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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

That’s A Wrap: Nickelodeon Concludes "Paradise Run" Film Shoot At Hilton Waikoloa Village In Hawaii

WAIKOLOA — Hawaii kids ages 11-14 have been slipping, sliding and swinging their way to victory for nearly a month as competitors on the third season of Nickelodeon's pulse-pounding Paradise Run game show!

‘Paradise Run’ show host Daniella Monet records intros Wednesday for various scenes on the Nickelodeon kids program to premiere in early 2018. (LANDRY FULLER/West Hawaii Today)

For three years running, Hilton Waikoloa Village has been the set, with 20 episodes shot around the resort that began in mid-May and ends today. Hundreds of children from the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai have competed on the show.

On Hawaii Island, contestants have come from Waikoloa, Waimea, Kohala and Honokaa, as well as Kona and Hilo. This year’s shoot, which kicked off Saturday 13th May 2017, has featured 180 contestants from throughout the state as well as stars from the hit Nickelodeon comedy series School of Rock, Game Shakers and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.

Of approximately 120 people on the crew, about 20 percent were hired locally.

The show's executive producer and creator, Scott Stone, and Director Peter Ney work from the Dolphin Quest booth at Hilton Waikoloa while shooting a pool scene last week. (LANDRY FULLER/West Hawaii Today)

“We hire as many as we can find,” Scott Stone, the show’s Executive Producer, recently told West Hawaii Today.

The story line focuses on six children split up into three teams — Team Makani, Team Nalu and Team Ahi — as they race around the 22-acre resort. At each turn, they face new obstacles on 50-foot slippery slides, man-made volcanoes, giant mud pits and football field-length zip lines, racing to the hotel’s lagoon for the ultimate prize: a paradise vacation.

Different kids compete in each episode, with two episodes filmed daily.

Some of the challenges could be training for future hotel employees, such as The Pizza Challenge — where kids had to deliver a high stack of pizzas and coconuts to hungry guests, or the Wikiwiki Express Challenge that tests who could check out of their guestroom fastest, while balancing a stack of bags and toys on a bellman’s cart.

Stone originally wrote the show for Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu, based on memories of his visit during college. But staff there suggested their sister property on the Big Island as an ideal less developed locale.

“I wrote the show for this hotel a little over four years ago,” he said. “I write Hawaii into every other show I produce.”

When the first season was shot at Hilton Waikoloa in May 2015, two Hawaii Preparatory Academy then sixth-graders, Bella Police and Alianna West-Rodrigues, were on one of the teams that competed in an episode that aired on Nickelodeon USA in early 2016. Season 3 is scheduled to premiere in early 2018.

Stone understands that guests are the top priority at resorts.

“We spend a lot of time telling our crew and the kids that we are here at a working hotel, and our job is to make sure that when we leave they feel like they had a good time watching us,” he said. “If you watch the show, you notice the kids are always saying ‘excuse me, coming through, and aloha’ because we told the Hilton that we want to be invited back.”

The shoot is also good revenue for the hotel.

“We spend millions of dollars here,” Stone said.

Daniella Monet and several of the show's producers visited Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School in late May. Some of their props will be donated to the school's theater department. COURTESY PHOTO/NICKELODEON

The casting department visits Hawaii each year about two months before shooting begins, combing schools, malls, gymnasiums and other locations to recruit potential kids to compete on the show. Each child is required to audition with a teammate.

“What’s great about kids in Hawaii is they are active, adventuresome and like to try new things,” Stone said. “They know how to paddleboard, get out in the water and swim well. They’re also some of the most polite kids I’ve ever met in my entire life, so they’re great to work with.”

The show’s host, Daniella Monet, is known for her former role as Trina Vega on the Nickelodeon hit musical comedy series Victorious. She enjoys motivating the teammates.

Episode 216 contestants Diego and Addison, Casey and Aidan, Lizzy and Mace prepare for the next "Paradise Run" challenge in a season two celebrity episode (COURTESY PHOTO/JOHN P. JOHNDON/NICKELODEON)

“I feel like a big sister. The children are excited, and it’s fun to rally them and watch them take off,” she said. “It’s funniest when the kids try to problem-solve together because they’re only 11-14 and the stakes are high. My advice to them is to keep their head up, and everyone’s a winner. They all get prizes.”

Locals and tourists have had a bonus while visiting the hotel the past few weeks.

“The visitors enjoy watching courtside,” Monet said. “During the challenges, hotel guests have even been in the pool cheering teams on, and it’s been interactive. It’s fun to include them in it.”

Each season 3 episode will begin with a new set built at the resort, a surprise for viewers.

In late May, the crew took a break from the set to visit Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School.

“We have adopted them,” Stone said. “They’re the best. We went there with Daniella, our director and some of our producers week before last, and the kids were awesome. New this year, we decided we will donate props and supplies to them when we leave.”

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