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!

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Bob Mittenthal interview

TV producer Bob Mittenthal has been working in the entertainment business for over 30 years. He is one of the key people responsible for putting Nickelodeon’s Double Dare on the air and has also worked on the less popular game show Think Fast. In 1991 when Welcome Freshmen made it on the air for Nick, Bob was excited to create a show that vastly appealed on what its like to be a  teenager. Well for this interview he in fact did share the highs and extreme lows of working at Nickelodeon Studios while also creating the show he cared so much about.

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  1. Was being in showbiz something that you always wanted to do?

Pretty much. As a kid I watched as much TV as I could get away with. My dad is kind of a strange guy and really loved to buy consumer electronics and as a result we had TVs in practically every room of the house including, at a certain point, my bedroom. I had terrible sleep problems growing up and I used to watch TV (with the volume really low so in case anyone would wake up, they wouldn’t know) until all the channels went off the air for the evening. (That used to happen.) I especially loved to watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the shortlived Fernwood Tonight with Martin Mull and Fred Willard. Those shows especially made me think I wanted to be a comedian.

  1. How eventually did Double Dare get started and do you ever wish you had continue on with the series?

Nickelodeon in the 80s used to acquire all or practically all of its own programming. With rare exceptions like “You Can’t Do That on Television,” all TV shows being made for children were educational and pretty boring. As Nickelodeon made the switch into being an ad-supported network they realized that in order to be successful they would have to have programs that people would actually want to watch, but at the same time were still appropriate for kids (non-violent, non-sexual, etc.) Since no one was making kids shows like that at the time, Nick decided they would have to make them themselves. The cheapest TV shows to make were game shows – they were unscripted and you could grind out four or more episodes in a day – so with limited budgets, that’s what kind of show they wanted to make. I was working in on-air promos at the time and I had the reputation of being pretty fun to be around and a real student of TV (because all I’d ever done in my life was watch TV – see above) so I got invited to a small creative meeting to throw around game show ideas. We kind of figured it out from there.

As far as wishing that I had been a part of the production of the series: sure. Being on the crew of a TV show is an amazing experience. The process of production is really intense. The hours are long and there’s a ton of pressure, and as a result the crews tend to form tight bonds. I was still working in promos when Double Dare started and didn’t get to work on the production. I used to visit the set to shoot promos and stuff and I would always get invited to the wrap parties; everyone knew I was one of the creators and they were all incredibly nice to me but I wasn’t a true part of the family. I’ve had that experience on many shows over the years but I was kind of an outsider on Double Dare and would have been liked to have been more involved.

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

By the time Nickelodeon Studios were built, I had left on-air promos and was working as a freelance writer & producer under contract at Nickelodeon. Shows I was producing were being made on the sound stages at Universal as the studios  and core building were being constructed so I watched them go up. Nick executives used to travel to Orlando from New York and get tours of the facility during construction and occasionally I’d go with them. I remember being pretty impressed with how state of the art it was technically. The control room was gorgeous – it was the first control room I’d ever been in where all the monitors were color – usually only the Program and Preview Monitors were color and everything else was black and white so they wouldn’t be distracting to the eye. But because it was built for the tours who’d be passing through the glass-walled “view tube” behind, they wanted to make sure it was all pretty and eye-catching.

The lighting system was really cool too. In all the studios I’d worked in before that, they’d have to use ladders or scissor lifts to access the lighting grid up in the ceiling. At Nick Studios they installed a system where each section was on a motorized hydraulic “pantograph” (kind of an accordion-like thing) which would lower to the floor.

  1. What was a typical day like being there?

I don’t remember it all that well. There were a lot of frustrations. Parking at the studio was always a big deal. As an executive producer, I usually had an assigned parking space somewhat close to the building, but there wasn’t enough space in the parking lot – it was a park employees lot if memory serves – and I think sometimes people had to park if lots far away and take a tram or something. I spent a lot of time dealing with complaints and listening to people tell me why they needed an assigned spot or how they should be paid extra for the time it took them to get from the lot to the studio. I was sympathetic. It sucked. But after a while I felt like I had to avoid people because I couldn’t have another conversation about parking.

