A talk with gakmeister Bethanne Goehringer

The gak kitchen is one of the highlights if you ever got to tour Nickelodeon Studios Florida when it was around. You see the trademark for Nickelodeon has always been the green slime. So just to see up front how this substance is artificially made was exciting just to taste it and get the whole thing on you! Getting to talk to one of the first gakmeisters employed there Bethanne Goehringer ,now Seel, was cool because if you seen the pics or the video down below you’ll see that she is one of the main people who you got to see in the advertising to come to this special place and see the slime and gak. Bethanne shares with me her fabulous time working at the facility and just how precious the slime making process was!

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(you could see Bethanne at 7:40)

1. How did you get to become a gakmeister?
  I was hired by Nicky Nichols, who was the Operations Manager responsible for opening NSF.  She was so kind to me, and had me work a few freelance jobs to get some experience in television.  I worked MTV’s Spring Break at Daytona, and an Orlando Magic basketball game, to name a few.  The studios were not completely finished when I started there, so I did odd jobs for different departments while waiting for the Gak Kitchen to be completed.
2. What was your first impression of Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?
  My first impression was “What a fun place to work!”  There were quirky decorations all around, but it seemed normal to us.  The offices got more colorful as time went on.
3. How many hours did you stay in the gak kitchen preparing all the slimeful and gak substances?
  Once the tours began running through the building, my hours were really  9 to 6, like most jobs.  Tours came through every 4 minutes, and I got to be great friends with the Universal tour guides.   Many of them wanted to be actors, and they were so talented and funny.  We laughed a lot!  When we started taping Super Sloppy Double Dare, the kitchen went into full-on production mode.  I would do the visits for the tours, while the production assistants would hustle all around the kitchen, mixing up concoctions for the show.
4. From many advertisements and specials promoting NSF I think you were often seen in them, are you aware of this?
  Yes, I am aware of the ads and promos I am in!  It was always exciting for me, and a bit surreal.   However, I am well aware that the real star in the photos is Nickelodeon’s iconic slime.  I was just lucky to be the one holding it for a short time.
5. Describe the feeling the kids would get when coming through the studio tour. It must’ve been exciting for everyone that they wanna witness what you all do!
  Naturally the kids were excited walking through the building, but the place was so magical and wonderful that parents and adults were in awe, too.  The tour started in a gathering room, then they came down the hall, past the make-up room, wardrobe room, and finally to the Gak kitchen.   Then, they went upstairs and looked down over the two sound stages.  You could see actors from your favorite shows right there in front of you, on the set.  What a thrill!
6.  Was there a particular show there that you loved visiting the set of?
  All of the shows had something special about them…the actors, the crew, etc.  But Super Sloppy Double Dare was so unique!! How could you not laugh at a giant nose with green slime oozing out of it, or an enormous ear with pudding smeared all over it?  The prop masters and artists were so talented.
7. In the early 90s, I learned that you and the crew got to perform Nick shows for the NBA Orlando Magic halftime show. How much fun was that?
 I did not perform in the Magic halftime show.  One time however, Nickelodeon had a tent set up at an event at Loch Haven Park, Orlando. We had some props from Double Dare, and I was there in the Gak Meister costume.  Many people came by to taste the green slime and take photos.  One woman walked up and said to me, “Are you anyone?”  I was so shocked, I just said “No”.  Ouch, that still hurts even today!
8.  Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
 My favorite ride at USF was the ET ride, because one time my sisters came to visit me and brought my grandmother.  When you got on the ride, the employees would type your name in, so when the ride ended, ET would say goodbye to you.  Hearing ET say my grandmother’s name made us laugh so much!
9.  Orlando back then was shaped up to be Hollywood East but never lived up to it. As a Florida native, how great was it to have all the TV and film production going on in the area and why do you think it has since decreased?
I’m not a Florida native, I am a Yankee!
10. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories.
 The staff truly was like a big family.  I was just a kid back then, and I felt like I was friends with everyone on the staff.  Everyone’s office was always open, you felt like you could talk to anyone, from the highest executive on down.  I was always impressed that Emmy Laybourne worked alongside everyone on the set of Welcome Freshmen.  She is the daughter of our then- president, Geraldine Laybourne, so we really were all a big family.
11. Do you mind telling the ingredients used to make gak and slime?
  Hmmm… not sure I can divulge the secret recipe!
12. Have you been slimed yourself?
 Nope, I’ve slimed lots of people including CBS news anchor Mark McEwen, and Orlando Magic GM Pat Williams, but never been slimed myself.
13. Do you mind explaining what you have been up to these days?
 I left Nickelodeon to have my first child, and since then have worked in preschool, and public elementary school.
14. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
 I have so many great memories, it’s hard to pin down just one.  Linda Ellerbee did a tv special for kids about the environment, with an appearance by then- Vice President Al Gore .  The Secret Service came through the day before to secure the building,  and on the day of the taping, we could not be in the hall, so I stood in the wardrobe room as Mr. Gore walked past us to the studio.   That was a thrilling day.
15. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
 Nick Studios was so special because of the staff.  It was a wonderful company to work for.  Every time a show wrapped, there was always a fun party.  The staff once held a pumpkin decorating contest, and camera man Ken Krause and I won for our “Slime Pumpkin”!  And at every Christmas party we watched a video created for that year, where each department had to come up with their own segment.  These were super creative people, and I was so lucky to be among them!
16. Would you like to see it reopened?
 Anything is possible, but the magic wouldn’t be the same.
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Script writer Thomas B. Cavanagh Nickelodeon interview

