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A MAN NAMED PEARL is an awe-inspiring documentary film about the self-taught topiary artist, Pearl Fryer. A film that tells the true story of a man against all odds thats uses his passion to transform an entire community.

Pearl spent his life challenging the stereotypes that plague our world, simply by creating a wonderland out of nature. His works of art, over the course of his life, eventually fill an entire community and attract visitors from around the world. But, most importantly in the process unifies the citizens of the poorest county in South Carolina around a common cause – the idea that a positive experience really can have a powerful impact on those it comes in contact with.

Pearl lives his life by not allowing “the obstacles that get put in (his) way determine the direction (he) takes around them”. A life lesson – much easily said than actually lived. A life lesson we all can certainly benefit from.

Pearl Fryer truly creates miracles and moves many through the visions of his topiary art. A garden devoted to expressing three simple ideals: love, peace and goodwill. A place that makes those feel very different about life than what they may have felt before they passed through his creation.

For more of Pearl’s work visit

To view the trailer for A MAN NAMED PEARL visit

I hope everyone that take the time to read this post can find the time to stop by and see Pearl at work one day while passing through this amazing South Carolina community. Trust me, you will walk away a different person.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Commander in Chief 

Photo Credit: courtesy of, A MAN NAMED PEARL is a production of Suzie Films


Ok, I’ll admit it: I was never a huge fan of the ABC reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I would catch it from time to time, but my Sunday evenings used to revolve around Desperate Housewives and the Kardashians.

That all changed a couple of months ago when I got a chance to get a firsthand look at the making of the show. How? Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Fayetteville, and I was lucky enough to head up the media team on behalf of our client, the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. I got to see for myself what goes on behind-the-scenes to produce a 60-minute show that airs on primetime television. We’re talking about months and months of advance planning, lots of which has to take place under a veil of secrecy before the show even announces it’s coming to town. Then, once the official announcement is made, there’s lots more work to be done before the recipient family is announced: volunteer coordination, special event planning, sponsor and donor coordination, marketing and promotions, fundraising, and media outreach of course. If you think things calm down once the family is announced, you’re wrong: that’s when things really get cranked up to full speed. The week of the build is a whirlwind of 24-hour-a-day activity on every front you can imagine. And don’t forget temperatures in Fayetteville hovered around 100 degrees during that entire week!

You would think a grueling schedule and tough conditions like this would all get to be a bit much for the cast and crew of the show. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Everyone on the Extreme team had a permanent smile on their face. They almost always had a minute to speak to an adoring fan or a member of the media. And when they talked about Barbara Marshall and the Jubilee House, the recipients of the new house, it was obvious that they do what they do because they love it. Their passion and dedication drives them to work faster, longer and harder than most people probably dream of doing. It drives them to not mind that they haven’t showered in days and to not remember that they haven’t had on a clean set of clothes in days. It drives them to view what they do on a daily basis as far more than just a job.

The Extreme team truly is changing lives and communities one home at a time. I’m honored that I had the chance to play a small part in that for a brief time this summer.

So now, come Sunday night, you better believe I’ll be curled up on my couch watching my new favorite reality show.

by Leah Knepper Brand Futurist Rubberneck Propaganda Specialist

Photo Credit: Charles Howard via Extreme Makeover: Home Edition


This week we embraced another opportunity to implement our philosophy – change or die – in a very deep sense.

We met with members of a very small Southern town to discuss the dynamics of their community. Upon arriving, it was evident that the majority of property/roads were run-down and unkempt – a sight for sore eyes. The community members voiced not only their resentment for the poor physical conditions, but an overall mindset held within the community barring proactive measures to do something about it – ‘don’t rock the boat’.

At an all day session, in the morning we heard mostly disheartening stories of discontentment in quality of life. When we reconvened in the afternoon, however, we shared our experience with changing perceptions and that critical catalyst of a vision. The group began envisioning how their community could actually develop positively. And what it really comes down to – mindset. The ability to change others’ perceptions begins with first changing your own.

While they can’t immediately change the reality of their town’s conditions, the group realized that if they were going to change anyone’s perception of reality, it was going to have to come from them first. To me, the whole experience was truly gratifying. Being able to inspire these weary, skeptical community members to envision a better life reminded me why I love my job and living our philosophy of change.

by Marisa LaVallee Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: Laitr Keiows and NASA via Wikimedia Commons – Licensed CC-BY-NC-SA