Back then Dondi Sanchez got his career started as a PA at Nickelodeon Studios in 1993. He had worked his way up to the top until he became known as camera operator. You can read my interview with him below to discuss his days at Nick in Fl, why some shows get called to LA, and tons of Nick! You can see his company Immanuel Production Group in the Orlando area if you ever wanna get behind the camera.
I got involved in Television at the age if 17 my senior year in high school. I took a television production class and fell in love with every aspect of it. That’s when I new what I wanted to do. So I went to Full Sail Center For the Recording Arts July of 91.
2. What was your first impression of Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?
In one word…. WOW… Very fun, laid back, friendly place to work.
3. What was a typical day like being there?
Best way I can describe it, it was likes second family. Very tight niche group of people. We all loved what we did, so when you were making television it was great it would all just fall into place. Days were long, exciting, fun, and energetic.
4. Were there any celebrities who you recall seeing that visited the studio?
Many from Evander Holyfield, TLC, USHER, Travis Tritt, Valery Bertinelly and soooo much more… To many to list
5. You worked on a ton of game shows. Did you ever get to test out any of the games or challenges yourself?
Of course… Especially being a PA and a Temple Guard on Legends of the Hidden Temple out job was to test the games.
6. If you could take home any type of prop from the studios what would it be?
I have. The art dept would always let us take stuff home if they didn’t need the prop anymore or when the season ended. I had a young son back then I would always bring cool things for his room.
7. Was there a bit of a noticeable difference between working at Nick Studios when you started in 1993 to say in 2001 when you left?
Huge difference…. Things changed after they shot the show Shelby Woo… It was a very negative feeling when that show was in the building. It was sad.
8. Have you ever been slimed?
NO. But I DIT get a lot of over splatter on me.
9. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
10. What was the best part about having a live studio audience and have visitors take a tour of the studios through a glass monitor from up above and watch you all film?
Have fun with them, make them laugh.
11. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories.
It was awesome.. Everyone was great and a pleasure to work with. I can’t express that enough. It was one of the best places I have ever worked at and I have been in the industry for 23 years now. Nothing compares. To this day when some of us work together on jobs we reminisce.
12. You also worked behind the camera on the show Taina. How great was that show and was there a reason why it moved to LA for its second season?
Yes it was a great show to work on. Unfortunately it was ahead of its time. Most of the shows went to LA once they became a hot show or because all the talent on the show was from LA and they didn’t want to live in Fl for 4 or 5 months so they would move it to LA.
13. What do you recall the most about the green slime geyser that was outside the front of the studio?
It was the center piece for the whole Nickelodeon Studios. It was the icon of it. People would come from all over the world to stand near it and watch it go off and take pictures.
14. You may not be aware but how do you feel knowing that the studios and all the great 90s Nickelodeon shows made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
It awesome and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work there with so many great people.
15. Do you mind explaining what you have been up to these days?
I now own my own multimedia production company in Orlando called Immanuel Production Group. We specialize in video, web and print media.
16. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
We had some great memories working on All That and Keenan and Kel. Since they were comedies we were always laughing. Especially when Kel would go into the wardrobe room pick something out and make his own character. I think that’s how his character in Good Burger came about.
17. Do you think your experience being there was a learning process in terms of the work you do now in a beneficial way?
Of course… It was the learning ground for my whole career. I learned a lot about the entertainment industry working at Nick.
18. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
The people, the creativity, the atmosphere. No other place like it.
19. Would you like to see it be re-opened?
Definitely! But I don’t think it would be like before. Nickelodeon right now just doesn’t have the creativity they use to have.
That was one of my first games shows to ever work on. Started out as a PA/spotter and ended up being a temple guard for the show. Long story…. I still get picked on to this day about being one. Lol…