We shot our shows over two days – usually on the weekends I think to accommodate the busier tour schedules those days. The rest of the week we’d prep that week’s and the next week’s shows and write future shows. Our office was in the core building which didn’t have any windows – or none in the offices used by non-permanent employees. The air conditioning worked really well. It was always freezing. We’d hole up in there all day trying to be funny and trying to deal with an unending list of problems from our cast members being accused of being bad influences on the cast members of other shows, to having other productions pilfer all the best tech crew guys and having them replaced by guys who just weren’t as good.

We were a low budget show but we were really ambitious and wanted to make a show that we were proud of. We didn’t get a lot of attention from the network so the only thing that mattered to us was making something that made us laugh. That meant that we spent a ton of time problem-solving and trying to find alternative ways of doing things. It was really hard. We usually didn’t have time to even leave the office for lunch but when we did, it was nice to go outside and walk to The Grill. The food wasn’t great and there were usually people we’d see who’d want to talk to us about the parking situation but at least we were outside. The daily thunderstorms were a highlight. Orlando is the lightning capital of the world I’m told. Really the best part of the day was going out to dinner and being able to drink a glass of wine or ten. We were really into food and there weren’t a ton of great restaurants in Orlando at the time but we spent a great deal of time seeking them out

  1. Do you remember other shows being filmed where you were at?

Yes definitely. I mostly remember the other scripted series: Clarissa Explains it All, High Honey I’m Home, Fifteen, and Roundhouse. I think Total Panic and Nick Arcade might have been in production down there as well when we were but I remember the scripted stuff because we were always getting the shaft because of them.

  1. I noticed that the camera style on WF looked shot in a single camera mode though I may be wrong. Can you explain what kind of filming techniques were used and was it ever difficult in that format?

Welcome Freshmen was shot in a variety of ways. The first two seasons it was a sketch show. Most of the sketches were recurring and built around a theme, and we tried to shoot each sketch in the way that best fit its content. For instance, one of the recurring sketches was the “Mervumentary.” The character Merv saw scandals everywhere at school and was trying to uncover them with his probing camera. Those were all done in a single shot with a handheld camera. A lot of time we’d try to do remote stuff outside the studio either in the park or around the area. That was all single camera too. Most of the rest of the show was shot multi-camera. In the third season we switched to a straight sitcom format. That was all multi-camera unless we did remotes.

  1. How was your experience with the Florida staff who worked at the studios? I always hear positive stories.

It varied. The freelance production staff who worked on our show tended to be really good. The tech crews varied. Some of them were great – they had bought into the whole Hollywood East idea of Orlando and moved down there with their families in an attempt to have a saner life. But the talent pool was not deep and when the best guys weren’t available, the next tier tended to be pretty inexperienced. There are some skills in production that are really specialized – operating a “Fisher boom” for instance. That’s the rig used to mike a sitcom or soap – it’s incredibly difficult to operate. The operator has to move the mike around above the heads of the actors and have it in the right position to pick up each line. The mike can’t be in the shot and it can’t cast a shadow. It demands a ton of physical coordination and the intelligence to understand the lighting plan. You need the memory to remember from limited rehearsal who talks when. It’s hard as hell and there are only a handful of guys who can do it well. There weren’t a lot of those guys in Central Florida.

As far as the full time employees at the studio, they weren’t answerable to an individual show. They worked for Nickelodeon (or possibly for Universal, I’m not really sure) and sometimes their  interests didn’t align with mine.

We had a couple things working against us. The message we were constantly getting was that the studio was primarily in the business of providing an attraction for the Universal Studios and making a show to put on Nickelodeon was secondary. Our bosses in New York wanted a good show and insisted that we stay on budget but no matter what, nothing could jeopardize putting on the show for the tour. Producing a TV show is a complicated process with a lot of moving parts. Producing a live action show with kid actors is even harder because of really strict laws about the hours kids could work. Add on top of that the fact that you have to be on the studio floor working – or looking like you’re working – at particular hours on particular days made it that much harder.

