Hubellubo, Friubends! I’m Pablo! You may remember me from the PBS KIDS show, ZOOM. It’s been 21 years, and I’m so excited to re-connect with all of you for this special edition ZOOM AMA. Here’s a little about what I have been up to: Because of ZOOM, I pursued a career in entertainment, initially in front of the camera but mainly working behind the scenes in television and film production. I studied TV and film at Emerson College then spent 10 years working on a variety of productions including, A Place of Our Own / Los Niños en su Casa (PBS), FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman (PBS), Hall Pass (New Line), The Three Stooges Movie (Fox), and many others. In 2016, I produced my first feature film, Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket (Netflix). In addition to my production experience, I also worked in Visual Effects at 20th Century Fox on feature films, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Prometheus, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and many others. I also served as a development/production Executive and Producer for The Three Stooges company, C3 Entertainment, where I developed new TV and film content based on The Three Stooges and other established properties. I’m now back where it all started, WGBH Boston, working in production finance, where I oversee and manage the funding to many of WGBH’s programs. But enough about me, let’s hear from you!

Pablo explores windmill designs on an episode of ZOOM: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.zmill/exploring-windmill-design/

The history of ZOOM from the WGBH Media Library & Archives: http://openvault.wgbh.org/exhibits/zoom/article?fbclid=IwAR0uP77YwxptY8-zrJJPRyPUHHBPh4cv96g4y-YwgbXLNSFr0NOKSIaoc9Q

Pablo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pablovelezjr

Pablo on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pablovelezjr/

Proof: https://i.redd.it/yzo4g8mnw5e41.jpg

Comments: 869 • Responses: 55  • Date: 

Mr_Juanderful1215 karma

02134, I’ll never forget that zip code! Do you stay in touch with any of your former ZOOM cast mates?

wgbh_boston815 karma

Mainly through social media but we did all get together last summer for the 20th anniversary of the show airing. I was able to see people I hadn't seen in twenty years and meet ZOOMers I had never met before. We're all one big ZOOM family and I love them all.

It was a different experience for everyone but it was similar at the same time for anybody that was on the show. So, there's that connection and bond.

dreamdusk739 karma

ZOOM was our go-to after-school show (alongside Arthur) for years in elementary school! Do you ever catch yourself speaking Ubbi Dubbi at inappropriate times/places?

wgbh_boston256 karma

I'm looking forward to teaching my daughter it! As soon as you can sound out "ub" - you should be ready to go. I don't take it out of the bag unless I'm asked.

ndander3603 karma

With all the recent attention Fred Rogers has received recently I have become curious about what role public broadcasting can or should play in the lives of our kids.

What was your experience like in public broadcasting?

wgbh_boston677 karma

It was a responsibility for us to share, be authentic, and help teach. Help our audience grow and provide entertainment. Weaving those things together. You always want to make an impact. While I was on the show as a 13 year-old, you were just excited to be surrounded by lights and cameras. It was probably so successful as a show because we were just in the moment and it was the greatest experience of my life.

HoldenFinn499 karma

Holy crap! Pablo!!! Loved you on Zoom buddy. You were an integral part of my childhood. My question: How did you get started with Zoom? Was there an audition process?

wgbh_boston460 karma

Thank you! It's always nice to hear comments like that. At the time I didn't know how the show was going to be received and I'm always touched by a lot of the stories that I hear about how people were impacted by the show as kids.

ZOOM was the biggest audition I had had at the time. We had a "cattle call," about 800 kids who showed up. There were only four call-backs. We knew we were close! I went in with zero expectations. I actually just sang a song and it worked. I guess I was on key.

Softskeletonsx173 karma

What was your favorite segment to do on the show? Also do you keep in touch with any of the cast?

Zoom was one of my favorite shows as a kid. My brother and I would submit games and crafts on the PBS website, but none of them ever made it on the show. Thank you for doing this AMA!

wgbh_boston255 karma

Favorite segment was the ZOOM Playhouse. Opportunity for all the cast members to be in one segment together and take on different roles. And to turn into different characters.

On staying in touch - yep! Mostly through social media and text. On occasion, we may catch up in-person.

ericfromzoom379 karma

And sometimes we crash each other’s AMA!! In person catch ups are a little harder now that he moved back to Boston.

wgbh_boston224 karma

Nice to hear from you, Eric! Thanks for joining the ZOOM chat! Let's see how many more ZOOMers we can get in!

lilbud2000168 karma

Any interesting stories from Fetch with Ruff Ruffman? I loved that show growing up

wgbh_boston178 karma

Fetch came off of ZOOM. Animated-hybrid show. Fortunate enough to work on the production of that show and working with some of the very same people I worked with on ZOOM. Fetch we shot all over the country. ZOOM was a little more contained.