When witnessing wacky, zany fun on your television screens you have to ask yourself,”how do these people come up with this”? This can also attributed to Nickelodeon in the 90s. The game shows and sitcoms were a full inside scoop of stepping into a kids mind. Script writer Thomas Cavanagh was the full writer for many of the game shows and variety shows such as Nick Arcade, Get the Picture, Outta Here, Double Dare, What Would You Do. Here he talks of how the brilliance of Nick Studios, how one particular variety show was a hard formula to do, and the evolution of filming in Florida through the years. His website you can learn about him here http://www.thomasbcavanagh.com.

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1. How eventually did you get started writing scripts for Nickelodeon?

 

I had been working as the Production Coordinator for the Disney Channel’s new Mickey Mouse Club but wanted to be a writer. When that show went on an extended hiatus between casts, I had planned to move to Los Angeles. However, I was invited to submit an audition writing sample for the new Let’s Make a Deal, which was shooting at the Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando. While I was waiting to hear back, I was offered my first writing job at Nick for a daily variety show called Outta Here. I accepted and then had the opportunity to write for a number of other shows over the next few years. I did not get an offer from Let’s Make a Deal, by the way.

 

2. What was your first impression of the Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?

 

I had seen it before it opened. Having worked in the Orlando film and TV market, I had been able to visit Universal Studios Florida and see some of the Nick property. But being in it as a working contributor was fun.

 

3. What was a typical day like being there?

 

There was a cool energy. A lot of young-ish people pulling long hours but having fun. Ironically, compared to a lot of other jobs, I spent relatively little time on the set or in the control room (which was also visible on the studio tour). As a writer, most of my time was spent in the Nick offices, well, writing. Although the money wasn’t very good, it was some of the most fun I’ve had in my career. Where else could you get slimed as part of your job?

 

4. One thing I wanna talk about is the show called Outta Here in which you wrote for. If you can recall was it something that wasn’t taken too lightly from network execs which is why the show is hard to find online?

 

I really enjoyed working on that show and made some lifelong friends I have kept to this day. But it had something of an identity crisis. It was a variety show that didn’t know if it wanted to be a game format like Double Dare or a comedy like Welcome Freshmen. The budget was very limited and sometimes the only way I could get something on the air was to do it myself. A lot of the staff popped up in bits because we would do it for free. There was also a requirement to feature the Universal Park in the show so we had to make sure to fit that in.

 

Outta Here also taught me that what I thought was funny was not always what kids thought was funny. I wrote some bits for Outta Here that I thought were hilarious but did not have a proper kid sensibility. For example, we sent one of the hosts out into the park to ask people if the rumors about Elvis being alive were true. While the tourists in the ride line answered, a white jumpsuit-clad Elvis would be buying a hot dog in the background. We all thought it was funny but kids didn’t get it. It was too subtle and, newsflash, they have no idea who Elvis is.

 

5. Was there a particular show there you loved visiting the set of?

 

They were all kind of cool in their own ways. I would say that Hi Honey, I’m Home or Clarissa Explains it All (neither of which I worked on) were neat because they were sets for narrative sitcom formats.

 

6. Orlando back then was shaped up to be Hollywood East but never lived up to it. As a Florida native how great was it to have all the tv and film production going on in the area and why do you think it has since decreased?