Welcome Freshmen had it harder than most other shows. We were a small show with a really low budget. It was non-union everything. Unlike Clarissa Explains it All for example, which was DGA, WGA, and AFTRA I believe. That meant that where Clarissa could hire professional directors, writers and actors – i.e., people who did those things for a living, we had to hire either people who were trying to become professionals but hadn’t done enough stuff to get into the guilds, or else people who were in the guilds but needed the work and were willing to take the risk that they wouldn’t get caught and punished for working non-union. We unearthed some gems in that regard: My partner in writing and producing the show Tim Hill made his directing debut in our final episode. He’s gone on to be a major director and writer in Hollywood. Adam Weissman also did his first real episodic directing for us and he’s gone on to have a great career in Hollywood. Jed Spingarn was our staff writer one season. He’s worked on a ton of great shows and created The Thundermans for Nickelodeon. But more often the limitations with who we could hire just ended up making more work for me and Tim and Mike Rubiner the other real creative partner I had on the show.

  1. I read the book Slimed by Matt Klickstein and you did mention that the talent pool in Orlando was pretty shallow. Was it hard to find a group of actors for the show?

Yeah, it was really hard. I adored the cast of Welcome Freshmen. The kids were sweet, smart, funny kids but they were really raw. We cast them based on our instinct and what we felt was their potential. Not on their experience. I think we were the only scripted show that was ever done in Orlando at Nick or Disney where the talent was all local. When we wrote parts for new characters and had to do casting it was a real crapshoot. I remember we did a sketch about career day at school with a bunch of ridiculous jobs and the guy we cast as a matador couldn’t get his lines out. The more takes we did, the more flustered he got. I think we really traumatized the guy for life.

It was a little easier with the adults. There were some local actors who were good. Mike Speller who played Mr. Lippman was local and he was hilarious. The guy who played Walter’s Dad was a scream. There were some others but not a whole lot.

  1. If you could take home any type of prop from the studios or set what would it be?

Probably the microphone that Mr. Lippman used to make his morning announcements that always turned into a stand up routine of freshman jokes, ala “What’s the difference between a freshman and a sack of manure?… The sack.” Either that or the drum set that his secretary Ms. Petruka used to punctuate his jokes with rimshots.

10. Was it ever a distraction for you when guests who took a tour of the studios through a glass monitor from up above and watch you all film?

It wasn’t a distraction exactly but I hated it. It was just really bad for my self-esteem to feel the reason I was there was as much to look like I was producing a TV show as it was to actually produce a TV show. As I’ve mentioned several times, TV production is arduous. It’s also pretty boring. If the boom is casting a shadow sometimes there’s no way around it other than to move some lights. Everyone has to stop what they’re doing while lighting and audio work it out. Sometimes it would take ten minutes. Jim Scurti, one of the best camera operators in the business and an incredibly sweet guy had moved down to Orlando for the reason I cited above. He loved to read and when there was a stop down of any length, sometimes he would sit down on his camera pedestal and pull out his book. He was reprimanded for this by management because it didn’t look good for the tour. It really upset him and it upset me because I liked the guy but also because it hurt my show. It hurt morale and eventually he stopped wanting to work at the studio – and this guy was nationally known and would get booked all over the country. I ended up with a lesser camera operator because of bullshit like that. Morale was always low because of the conflict between tour and production. And relationships between the crew and management were not good especially with the better crew guys. They always felt like management favored the yes men who weren’t as experienced but would do whatever they were told. This too hurt the show in lots of ways. So it wasn’t so much having people watching that was the problem. It was what the studio felt they had to do to make a great tour experience for the guests that was the problem.

11. WF had gone through a change in the show’s format where it went from doing sketches,stand-up to being a sitcom-y show. Was there a reason for that?

