Film buff hopes his production will hit the big time.
By day, you’ll find Barry Gaines working as an IT specialist for Longboat Key, doing tasks such as PC repairs and keeping software updated. By night, you’ll find the 46-year-old New York native pursuing another passion: writing, directing, shooting and editing his fantasy-action video series “A World of Worlds.”
Last September, Gaines released the pilot of the series on YouTube and his website, gainesentertainment.com. He hopes the show will be picked up for broadcast on television or a streaming service like Netflix. As the title suggests, Gaines’s epic blends its own magical universe (think “Star Wars” or “Game of Thrones”) with the world we know.
“This is a special series,” Gaines said, surrounded by framed posters for such films as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Dark Knight” at his production station in his Parrish home. “We can make this a big deal.”
“A World of Worlds” is admittedly low budget, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in polish. Gaines refuses to let financial hurdles stand in the way of his dream.
“Too many people wait for the money, and I’m like, ‘You keep waiting. Someone else is going to run right by you.’”
The series is one that Gaines refers to as fun and sexy, following the plights of both humans and extradimensional beings while delving into the complexities of reincarnation. It’s easy to wonder how Gaines finds the time for filmmaking while juggling a full-time job and family life.
“It’s called ‘no life, no sleep and a great wife,’” Gaines laughed. “You need those three things, and you just may make it.”
After putting in his eight hours on the Key, Gaines comes home and generally doesn’t get to bed until midnight or later.
“What I’m doing is, if I’m not writing, I’m calling somebody or getting a meeting,” he said. “It never ends.”
Gaines moved to the Sarasota area from Virginia with his wife, Nicol Gaines, about three years ago. With few local contacts, Gaines knew it would be a challenge to put together a team to help him. He finds most of his actors, like Daniel R. Pelissier, on Craigslist.
Pelissier, who portrays the evil warlock Sil in “A World of Worlds,” said Gaines’ approach to filmmaking keeps him vested in the project.
“Barry is very enthusiastic,” Pelissier said. “And it’s contagious.”
As an actor in the Sarasota circuit for more than five years, Pelissier said most of the film opportunities he sees are for projects seeking to promote social, political or religious messages, so this has been “refreshing.”
“Every now and then you just want to see something entertaining,” Pelissier said.
Part of what motivates Gaines is a desire to give Sarasota-based talent a platform for their art. All too often, Gaines said, artists leave the Gulf Coast for careers in places like Orlando and Miami.
“We have so much rare talent here,” Gaines said. “And I think a lot of talent is being wasted.”
Ideally, Gaines would love if his series could help establish Sarasota as a hotbed for filmmaking.
“A World of Worlds” was shown at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, where it received an award nomination for best effects, which were designed by local visual artist Jared Berg.
“We didn’t win, but at least we were nominated,” Gaines said. “At least something we did was recognized.”
Though Gaines considers “A World of Worlds” his first professional-grade production, he’s been making films since the age of 10, when one of his friends in his Queens, New York, neighborhood gained access to a camcorder.
“We just started making this crazy stuff,” Gaines said. “And then we started to really get into it. Then we started to grow up with it.”
Gaines said he and his friends would submit the films they made, which were mostly action and horror flicks, to small film festivals, where the group developed a cult following.
The second episode of the “A World of Worlds” series is in production. Gaines hopes the first episode will inspire viewers to help support his project, and he is looking for local businesses who want to advertise.
“In order for it to be bigger, in order to get it to the scale it needs to be at, we need donations and sponsorships. It’s the only way we can survive,” Gaines said. “But, I’m going to make it survive in the best way I can because it’s a fun thing to do.”