During the Thor Ragnarok event, Disney set up an amazing breakfast and interview with Executive Producer Chris Nee from Disney Junior Vampirina. This was my first time watching Vampirina and I have to say it is so cute! The opening song is way too catchy and I was singing it all day long. LOL!
We started the event by watching two episodes of Vampirina and I was so impressed with the life messages the show conveys without them being super in your face. The show gently teaches kids and adults life lessons in a fun and humorous way.
This is a great show for the entire family to watch together. The two episodes that we viewed are:
“The Ghoul Girls” – Vampirina’s favorite band, The Scream Girls, comes to stay at the Scare B&B and help Vee and her friends overcome their stage fright.
“Game Night” – Vee invites her friends over for a family game night and teaches them some of her favorite Transylvania games.
Here is a peek at the show
Don’t get a case of the batty’s make sure you watch the show!
Here is a bit more about Chris Nee:
Peabody, Humanitas and Emmy Award-winner Chris Nee is the executive producer of Disney Junior’s upcoming animated series, “Vampirina,” about a young vampire girl who faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town when her family moves from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.
She is also the creator and executive producer of Disney Junior’s acclaimed animated series “Doc McStuffins,” which tells the story of a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom and runs a clinic for stuffed animals and toys. She created the show after witnessing her young son’s anxiety about going to the doctor and deciding to come up with an idea for a show that could help make the process of going to the doctor less scary for kids.
As you can see Chris Nee knows her stuff and is the perfect executive producer to bring Vampirina into our lives.
Question for Chris: What’s your secret to writing or crafting shows that both adults and children enjoy? Because I know when I was growing up I don’t remember my parents really enjoying the shows that we watched as much as I enjoy my daughter watching Disney Junior.
Chris Nee: I would say that I think it’s incredibly important because what I really want to do is bring families together to watch shows. And I think those shows that so actively sort of alienate the parents really create the separation in the enjoyment. For me, for whatever reason, I have a great ability to remember what it felt like to be a kid and that’s obviously what I’ve tapped into for twenty years working in kids TV.
I think one of my secrets is often when you ask someone who works in kids TV exclusively, who are you writing for they’ll say, ‘the kids.’ And I know that’s the right answer, but I’m writing for myself. I’m trying to make myself laugh and I’m trying to work out my own stuff and remember my own childhood and remember those feelings and write the world that I hope we can live in, but I’m really writing for myself. I’m also a mom so, I certainly know what it’s like to want your kid to watch shows that the music is something you can stand ’cause you’re gonna watch it a lot.
And you know, maybe there’s a couple of jokes for you, but everything needs to work for the kids first. But, if I give you guys something that’ll make you laugh along the way, I think it’s a great way to kind of make it a universal experience.
Question: If you’re writing for yourself, which character are you relating with the most?
Chris: Well, you asked that in a way I can answer ’cause often it’s, ‘what’s your favorite character?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not crazy. You don’t name your favorite kid.’ I will say I really love Gregoria. Gregoria and Demi I added to the cast because, obviously the books are such a huge inspiration, but there’s a lot that’s not there in terms of building out a world that you can tell X amount of stories every week. I really wanted the comic relief and I really like the intense specificity of character and you can see that on Doc [McStuffins] where everyone’s really solidly who they are.
I wrote Gregoria for Wanda [Sykes] having no idea she would say yes. That character was the biggest leap of faith because she’s a very cantankerous character for a preschool show. There were moments where I had to say, ‘I promise you it works in my head, it works in my head.’ It’s gonna be her with this voice and Wanda’s voice is Wanda’s voice. And there’s no missing that–.’
The character works for me and I have so much fun writing her. And Demi is delightful to write for and then Vee for me is, I’m always writing my own experience through her. And we got so lucky with Isabella [Crovetti], I mean, can we talk about her singing voice?
The songs you’re hearing now, she was probably eleven years old when she first came in to sing the songs that are coming out now. The first time we actually worked with her she came to a big recording studio where there were orchestras and some of the greatest albums you’ve ever listened to recorded there. And she walked into the middle of it and she actually stopped and said, ‘I need to warm up.’ And I was like, ‘oh this kid’s a pro.’
Like, in a good way and then she just opened her mouth and we could have taken the first take. She’s a Broadway level singer who happens to live in LA and we get to take advantage of that. Obviously, I really like Broadway and I put a lot of music in my series.
Q: We saw on Twitter that you said Mister Gore, the teacher in Vamprinia was one of your own teachers.
Chris: Yes, he’s my own teacher.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about him?
Chris: I would love to tell you about Mister Gore. He’s actually kind of different from the character here. So, Mister Gore was my sixth-grade teacher and he was a Korean War vet and he actually had a plate in his head and he was the guy who always wore the three-piece suit. So while everyone else, it was, you know, I won’t age myself exactly but it was the nineteen seventies and all the male teachers had the handlebar mustaches and flared pants, and then there was Mister Gore in a three-piece suit and he scared the bejesus out of me.
Every grade from Kindergarten up through Fifth Grade you were terrified of the day that you opened up and found out you had Mister Gore, you were like, ‘oh my god, no.’ But every single one of us would say he was one of the greatest teachers I ever had in my entire life from beginning to end. He just asked so much of us and he knew we could do things that we didn’t know we could do. He was an incredible teacher, so anyway, his name was specific and I’ve actually tried to use him a couple times and the fact that I could make a teacher who was named Mister Gore, even though this Mister Gore is sort of a different version.
There was nothing funny about Mister Gore. I think he was secretly funny but not a funny guy but an amazing teacher. So, I was really happy to get to do that and I’ve been hearing from people I went to elementary school. Yes, he’s named Mister Gore for a reason.
Chris: For me what the show is, it feels very 2017 to me. It is a show where we say, ‘she is different and sometimes that’s hard to be friends with.’ We’re not saying that she isn’t different, we aren’t saying that everybody’s exactly the same and there’s never stuff isn’t being conveyed as a conflict because we’re coming from different perspectives. In fact, we’re saying that’s exactly what this is and yet you can still be friends, it’s important to be friends, it’s important to see each other from your perspective.
Thank you because there was a period where there were people who were like, ‘is she whiny?’ And I was like, ‘she’s all of us.’ And Poppy’s such a great character ’cause she’s such a good friend but it’s Bridget who struggles every single time and yet she loves her friend, so she’s gonna keep facing the stuff that’s hard for her to get there. And you know, honestly, we need a little more of that in this world, facing the stuff that is different. We have a huge country that’s really different.
And maybe the only way that we’re gonna get someplace is to say, ‘you’re different from me but let’s hear each other and I still want to be your friend through it. We can still find common ground, and I think for me, that’s what this show is.
Different is acceptable. That’s exactly right, so we’re leaning into the difference and then frankly as a writer you get to have a lot of fun with skeletons
Make sure and tune in to Disney Junior and watch Vampirina as a family! Trust me you will love it!
VAMPIRINA (Mondays and Fridays on Disney Junior)