Yes and no. If I recall correctly, it was a choice that I wanted to make and that I sold to the network because I felt that it would help ratings. I thought that people had trouble grasping the sketches – because it wasn’t a typical sketch show like SNL or All That. It had actors playing characters – Jocelyn Steiner was Alex. Rick Galloway was Walter, etc. – And then those characters would appear in sketches about being a freshman in high school. I thought people would find it easier to buy into a straight sitcom. But that was only part of the reason for the change. The other reason was that Tim Hill and I had gotten kind of bored of the sketch format and had run out of freshman jokes for Mr. Lippman’s Morning Announcements. We wanted to tell bigger stories than we could in short sketch.

12. Back then Orlando was seen as Hollywood East though it never really happened. From your years living and working there how great was it to have all the TV and film production going on in the area?

I never really lived there. I would come down for production but my home was always in New York. I think the Hollywood East idea was something they were promoting more than it was ever a viable reality. I didn’t like living in Orlando and I really like living in New York which is better-suited to my temperament. I admire that a lot of young people moved down to Orlando and managed to get a ton of experience which allowed them learn and go on to have great careers in entertainment when they moved on to New York or Los Angeles. I feel like that was probably the best thing to come out of it. It became clear to me pretty early on that until Orlando could find a way to draw writers, actors and directors to make their homes there, it might be a center of production but it would never be a center of culture the way New York and Los Angeles are. If they could have kept it going for a generation, things might have changed but it’s about more than studios. It’s about the things that make artists want to live in a place which tend to be different than the things that make normal people want to live in a place.

13. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?

Not that much. I’m Facebook friends with lots of them but I’m not that active a facebooker – more of a lurker. Mike Rubiner, who was one of the writers and producers on the show, is still a close friend and my writing partner. I still consider Tim Hill to be a good friend although I haven’t been in touch with him for a while. I did see Dave Rhoden (who played Merv) at a big event they did in NYC to launch Matt Klickstein’s book SLIMED!. It was really great to see him. He’s turned into a fine young man. He kind of updated me on what the other cast members were up to.

14. If you could pick out one flaw about the studio what would it be?

Hm. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I was a young creator of shows and the existence of the studio allowed me get my shows made, but I kind of feel like the whole concept was flawed. From the moment they committed to having a certain amount of production days every month, the thinking became “What do we have to do to get something in the studio?” rather than “What do we have to do to make great TV shows?” There’s not much relationship between those two ideas. I always thought they should have quietly turned it into a TV academy and charged tuition to people who wanted to learn how to use the equipment. For the visitors it would have looked the same as if they were making shows.

15. Have you ever been slimed?

I work in the entertainment industry; I feel like I’ve been slimed every day of my life. But I’ve not been literally slimed. It never struck me as that interesting. Maybe if I’d grown up with Nickelodeon I would have felt differently.

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

Back to the Future was kickass.

17. How do you feel knowing that the WF and all the 90s & 80s Nickelodeon shows made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?

It makes me incredibly proud. Welcome Freshmen wasn’t a particularly popular show, especially compared to Clarissa which launched at about the same time. We probably would have been canceled if it hadn’t been so cheap to produce. I think I understand why it didn’t break out. We were on TV in the same era as the similar but much more popular Saved By The Bell which I considered a really second rate show. But what I didn’t understand then and I understand much better now is that comedy for kids and tweens is really different from comedy for adults. Kids need a lot more fantasy fulfillment and a lot less humiliation and pain. Growing up is scary for them and a show that makes high school seem glamorous and fun is really appealing. That’s what Saved By The Bell did. Those kids were beautiful and even their problems were glamorous and “aspirational.” The only real comedy on that show came from Screech. The audience could laugh at him while identifying with Zach and Kelly. (Even though in reality the audience was probably a lot more like Screech.) There was nothing glamorous about Welcome Freshmen. It was like a show of all Screeches. High school was a time in my life when the world made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I know I’m not alone in that and I wanted to make a show that held that up to the light and robbed it of its power to hurt by turning it into comedy, but that’s not what kids want. In that sense, Welcome Freshmen was written like an adult show but set in a kid’s world. I’m still really proud of it – especially the writing. There was an episode in our final season when Manny was in love with a girl from school whom his mother had hired without his knowing it to babysit for him. It was as humiliating as anything on The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm. I loved it. I think it was based on a true story from the life of Tim Hill’s wife Veronica Alicino. It’s still one of my favorite shows of anything I’ve worked on.