LordGwyn-n-Tonic136 karma

Do you have any juicy gossip from your ZOOM days?

Also I loved that show. Doing the crafts with my grandmother is a memory I'll always treasure and without yall I wouldn't have it.

wgbh_boston243 karma

No. We were 12 and 13 year-old's! Maybe some butterflies in the air. It's the age.

piefordays132 karma

Man. Super cool AMA. I’m excited for this!!

I loved Zoom so much when I was growing up. But unfortunately, when I talk about it to people my age they have no idea what I’m talking about. And I have no clue why. I thought Zoom was the best.

My question is: How ‘famous’ were you when you were on the show? Would kids run up to you in public?

wgbh_boston221 karma

Oh, kids absolutely ran up to me. At the mall, at the beach, at school. It was weird. I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel cool. But it could get weird. You're doing something normal like shopping. It was all love. But, you're like, really? You had to wind up the disposable camera for photos - that took time. I signed some different things. Body parts. I signed a potato chip once. That was difficult. I wasn't going to say "no" to them. I embraced it.

Pixel_JAM113 karma

I remember Caroline very well. Don’t know if you had gotten the chance to work with her?

I remember watching Arthur and in between shows they showed her story! How she was selected and surprised at school....

What was it like for you? I’m sure you remember very well what it was like getting the chance to be on TV, let alone one of the most interactive shows there was!

Did you get treated differently at school? Were you a superstar? What was it like getting to basically have fun all the time?

wgbh_boston130 karma

I didn't get treated differently. I personally didn't want to make myself different. I tried to downplay it. I just tried to be me. I didn't want to come across a certain way - as some hot-shot. I was very mindful of what people were thinking.

everythingisopposite100 karma

Did you learn how to do the crazy arm twist thing like Bernadette?

wgbh_boston121 karma

Yes. It was iconic. I actually learned it from Bernadette years later on FETCH. We still stay in touch mostly through social media. She's amazing. A wonderful person. She's an OG. Have to respect it.

AmeriMan283 karma

I use to LOVE zoom. Every Friday i would come home and watch it as I made a bed fort in preparation for TGIF. This was back when Boy Meets World was big.

What are you doing now?

wgbh_boston100 karma

I'm here at WGBH. It's hard to keep me away. It's a magical place. I now work behind-the-scenes. I'm now on the production finance end - overseeing the funding from all of the different sources that go to the various broadcast programs.

surficialgolem77 karma

Hey Pablo!

Growing up, I used to watch Zoom everyday after school! Thank you for being such a big part of my childhood.

This is a bit morbid but I remember reading that Jared was unfortunately killed in a car accident back in 2006. I remember Jared so well, he was definitely one of the best personalities in that show. Were you guys close at all? What kind of impact did that loss have on you?

I’m so glad to see you continuing your passion for film and the arts! You should do a zoom reunion episode on YouTube!

wgbh_boston137 karma

Jared and I were very close. We carpooled to set when we were on the show because he lived 15-20 minutes away. We had a close, special friendship. His loss was felt by everyone. And I'm grateful that we got to share a very special experience together.

fakedickie5675 karma

OMG! I loved watching your show with my sister. We used to sing the zoom song all the time. Our favorite segment was the cooking show. Do you remember those? and did you have a favorite recipe?

Also, I know people say this and it can be cheesy but to see someone that had similar looks to myself on a show like zoom was awesome. Thanks for all the great memories!!

wgbh_boston97 karma

I do remember them! My favorite moment from a Cafe Zoom segment was actually about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Which sounds basic but there was a twist. Jared would literally follow our instructions for how to make it. Pretty comical.

ToxicFrost58 karma

I always remember Ubbi Dubbi from Zoom.

Was that a challenge to remember those lines when you did Ubbi Dubbi?

wgbh_boston77 karma

I hadn't heard of it. We had a crash course in it. It wasn't a full day but a few hour of Ubbi Dubbi training. Even throughout the show we were trying to figure it out. But I think we did OK.

pooksmcgoo53 karma

Hi Pablo, do you remember Arthur st. as kids? I was your neighbor. We were pretty good friends. What a crazy AMA to stumble on for me lol

wgbh_boston49 karma

Wow, blast from the past! Hi neighbor! Of course I remember Arthur St.

Tis_A_Fine_Barn52 karma

Pablo, I always thought you were the coolest one of the bunch. As a weird little kid who latched onto weird things, I want you to know that in order to emulate your coolness, I was constantly doing the little hand things that you did in your intro.

Has anyone else ever told you that they appreciated your hand gestures? Any other weird things people have told you about from your time on Zoom?