 

It was fun. When I worked on the Mickey Mouse Club, we had Superboy filming in the stage next to ours and we used to see Superboy zooming around backstage on a gas-powered skateboard. Several movies passed through, as well, such as Days of Thunder when it filmed in Daytona and Quick Change, which shot the airplane scene in a Delta jet fuselage that Disney had in a third soundstage. When I worked at Nick, I think Swamp Thing and Seaquest DSV were filming on property. It was cool. I’m not sure why things never took off, but I don’t think Hollywood ever saw Orlando as anything more than a glorified location.

 

7. When the game shows were being produced there did it matter to make every script, involving jokes and giggles, more bigger and better than the next one especially since they had a live audience?

 

We were always pushed to make them the best they could be. There was always a very genuine ethos to always respect kids, make it fun for kids, make it about kids being in charge. The live audience helped the energy but, honestly, it could get tough keeping them engaged when you were shooting five episodes of a game show per day. I worked on several things that did not have a live audience and the energy was not the same.

 

8. Did the sound stages help out alot to make your job easier considering how the large the studio was?

 

Not sure I understand the question. As a writer, the sound stages didn’t really affect my job at all.

 

9. Have you been slimed yourself?

 

Yes. I was also the referee in a giant wrestling ring of whipped cream for an episode of What Would You Do.

 

10. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida? Past and present.

 

At the time, Spider-Man was great. The park has expanded now to include Islands of Adventure, so I would have to say the Harry Potter Ride and Jurassic Park are my new favorites.

 

11. In terms of the actual lines you wrote was there any original story-line you would’ve to kept for any show but had to change it instead?

 

I mostly wrote game shows (Nick Arcade, a few Double Dare episodes, Get the Picture, some pilots, etc.), variety (What Would You Do, Outta Here, You’re On), comedy (Welcome Freshmen sketches), some educational (Launch Box), and some promos. Everything gets re-written either by me, if I was head writer, or by the head writer/producer. It’s all about getting the best material on screen. Rewriting is part of the process.

 

12. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories. 

 

Super cool. As I said earlier, some are friends to this day. Thanks to Facebook, we all still keep up. The same for the alumni of the Mickey Mouse Club.

 

13. You may not be aware but how do you feel knowing that all of 90s Nickelodeon shows made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?

 

If it comes up in conversation, I am always amazed at the reaction I get when someone learns I once wrote for Nickelodeon. There really is a genuine nostalgia for those old shows. People loved them and I am happy to have been a small part of it.

 

14. What have you been up to these days?

 

I am currently the Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida. My media work eventually led me into the exciting world of e-learning. But I have continued to write. I have published three crime novels, including a two-book series from St. Martin’s Press. One of my novels won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal and was nominated for a Best Novel Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America. For more about me and my books: http://www.thomasbcavanagh.com   

 

15. Favorite behind the scenes memory.

 

Too many to share here. Every time I and the other staff and friends got to do something on camera was a hoot. Walking through the park on the way to the cafeteria with Marc Summers and getting mobbed by kids was surreal. I do remember the first time I saw words that I wrote come out of someone’s mouth on a TV monitor. That was cool.

 

16. Do you think your experience being there was a learning process in terms of the work you do now in a beneficial way?

 

Absolutely. I would say that everything in my career has helped me in some form or fashion.

 

17. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special? 

 

At the heart of Nick was the emphasis on kids. Kids were the bosses, kids made the rules. That was the idea anyway and that made it special.

 

18. Would you like to see it be re-opened?

 

 

That would be great. I have heard that from others. It’s likely however, that the time for Nick Studios has passed. I’d love to see those crazy shows return, though. Just look at the popularity of shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior to see the grown-up versions. I believe that kids would love to see an updated Double Dare, for instance.

Dan Vitco interview

For me one of the things that made Nickelodeon Stand out during the 90s was the awesome theme music. It was rockish adventurous creepy and quirky all mice into one. Or have either one for that matter. Dan Vitco had a nab for playing into the sound department for most of the early 90s nick programming such as Make the Grade, Nick Arcade, and Clarissa Explains it All. The latter of which he did all of the combined music supplies all by himself. This interview you’ll hear more from Dan as he explains what it was like to be in Nickelodeon during those years and just how what it did for him in the long run. To learn more about Dan and his work you can look at his website

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1. What are some of your earliest memories of writing music and playing an instrument?

