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Robert Niles
Editor

USF employees' 'Jaws' video an Internet hit

Published: June 4, 2006 at 10:34 PM

After watching Jaws: The Musical, I had to find out more about the crew that put the video together, and how it came to be. So I fired off some questions to the video's director, Jaws skipper Colin Peterson, who graciously provided a speedy response.

Theme Park Insider: Why did you do this?

Colin Peterson: Well, first off there's an awards show that Universal puts on every year around this time called the Golden Clicker Awards. The purpose of this event is for the attractions to compete to make the best short film, all the while making fun each other and working at Universal.

TPI: When did you decide to do this, and how long did it take to put together? How and when did you film?

Peterson: Actually, the Clicker was up for vote this year at the attraction (Jaws) and the musical won by a landslide. That was in January. A script was written by Kristi Foster and we began shooting in April...at 6:30 in the morning--as all of the work had to be done before Jaws went operational. So there were many early days, but we pulled through it. It was shot on my Sony HVR-A1U High Def camera. And capturing/editing took about...32 hours.

TPI: Did you get the okay from Universal management before you started? If not, when did they find out about it and what was the reaction?

Peterson: For the Clickers, you don't really need approval from the management. However, our manager at the time, Dan Gurwitz, was more than happy to participate (which doesn't happen that often). Really the only approval that took place was during a screening process that occurred at the deadline to submit--the manager in charge watched all the videos to make sure that there wasn't any scandalous behavior or any cursing. But besides that anything goes. Actually, most (if not all) the managers loved it! I've received comments from all over the park about how great they think it is, "The best clicker in the history of clickers", and so on. I even heard that Bob Gault (UO CEO) thought it was funny.

There has been some concern over the video by some of the management, as it has started to become more popular. So the movie might not be up on YouTube for much longer. But we'll see what happens...

[Editor's note: Seriously, Universal -- Not only should this be running on YouTube, but you ought to get a half-hour special on one of your NBC Universal cable networks showcasing the whole Golden Clicker contest. You'd have every irreverent film student in America busting your doors trying to get hired at Universal Orlando. Don't you want to beat Disney for top-quality employees? You'd win a lot of love from viewers, too. -- Robert]

TPI: Do you think that the video will help attract more visitors to Jaws? Or were you not thinking about that?

Peterson: Truthfully, I wasn't thinking about putting this up on YouTube at all...but it was suggested and sounded like a great idea. I'm just so happy that so many of you have enjoyed it. We had such a great time making it; it's really a joy to think that 'other people' besides the Jaws crew find it funny. And as I said before, it's bringing a lot of attention to Jaws...which is good. We don't want to be closed again. I know for a lot of the other kids, working at the other attractions wasn't as fun.

TPI: What's your background? What made you want to direct a short film like this? Have you done other videos before?

Peterson: Really, film is my passion. I've been doing shorts and making stupid films since I was...11? Whatever the case, I've been making all sorts of movies, and have made many in the past. I did a lot of film work in high school with a group of friends (1337 Productions) down in my home town of Deerfield Beach, FL. I actually went into college thinking that I was going to major in film, but after experiencing the people and some of the classes in the program I changed my major...to philosophy, go figure.

What made me want to take charge of this project was because I've just been itching to get back into film again. And this opportunity just presented itself. I love theatre, and since I was such a promoter of the musical idea I felt that I would do the best job (which isn't saying that there isn't film talent at Jaws other than me...not at all! This project was just screaming for me...I had to answer).

TPI: What's next? Are you still at Universal? Do you want to get into film/video as a career? Or something else?

Peterson: As far as future endeavors: I'm still working at Jaws seasonally...hell, I've always been seasonal. But since I've been there for 2+ years, the other kids recognize me as 'old school'. I'd love to do this for a living, editing mostly (my true passion). Currently, I'm doing some freelance work: weddings, photo montages, etc. But it pays the bills. By the way if you in the Orlando area and need a cameraman, editor...nothing wrong with some shameless self-promotion (at least that's what my grandfather always says...). But that's pretty much it. I just love making films. And I'm truly thankful for all the hard work that so many of the skippers put into making the Clicker this year. Also, all of the messages that I've been getting from complete strangers about Jaws The Musical are fantastic, I appreciate it so much. Thanks again.

Replies (4)

Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: June 5, 2006 at 7:03 AM

Excellent Interview Robert!
Gareth H

Published: June 5, 2006 at 9:33 AM

This just makes Jaws even better for me now!
Chris Walton

Published: June 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM

Great job getting the inside scoop Robert! It's interesting to learn about the "Golden Clicker Awards" and some of the camaraderie that takes place within the Universal team.
Jason Lester

Published: June 5, 2006 at 7:34 PM

Great interview! The video is great and I agree Universal is crazy not to take advantage of it.

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