18. Favorite behind the scenes memory.

I think I’ve blocked out most of the specific memories. I remember after our final season, our art director, Mark Simon, had T-shirts made up for the crew with a caricature of my face looking extremely stressed and in pain and the slogan “Welcome Freshmen – They said it couldn’t be done.” It was an inside joke – every time we asked for something from the studio – a piece of equipment, a particular crew member, etc. – they said, “Sorry. It can’t be done.”

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

The only thing I admired about Nick Studios besides the actual equipment was the smart and talented people who bravely moved down there to do the kind of work they desperately wanted to do.

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

Yes, but I think they would have to solve the conflict between being an attraction and being a working studio. I think there are other things that you could do with a Nickelodeon Studios that would be frankly more interesting than watching a guy move lights around. Technology would allow it be the kind of place where visitors could do things like interact with scenes from Nick shows, and touch and feel sets from real shows, etc. And it would be a great TV School.

Thank you Bob so much for the interview. Was great to hear your experience and i’ll be sure to inform you more of the project!

 

Kirk Fogg interview

From 1993-95 the Nickelodeon game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple” combined brains and athleticism. Kids would answer questions around history based knowledge while playing games centered around the history subject of that episode while the grand finale was going through a 3 min maze to retrive the grand prize called “Temple Run”. I got to interview through email the host Kirk Fogg to talk about his experience at Nickelodeon Studios and why it should come back! Please be on the lookout for his website kirkfogg.com launching soon!

1. How did you become the host of legends of the hidden temple?
 I was picked out of the Screen Actors Players guide then I went for the interview and had to do some play by action and boom they picked me….They didn’t have much time to choose so I was lucky cuz I didn’t have much experience..
2. What was a typical day like at Nick Studios?
Typical day for me was showing up and walking around the set trying to figure out what the show was about.  I didn’t get a lot of hands on guidance so it was a bit overwhelming due to the nature of the production.
3.  In past interviews you said that you had ran through the temple run yourself can you describe how complicated it was?
Temple wasn’t that complicated for me runing through because all the doors were open.  I just wanted to see if I could get through it under 3 minutes without passing out.  It’s harder for adults in that you have to do a lot of ducking.

4. Did you have a personal favorite team?

I don’t know. It changes.  But mostly I guess I like the Silver Snakes ….but don’t hold me to it.
5. The set you all filmed in was huge. Do you remember how big the soundstage was?
Sound stage- pretty typical, large.  We had everything on it.  Moat, Steps and Temple.  It was huge.

6. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando,FL?

It was nice going to Orlando.  It’s very chill there and it gave me a chance to relax(sometimes) and get my head together.  The people of Orlando were very nice.

7. Do you remember other shows being filmed where you were at?

When I was there they were still doing Double Dare, Figure it out(I think) and Guts(I think).  But during my shoot mine was the only show taping that I know of.
8. What was Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced Olmec, like in person and do you keep in touch with him?
Dee is a very cool guy who was living in Orlando at the time.  Very talented. I encouraged him to move to LA for his career….nice move!
9. Do you happen to know where Olmec’s statue is today?
 I’m sure the producers have all the important stuff. I didn’t get anything…:(
10. You may not be aware but how do you feel knowing that your show and the rest of the 80s & 90s Nickelodeon made such an positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
Didn’t really sink in until about 15 years later when the fans got older and began to voice thier opinions on social media…it’s awesome!

11. Alot of people wanna know this but have you ever been slimed?

Never been slimed…ha ha

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

I remember liking the restaurant drive in movie …not a ride and not even sure if it’s on the Universal Studios lot…. In LA I liked the Back to the Future…which I’m not sure they still have.

