Behind the Scenes at SeaWorld
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Filming the SeaWorld Sequel at Orca and Sea Lion Stadium
Have you ever had a dream come true?! The invitation to return to SeaWorld was that for me. Getting a private encounter at the majestic Orca Stadium was an unforgettable.
In March 2021 I had the privilege of partnering with SeaWorld San Antonio. The YouTube channel was in its pilot year and I was so honored to be recognized by this national corporation. Chuck Cureau, head of public relations, arranged the animal encounters (penguin and beluga whale) and hosted my team and I for our daily itinerary.
I was so touched by the level of detail and thought Chuck put into the episodes before-hand and on location. His passion for pairing education with the animals of SeaWorld was contagious. As a previous animal trainer he has a strong connection with the animals. Having worked at SeaWorld since its conception, he represents the organization's vision and mission well.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to feature more of SeaWorld's beloved animals; this time highlighting the orcas and sea lions. Getting an up close experience with both of these animals was such a memorable experience. I grew up coming to SeaWorld, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine getting to work at these stadiums! It was one of those full circle life moments.
So you may wonder, "What was is like filming the SeaWorld Sequel?"
Well, first off, it was FUN! Getting to interact with the sea lions and orcas was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Their smart whimsical personalities brought out my inner child and made me excited to learn and share the wonder of nature.
As for behind the scenes logistics, filming was fast paced. As much as I would love to spend all day with the animals, we filmed two episodes in less than two hours. We try to be very conscious about respecting the time of the animal training staff and capacity of the animals to stay engaged with the filming. The SeaWorld Sequel took twice the man-power to produce. There was a team of two trainers per episode- the trainer I was interviewing, and the trainer queueing the animals to capture the best shots and up close appearances. For each episode the animals needed a break which gave Chuck and I time to collaborate.
After we were through filming each episode, the trainers thanked me for the enrichment I had brought to the animals. They commented that books and reading to the animals provide wonderful mental simulation. Orcas can see well above and below the surface of the water enabling them to be engaged and curious about storybook pictures.
All in all, the SeaWorld Sequel was a smashing success, thanks to SeaWorld's passionate diligent animal trainers and PR team. It was a pleasure to work with Chuck and marketing coordinator, Alexandria Esquivel. I look forward to working with them next year to film a Book Days trilogy! In the meantime, Orca Stadium will kick off the 2023 season of Book Days! It's going to be an epic season!
Until next time,