There’s electricity in the air and a sense of excitement as you walk onto the set of The Fresh Beat Band. The Nickelodeon series has started taping their new season in a new location: Paramount Pictures. I had the opportunity to tour the set of the show with the creators of the series, Nadine Van der Velde and Scott Kraft.
We began the day in Fresh Beat Park, where an Astroturf lawn and a colorful mural inspired by the series reside near the studio store on the Paramount lot. Last season, while they filmed at another studio in Van Nuys, the grass in the park was real. But since Astroturf is much easier to manage (just ask the Brady Bunch), they opted for it instead. On a side note, I never realized how much heat Astroturf absorbs until I got to feel it for myself.
Onward we went to the soundstage that houses the Fresh Beat sets, which is also a stage with some well-known history. Stage 13 on the Paramount lot was also the home of Happy Days and Wings. Kraft stated that he hopes that The Fresh Beat Band has the longevity of these two previous series that ran 11 seasons and 8 seasons, respectively.
Once inside Stage 13, I watched the taping of a musical number for an upcoming episode involving a lot of balloons. For this series, and musical films as well, all the music and vocals are taped beforehand and played back while the actors lip-sync to the lyrics. Later, in post-production, a fresh audio track of the song is added in that fits in perfectly with the edited musical number.
The cast and crew wrapped for lunch and I was taken around the set where I got to see the inner-workings of the how this series is put together. Like a sitcom, the show utilizes four cameras to catch all the action in a scene. This is exactly like the multi-camera technique used on sitcoms that primarily use a studio audience like Wings and Happy Days. While Fresh Beat, for logistical reasons, doesn’t have a studio audience, the multi-camera technique allows the crew to get a several shots at different angles without the hassle of setting up and re-shooting the same dance sequence over and over.
As we continued the tour I got to see the bedrooms of the Fresh Beat Band (they only have two and switch out the colors and props depending on whose room it is), and then we moved over to the music school, and where they are planning to build a recording studio for the Fresh Beats to use on the show. Kraft and Van der Velde were very excited about the new additions coming up on the series, and from what I heard you and kids will be as well!
After the tour, we returned to the Fresh Beat Park where I met with the cast (who remembered my name and that I was from StuffWeLike.com instantly), and got my picture taken with them.
The cast had to return to the set to finish shooting for the day, and Kraft and Van der Velde thanked me for coming to visit their show. It’s one thing to watch a series, but to actually see how things are done (for me at least) makes watching it even more fun. Not only are you able to see and appreciate how much work and effort goes into the making of each episode, but it was also cool to see that everyone who works on the series from the cast to the crew love working on the show.
And that was one thing that stuck with me that co-creator Scott Kraft said during the set tour. He said they only hire energetic and happy people to work on the series. The mood of the cast and crew translates through the cameras, and if someone is bitter and jaded it can affect how the show comes across to the viewer. I like that they care about the audience as much as they do about those who work on the series. And I could sense that everyone I met was passionate and dedicated to making sure that each moment on the show lives up to these standards.
Want to see The Fresh Beat Band live??
The Fresh Beat Band will be performing in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held at the UCLA campus. The live concerts will be held at the Target Children’s Stage at 10am both days, followed by an autograph session. The event is free to the public, so come on out and introduce your kids to Kiki, Marina, Twist, and Shout!!!
Check back in the next few weeks for my interview with the series creators Scott Kraft and Nadine Van der Velde. If you have a question you’d like me to ask them, please feel free to post one in the comment section below!
Check out my other Fresh Beat articles:
And for all things Fresh Beat Band, check out their official Nick.com page by clicking here.