At any given time, Hettema said, his group is involved in about 15 design projects requiring anywhere from 18 months to five years for completion at costs ranging from about $500,000 to several million dollars. Once the company gets a contract from a client and establishes a theme, a team of artists, designers, architects, engineers, producers, writers, musicians and model builders creates the concept at Hettema's 15,000-square-foot studio in Old Town Pasadena. Then, when the customer approves that concept, the company puts the project out to bid for contractors to build.
Hettema spoke to Blooloop about his background and storytelling, some of his most outstanding projects, and, of course, the One World Project. He describes himself as a “child of the theme park age.” As a Californian, he visited Disneyland regularly as a child, and it captured his imagination. Later, when studying music at California State University, Long Beach, it made sense to apply for a part-time job at Disneyland. It turned out to be a life-changing decision.
A stroll through a train station is bound to ignite the senses, from hearing the clacka-clacka of the 8:03 pulling into smelling the fresh pot of coffee at the newspaper stand to seeing all of the commuters rushing to find the right platform. But a 4D experience, one that delves into history, and one that comes with "interactive" and "multimedia" and "cinematic" in its bio, is not something that clacka-clackas down a station's track every day.
The Hettema Group have told stories all over the world in countless different ways, from projects as diverse as the Russian-Jewish Museum in Moscow to Jurassic Park the Ride in Hollywood. Tapping artists and engineers, musicians, writers, architects and historians, Hettema brings a multi-disciplinary approach to these creative design projects. Whatever the project however, whether intended to provide a big shot of adrenalin or a more subtle emotional, inspirational or educational experience, Hettema’s goal is to bring people together.