with a study guide and activities. Production has begun on a Spanish language version of the series.