I started piano lessons at age 5. I didn’t seriously start writing music until my early 20s.

2. The first Nickelodeon show you worked on was Make the Grade. Were you nervous at all to go from big time musicians to being in a hit children’s network?

Not really.

3. On Total Panic,which your website claims to be the first full on TV package, how did the music work out better for you this time as opposed to Make the Grade?

  I wasn’t involved with the the theme music for ‘Make The Grade’. I played (recorded) audience cheers from a keyboard live as the show was being taped, since there was no live audience. I also provided sound effects.

4. In 1990 when alot of the shows were starting to be produced at the newly opened Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando,FL do you wish you would’ve been employed there full time?

I considered moving to Orlando at the time. There was too much I had going on in NJ back then, so I never made the move. Looking back, I’m glad I stayed in NJ!

5. What was your first impression of it when you got there based on your brief appearances?

During one visit to Orlando (wrapping up music production for Nick Arcade), I visited the production studios. It was impressive!

6. I think Clarissa Explains it All seems to be one of your proudest achievements. The guitar riff is what makes the show so noticeable. How different did you want to score the music this time for the overall theme of the show?

Actually, I did all of the music except for the theme. The guitar riff seemed to fit right from the beginning (as Sam climbs through the window), so we stuck with that.

7. Have you ever been slimed?

No!

8. How great was all the staff who worked at Nick? I always hear positive stories.

It was mainly Chris Gifford & Nondas Voll (over the phone) for Clarissa Explains it All. For all the other shows, I always worked with my good friend Mark Schultz, with whom I still do projects. He’s an amazing producer, writer and engineer. He has his own studio now in NJ: http://www.mysuitespot.com

9. How do you feel knowing that all of 90s Nickelodeon you were a part of made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?

It’s great to hear that people loved those shows and still ask for them!

10. Do you think the years spent for Nickelodeon was a learning process in terms of what you do now in a beneficial way?

Absolutely. There were many things about music production for TV & the music business that have been extremely helpful for me.

11. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?

Everything was fun & kind of wacky at the same time.

12. Would you like to see it be re-opened?

Yes!

Dan thank you for the opportunity for me to learn more about your background. It was a pleasure and i’ll let you know how everything goes with the project!

Anytime!

From My Brother and Me to Young and Hungry actress Kym Whitley tells about Nickelodeon years.

Actress and comedienne Kym Whitley has come a long way from her years on the hit 90s Nickelodeon shows My Brother and Me and All That.  One was the top rated kids sitcom among African-American families while sadly lasting one season and the other sparked ten seasons,elevated the cast members careers and did achieve a landing mark in kids world of sketch comedy. All of this has made Kym work even harder through her years on hit movies and television shows. While she now has her acclaimed reality show Raising Whitley on the OWN network, she now has a new sitcom out called Young and Hungry which premiered last month. But Kym has such good memories of being at Nick that she was happy to talk to me about her experience and why it helped paved the way for her career today and that Nickelodeon Studios was a monumental building. Be sure to catch Young and Hungry at Wednesdays  at 8pm/7c on ABC Family!

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An interview with Niels Schuurmans

We may now know Niels Schuurmans as the EVP of Viacom Velocity Creative Content Solutions but this man was an integral part of Nickelodeon–especially in its days in Florida.  Schuurmans was the former creative director of talent and promos which meant that he developed content involving the promotion of Nickelodeon Studios. Some of his famous spots were Studio Chief for a day and updates involving ordinary kids to get a chance in the spotlight to prove that the studio was the best place in the world. It was a pleasure that i got to talk to Niels to discuss just what it was like working for the #1 network for kids and just how his work showcased at what was the “world’s first headquarters for kids.”

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1. How did you get involved with Nickelodeon and how long were you employed there?

Very long story. Started a year out of school. Worked for Nick across a broad spectrum of positions globally. We could discuss.

2. What was your first impression of Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?

I can say that I was one of the first (if not ACTUALLY the first Nickelodeon employee to set foot on the grounds of Nick Studio). In fact I jumped a fence with a video camera to shoot the construction site only to be detained by security and brought in for questioning. The head of Nickelodeon was called to confirm who I was.

3. What do you remember the most about the studios opening day celebration?

I was indeed there and helped to produce the LIVE Opening event.

4. What was a typical day like being there?

Was a fantastic place to be day to day. Passionate employees helping to create something very special for kids.