13. You recently starred in a Volkswagen commercial, how much fun was that?

Love doing commercials.  The last one was great…shot it quick inbetween rain storms. Lot of people saw that one.

14. Any upcoming projects you’re working on you can tell us about?

 Nothing entertainment related to speak of at the moment but that could change… I am launching a website KirkFogg.com.
15. Any other behind the scenes or crazy fan moments that happened on set at the studios that you can recall?
 No crazy fan moments…everyone was kept at a safe distance.
16. What do you think was the best thing about Nickelodeon Studios?
I liked the unpretentiousness of the Florida Studios. Less Hollywood(ish)
17. Would you like to see Nick Studios be reopened?
It should and they should bring back the gameshows. Not sure what they are thinking.
18. Thank you Kirk for the interview. Definitely nice to hear from you. I’ll show you the documentary once finished. Thanks!
Thanks Bilall.  Sorry it took so darn long to do this… maybe it was better that you sent the questions via the email…Kirk.

Moira Quirk interview

From 1992-95 “Guts” on Nickelodeon set a new boundary for kids across the country. It combined extreme sports for and athleticism for kids. Swimming, running track, boat paddling, and of course the final challenge–the famous Aggro Crag is what made it was one of Nick’s groundbreaking game shows of all time. It was so successful that it spawned a spin off titled “Global Guts” which featured kids,not just U.S. this time, from countries all over the world competing on the show. I guess you can say Guts in the 90s was a great time for kids to be active pre obesity and technology of the new millennium.  Well the “On your mark. Get set. *blows whistles*” game referee Moira Quirk who we knew as “Mo” on the show took the time for me to interview her to discuss what it was like filming at Nickelodeon Studios Florida and her time on the show. Do you have it?

Then
Now
1. How did you get the role in Guts?
It was simply an audition… or a series of them. They kept bringing me back to show me to the next person up the Nickelodeon line.
2. What was a typical day like at Nick Studios? I know the cast & crew filmed in Soundstage 21 as opposed to Stage 18 and 19 if I’m not mistaken.
I remember it was the largest soundstage Universal Studios had. We’d shoot three shows a day. Then we would or wouldn’t go home.
3. I know you’ve answered this before but describe climbing the Aggro Crag.
It wasn’t quite the same for me as when the contestants climbed it. I didn’t have Mylar being shot at me for a start. I remember being surprised that the ground below me was squishier than I had anticipated!
4. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando?
I made great friends in Orlando with amazingly talented people. A few are still there, but most of us are in LA and New York and Chicago now. As for Orlando, or rather Florida, the heat and humidity was too much for me. The cockroaches were too much for me. But I loved going to the ocean and the beautiful beaches. I lived in a lovely old Southern Gothic Victorian by a lake and I loved that!
5. Orlando,FL had a reputation of being known as Hollywood East in the early 90’s. Do you remember any other shows being filmed where you were at?
Other than Nickelodeon shows, not really.
6. What was it like to see all these other nations, particularly your hometown England, compete on Global Guts? It was really like a mini Olympics to me.
It was fun! It was a great way to see the show out.
7. What did you think of the 2008 revival “My Family’s Got Guts”
I’m embarrassed to say I never saw it.
8. Do you still talk to Mike O’Malley?
Of course!
9. You were also appeared on Figure It Out sometimes. How much fun was that show?
Perhaps it was my schedule, but I always felt I walked off the plane, walked onto the set, got slimed and then had to fly home. So, if it was a fun show, I never had time to notice.
10. Describe the feeling of getting slimed.
Well, if you can imagine a really slimy substance landing on you… it’s like that.
11. Speaking on upcoming projects you do alot of voice acting these days. is there a difference between that and regular acting?
Implying it’s irregular acting? Hmm! But yes, voice over is my gig now. Sometimes you might actually see me in person- check out Dirty Work at dirtywork.com (only if you’re older!)- but usually I’m in front of a microphone. There is definitely a different skill set involved, even between the different types of VO work I do. An audiobook is very different from a BBC radio play, which is different from an LA Theatre Works play-recording, which is different from a game like Skyrim, which is different from a game like Star Wars or X-Com, which is different from a Marvel cartoon which is different from Madagascar.
12. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
I did! At that time there was the Hanna Barbera ride. It was a simulator ride and you would chase Dick Dastardly and Muttley. I am hugely into Hanna Barbera cartoons, so that was like my happy place. Mostly because there was an interactive area attached and my favourite spot was where you could push the buttons to make the sound effects (like ‘zup zup zup’ when someone takes off really quickly!) I could waste quite a lot of time in that room.
13.How do you feel knowing that Guts is loved today along with the other Nickelodeon shows during that time?
It’s rather nice. I still remember shows I enjoyed as a kid, so if GUTS evokes those same feelings that’s pretty cool.
14. Any other behind the scenes or fan moments that happened on set at the studios?
Honestly, it’s all the behind the scenes tomfoolery that really informs a show. And my lips are sealed.
15. What do you think was the best thing about Nickelodeon Studios?
Its love of orange.
16. Would you like to see Nick Studios be reopened?
I don’t know what studios might already be there and operating, but if Nick wanted to reopen and run a union operation and it was beneficial to the region, then godspeed!

