With the wildly entertaining animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous having debuted its third season earlier this week, ComingSoon reached out to executive producer Scott Kreamer. The showrunner revealed some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits about the production and even shared legendary director Steven Spielberg’s initial reaction to the show.
Here’s the plot synopsis for Season 3:
The campers uncover more details of Dr. Wu’s secret research, and must quickly take their fate into their own hands with a dangerous plan to leave Isla Nublar behind for good. But when a tropical storm delays their departure, a lethal new threat quickly closes in on the campers, placing their escape, as well as their lives, in extreme peril.
Jeff Ames: It’s crazy to think we’re already on Season 3 of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous. Initially, how did this project come about?
Scott Kreamer: Zack Stentz pitched the idea to Universal or DreamWorks. There’s always been talk over the years of doing a Jurassic Park animated series, and then I think when Zack had this idea to put kids at the forefront of the show — that was a pretty great idea — and I think everyone just sort of said, “Well, there it is, and we just took it and ran with it.”
Ames: One of the best things about the series is all the new dinosaurs you’re able to show off. How much freedom do you have to introduce and play with these creatures?
Kreamer: Well, there aren’t guard rails. There’s a list in the Universal franchise handbook — I don’t know if we’re allowed to talk about this stuff, it’s secret stuff — but there is a list somewhere of every dinosaur that could plausibly be on Isla Nublar. Some are alluded to in the films or mentioned … So, you know, it’s a pretty hefty list. That’s what we started with. We couldn’t just take any dinosaur that we came up with.
Ames: Even though the series is aimed at kids, it doesn’t shy away from the violence and you actually get to see these monsters in some pretty intense situations. What’s the secret between striking the right balance between family-friendly adventure and full-on survival horror?
Kreamer: I wish there was a secret! (Laughs) It’s sort of a balancing act. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve had great partners with DreamWorks and Universal as well as Netflix. But there been times where someone thought we were pushing it too far, and we try to go right up to that line. When Zack and I and the team from DreamWorks went in to pitch the show to Netflix, what we said was, “There’s never going to be outright gore on the show or on camera, but if this is going to feel like a Jurassic project, it has to feel like it’s in that world. The stakes have to be real.” You know, you can’t have every adult and every kid get away and dust themselves off — like, that was close! You’re not buying it. That’s what we pitched right away. People have to die, otherwise it’s not Jurassic Park.
Ames: Do you have any examples from the previous seasons in which you had to scrap a scene due to its intensity?
Kreamer: It wasn’t really taking any scenes out, but sometimes it’s adjusting the music a little bit … we’ve got those off-camera deaths where there’s a lot of screaming, and sometimes the guys over at Sound Rebels will put in some graphic sounding chewing or breaking or stuff like that. So, I would say more than not, that’s where we said, “Okay, well maybe this blood-curdling scream can stop a little earlier,” or, “Maybe that chewing of a person doesn’t need to sound quite so graphic.” I would say that that is probably the biggest thing that we do.
Ames: Are there certain dinosaurs that you would like to see in future seasons that you haven’t been able to explore yet?
Kreamer: Yeah, I’d say if we’re lucky enough to get to do future seasons there’s more dinosaur I’d love to see. Also, the legacy dinosaurs, there’s some cool ones that we, that we haven’t seen yet that I would love to see. I mean, look, at our heart, we’re all eight-year-old kids. We want to see some cool dinosaurs!
Ames: This show is packed with Easter eggs. Are there any hidden gems that fans should look out for in Season 3?
Kreamer: I like that too! In Season 3, we go to some familiar locations from previous films that fans will love. We always try to put as many Easter Eggs as we can without it feeling gratuitous or, or shoe-horned in. They’re there for people who are looking. We’re referencing all of the films. There’s a little something in there for everyone.
Ames: When you first started the series, is this where you envisioned the show heading, or have things changed based on fan reaction?
Kreamer: I’d love to say that we did it for the fans. Things of course change. At the beginning, you kind of map out a bunch of seasons and then when you get into it and start learning more about these characters. Things change, but as we have learned more about the characters and gotten deeper into the world, things have shifted here and there. But overall, I think this is the trajectory that — in broad strokes — was where we would be heading at the beginning.
Ames: Is there a chance we’ll ever see any of these characters or storylines cross over into the live-action series?
Kreamer: Well, I can tell you that there are things that happen in the series that are setting things up that will be in Jurassic World: Dominion. As far as if any of our characters will show up in a live-action film, well, I think that’d be pretty awesome. Never say never, but I don’t know if that would happen, but it’d be pretty cool if it did.
Ames: Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer on the series — did you see his reaction to Camp Cretaceous when he first saw it?
Kreamer: I wasn’t there for the first time, but right before quarantine started, Steven came to our DreamWorks campus in Glendale, California, and spoke and did an hour Q&A with everybody who works at DreamWorks. It was really cool. Then, right when that ended, I and some other people in the crew ran around and we walked Steven through everything. We walked him through the characters and then I took him upstairs to our production area and walked him around the floor, and he was into it. It was really cool. He got the characters right away.
He had really cool stories, thoughts, and questions, but also had lots of cool director questions about the percentage spent on custom lighting and that sort of thing, but he was into it and I think everybody on the crew got a big charge out of that day when he just came in and went section to section. There was one time he was walking past a monitor where one of our production coordinators had a scene up from Season 1, and the poor kid was so nervous — he couldn’t get the sound working. But Steven was wrapped, he was watching it without the sound. And then I went, “Okay, I think we might be on to something here.” So, yeah, he dug it. He asked a lot of great questions and getting his seal of approval obviously was important for me and for all of us.
Ames: What are you most excited for fans to see in this season?
Kreamer: I really like this season. Seeing the evolution of these kids coming up against threats that they have never been up against — that no one in the series or the franchise has been up against — we go to locations from past films, we go do things that we haven’t done before, we see dinosaurs we haven’t found before. I liked the season a lot. We made it very difficult for these kids again; and seeing them struggle to overcome — I think it’s action-wise, fun-wise, dinosaur-wise, and character-wise, I just really, really dig this season and I hope everyone else does too.
Recommended Reading: Jurassic Park: The Original Novel