5. The promos that were shot there looked so cool advertising to come to Nick Studios. What was the process like in scouting regular kids to speak and promote the studio?

We literally went into the park and cast kids there to participate.

6. Was it an exciting time to be in Orlando considering all the amount of tv and film production going on in the area,being known as “Hollywood East” though it has quite decreased over the years?

There was a lot of excitement that we were indeed building this idea of Hollywood east. Creating a physical home for Nickelodeon as well as building an industry there.

7. One highlight was the “Studio Chief for a Day” ad. How did that come about?

This was all about fulfilling our promise of ONLY KIDS WIN….we did lots of competitions and wanted to created something cool around the idea that ‘kids were in charge’ and we decided to use the Studio as a backdrop.

8. What type of marketing events do you recall there that were the biggest to plan out?

There were many. From Kids Choice remotes from the studio (Concert with Britney Spears), To daily LIVE programming with SLIMETIME live.

9. Was there a particular show there that you loved visiting the set of?

I worked on most of them…..Clarissa Explain It All, Welcome Freshman, GUTS, Roundhouse, Nick Arcade, etc. Clarissa probably had the best vibe as it had such a family vibe to it.

10. If there was any type of prop from the studio you can own what would it be?

Well there’s the Double Dare Nose or the SNICK Couch.

11. Have you been slimed yourself?

Indeed a bunch of times.

12. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?

At the time we all dug Spiderman and Back To The Future.

13. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories.

Big family – no matter what the position. From producers to Gabe the mail guy, to the security guy to the crews and cast. Everyone worked well together. Softball teams, Basketball teams, etc.

14. Do you feel that Nickelodeon, at the time, was groundbreaking in terms of children’s television and is it a different network then from now?

I think every era is different (as it should be). The studios was right for the time. A home base for the brand. A physical place to visit and play. Gave kids a voice. Now Nick is different, but just as great and in someways even better.

15. Favorite behind the scenes memory.

So many……would have to pull some out.

16. Did the sound stages help out alot to make your job easier considering how the large the studio was?

We used what we had. The studios were GREAT. Except for the Banner Pulling plane that flew over everyday at noon.

17. Do you think your experience being there was a learning process in terms of the work you do now in a beneficial way?

Absolutely. About working with talent that isn’t trained as well as getting the most out of production people and dollars.

18. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?

It was the first. Filled with staff that really cared about doing great work. Totally family vibe. Was a moment in time…..

19. Would you like to see it be re-opened?

Not sure there’s a reason for that now. Not sure kids need that sense of place for the brand that they once had. Shows don’t have the same sort of ‘mystery’ anymore. Unless there were a bunch of HUGE game shows that played well off off large audiences of kids. Not sure it makes sense. Nick Studios was a place to get kids on TV. Now a days kids can be on screen any day they want with social media and YouTube. Big expense. If anything just build an attraction. But not sure there’s a need for one working studio that you have to commit to fill every week. It pigeon holes the type of production you do. I like the idea of it – but the reality probably doesn’t make sense. But I leave that up to the future leaders of the brand. Perhaps one day there will be a GREAT opportunity to have a home base for Nick again.

 

Slimetime Live,Nick Studios,pies,and more slime interview from Jonah Travick

If you were coming home every afternoon from school to tune in to see the daily countdown interstitial host Slimetime Live then you were living the dream! I guess you can say that STL was one of the flagship viewership shows for Nickelodeon in the early 2000s. Filmed right outside Nick Studios Florida(sometimes inside) the show picked contestants right out of the park and have them play daily trivia games randomized out of order and whoever gets a question wrong well they get pied or slimed! Even celebrity guests and live performances made the show all worth it. One of the three co hosts of STL , Jonah Travick has just now gotten in contact with me about the project Nickelodeon Studios:Past,Present,and Future and we did an interview to discuss the legacy involving the studios, slime, the celebrity guests, gak kitchen, and what the show did for so many of its staff’s careers including Jonah himself.

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1. How did you get the job at Nick? First as PA on Double Dare 2000 then Slimetime Live.
I was a intern while in film school at the University of Central Florida, there was a internship posting. I went in for a interview with a lady who is now a Vice President of Production Management at Nickelodeon. I won’t say her name, but she’s pretty impressive and I learn a lot from her.