 

Irene Ng interview

Ahh The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo! From 1996-99 the show ran on Nickelodeon about a 15 year old girl solving crimes in her grandfather’s police organization and getting into alot of misadventures along the way. You’re probably wondering whatever happened to the star of the show Irene Ng? Well she’s now married with two kids and is a founder and schoolteacher of a preschool in Connecticut  In this exclusive interview I got the chance to chat with Irene about Nick Studios and her time on the show all a part of the documentary about Nickelodeon Studios.

Then
Now
1. How did you get the role as Shelby Woo?
I auditioned many many rounds in NYC through my agent and got the role.
2. What was a typical day like at Nickelodeon Studios?
You get there, change into your wardrobe and have your makeup done, block the scenes and rehearse, then wait in your dressing room for them to come call you then film. We ususally order our lunch from a menu there, work till evening then go home.
3. Do you remember any other shows being filmed where you were at?
Keanan and Kel and All That
4. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando?
Definitely Universal Studios – my family and friends would come to visit, stay with me, and get to cut through lines using my Disney pass!
5. Do you keep in touch with anyone from the show?
For many years I kept in touch with Adam Busch from the show but in recent years we have lost touch, unfortunately
6. You were also often a panelist on Figure It Out. How much fun was that show?
It was very fun to meet all the different celebrities they would have on the show – not to mention being slimed and having to take a shower in the studio after that!
7. Can you describe the feeling of getting slimed?
Wet, gooey, cold!
8. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
Space Mountain
9. Are you aware of the 90s Are All that on Teenick? How do you feel about people who were fans of Shelby Woo and other Nickelodeon shows during that time?
No I am not aware of that. I am so touched by Shelby Woo fans, of course. My other fellow actors were all really cute and talented kids. I was much older than them though I look young so I was always like an older sister among them. I became really good friends with the older sister of Michelle Trachtenberg, actually, who’s my age and we still meet up with each other. Saw Michelle a few years ago and she looked fabulous!
10. Any other behind the scenes or fan moments that happened on set at the studios you can recall? What do you miss about the show?
I miss the people that I worked with the most – the crew were such nice people. We heard once that Tiger Woods was filming an American Express commercial next door once and we found out which studio and we watched him film the commercial about 20 ft from him, pretty cool.
11. I think that Nickelodeon Studios was a special place for kids and adults to interact with actors and tv shows and just have a lot of fun especially somewhere like Orlando. Would you agree with that?
yes, to the kids it’s such a big deal to see the actors of their shows in person and it’s so nice to see how happy it makes their day
12. Would you like to see Nick Studios be re-opened?
Most definitely!
13. Well thank you so much for this rare interview Irene and being a part of the documentary. Hope everything is going well for you and new career and family life. Take care.
You are so welcome! Thanks so much, Bilaal!