2. Did you know about Nickelodeon Studios before you got the job and what was your first impression of it?
As a kid, I had a annual pass to Universal Studios, so I would attend tapings of shows at Nick Studios and just dream of working behind the scenes there one day. I will admit, I would hang around the park and the studio trying and hoping to be discovered! LOL

3. Do you remember any other shows being filmed where you were at?
Noah Knows Best, Games and Sports, Taina, Double Dare 2000, Gullah Gullah Island, there was a celebrity show where you guessed something…with Summer Sanders…Can’t think of the name of it.

Earlier shows, Kenal and Kel, All That, and My Brother and Me, Clarissa Explains it All, Welcome Freshman,….Man…that place was cranking them out during the 90’s! It was an exciting time…I was just to young to work there during that era.

4. Did the gak kitchen help prepare for the sliming and pies for Slimetime?
YES, the late Kevin Ecker was our Gakmeister who prepared the pies and slime for the show each day. The Gak Kitchen was next to the Make Up room, and you could see it on the tour. RIP Kevin! Very cool guy!

5. Describe the feeling of getting slimed. You can’t describe it really…. Just ask your Mom to dump 6 gallons of refrigerated cool whip and pudding on your head…

6. As a Florida native, how great was it to have tv and film production going on in Orlando from back then and do you think it could ever be popular again?
Orlando at one time was looked at as “Hollywood East”…I was coming up and still in school during the heyday…I missed it by a few years i guess.

7. You had lots of great guest stars on STL. Who was the coolest to hang with?
The coolest was Dana Carvey…. He spent a lot of time with us. But so was Anthony Anderson…..David Arquet. Oh and Jerry O’connel. Nick Cannon and Kenan Thompson were a lot of fun the few times they were there, too.

8. How long did it usually take to clean up everything to prepare for another live segment the next day?
Our crew had it down to a system. They would typically be wrapped and clear the studio within a hour of the show if it was on our indoor set. Out side would take about twice that because they would have to also move all the equipment back inside. But they producers and writers would then have to prep for the next day…so not sure how long they would stay in the office…but it was a lot of hard work. However, I know they all LOVED the experience. They still to this day often comment on that being the best gig they have every had in this industry. We all feel that way. No job will ever top that. Except maybe being a astronaut.

9. How great were all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive experiences.
The staff and crew were amazing. Again, they were a big part of the reason that was the best job many of us had ever had.

10. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?
I keep in touch with Dave Aizer and our make up artist the most, but I keep in touch with several of the staff& crew people thanks to Facebook.

11. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida? Past and present
Favorite ride in the past was Back to the Future.. that has since been replaced with a Simpson ride…which is very cool too. My favorite now would be the Transformers ride. Amazing technology on display there.

12. If you could take home any prop from the studio or set what would it be?
They have all been claimed now! But I should have taken the Mail-O-Matic when it was offered. When i first got the call about taking it, I laughed…How was I gonna get it home? Or where would have put it? DUH…I could have rented a cheap U-Haul truck….and of course, i could have put it right next to my car in my garage and had it restored and preserved…I’m so angry I didn’t think about that then. I think it has been destroyed…..

13. Do you think your experience there was a learning process in terms of the work you do now in a beneficial way?
Absolutely! You really learn fast working in LIVE TV. YOu have no choice. I used to say it puts on “hair on chest”! LOL

14. What have you been up to these days?
I’m a video producer. I produce video for promotional, commercial and corporate films. It’s mainly the type of work that is left in this Orlando Market. Not as much TV and movie production going here anymore, unfortunately.

15. What was the best part about having a live studio audience and have guests take a tour of the studios while watching you guys film or rehearse down below?
Feeding off of the energy and excitement front the audience always made LIVE SHOWS better than the pre-taped ones.

16. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
Getting a split second glimpse of Michael Jackson walking through the building.

17. STL is still talked about this day and remains a cult following. How do you feel about the positive impact the show had on people and still loved today along with the rest of 90s Nickelodeon?
well I didn’t know we had a “cult following”….But that is extremely special to me and I feel so overwhelmingly fortunate to have that opportunity that I reminisce about daily.

18. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
Because it was ALL about the kids and creating quality entertainment for them. I don’t know what the formula the creative folks used…but it worked!

19. Would you like to see Nick Studios be re-opened?
We can only dream!

Nick interview from Dondi Sanchez

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.

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1. How did you get involved in the entertainment business?
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?
Terminator 3D

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.

20. On Legends of the hidden temple is where you started out as a spotter, what do you recall most from that set and what was the experience like?
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…