Also a third question, are you still the coolest?

wgbh_boston47 karma

That's awesome. I usually get "Can you do the rap?" and "Can you do the hand gesture?" I learned it from an audio guy on the show. I added a little spin and touch to it. I'm glad you found it cool. Shout-out to Kevin the audio guy! He was from LA and surfed. So it was a wave.

Jackieboyblue47 karma

Did you have any training as an actor before you were on the show? If so how does it compare to acting training as an adult? (that is is lf you are still acting).

wgbh_boston90 karma

While at the time I was pursuing acting, ZOOM was really just looking for real kids. No script, no persona, no character that I had to be. Who you saw was me! Personally, however, I had taken acting classes leading up to ZOOM. Role-playing, projecting, and I guess that's why I loved the ZOOM Playhouse. It allowed me to exercise those creative muscles. Later on in life, the only other acting I did was high school plays and musicals.

BikeBikeRabies34 karma

Wow! Hi Pablo!

Zoom was one of my favorite shows growing up - we didn't have cable so I grew up on PBS shows. My question is how did the production of Zoom work? Did you guys film weekly, or a bunch at once for multiple episodes? And were you all from the Boston area?

Fun anecdote - to this day, every time I see or play with a balloon I still think about how Zoe had a latex allergy and how she had to sit out all the time.

wgbh_boston26 karma

We shot over the course of spring break and summer vacation. The show was shot in segments that were later put together into episodes.

As far as Zoe, we felt bad! We wish she could've joined in. But better safe than sorry!

kaywhyjay34 karma

Hey Pablo! Can you guess who this is? You know me.

wgbh_boston21 karma

Keiko?

mistygreenflowrz33 karma

OmAWfucking GOD!...I FUCKING LOVED THIS SHOW! me and the girls at school would have wars about who was cuter...you or the mushroom guy!...jared?...the white guy with the bowl cut?...either way im a huge fan!...i just had flashbacks of doing the activities u guys showed on there...the cooking recipes were my favorite!... i wish my sons could have experienced watching the show =[....anyways..

How was your overall experience as a latino on that show...?

wgbh_boston51 karma

I never thought about it. I was born and grew up in a culturally-diverse city. I never thought about the makeup of my friends and the show. ZOOM was really beautiful because it was a representation of society. I felt very at home. I felt very connected. Obviously, I'm proud to have been part of that representation on the show.

emenaker52932 karma

Pablo, I was obsessed with ZOOM growing up. Do you think they will ever release the episodes on DVD? Also, did ZOOM cast members have to come from the Boston area or was it just much easier for Bostonians?

wgbh_boston34 karma

They didn't have to come from the Boston area. I think it was actually a national search. Ultimately, the cast that was selected was from the New England area. Obviously, for a show that was shot in a Boston studio - it made things easier if you were from this area.

MarchKick26 karma

Do you still do any activities that came from Zoom or make a recipe from there?

wgbh_boston35 karma

The cup game! Of course. Maybe someone recognizes me at a social gathering, I'll do it. I did win on my season! I hold the belt.

wgbh_boston17 karma

I definitely don't make veggie bagels. Not part of my dinner or lunch rotation.

MarchKick21 karma

Can you convince WGBH to syndicate the show again or make a reboot? Or show the 70's ZOOM episode in full episodes again?

wgbh_boston47 karma

I hope we can find a way to bring ZOOM back. A ZOOM that works for today. And that is the crux of it - what does ZOOM look like today? Things have changed. It's why I love doing this AMA. We couldn't do that back in the 90s.

So, what would ZOOM look like today? Do you want it back? And how would you see it? What would it look like? Go ahead... We want to hear from you!!!

plaidchad19 karma

ZOOM was one of my favorite shows as a kid. They came to my elementary school to film, but I have no idea where to find the episode again. Any ideas?

Do you think the explosion of available content for kids will make PBS (kids) obsolete? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

wgbh_boston34 karma

No. If anything there is more opportunity for us to create more content because of all the new platforms to consume it.

The underlying mission that is in the DNA of our programs - to educate, to entertain, to inspire - is what separates WGBH/PBS content from other producers out there.

mimi621419 karma

Did you keep any props from the show ? And do you ever sit back and watch episodes of it ? You were my all time favorite! Loved singing the address song with your rap ! Skills !!

wgbh_boston41 karma

I don't watch it back. It's a little weird watching yourself. The only prop I still have a members-only leather jacket. I still have it. I forgot to bring/wear it for the AMA. It still fits which is also kinda weird.

mollymoo89318 karma

My favorite show! What is Zoey up to now a days?!

wgbh_boston22 karma

Not sure. I believe she's in NYC doing great things!

chocoboat17 karma

It blows my mind that it's been 20 years since I started watching ZOOM. Of course I knew it was a while ago, but... wow.

I wish I had a good question for you. I just want to say thank you to you and all of the Zoom cast and producers, I loved that show and was so disappointed when it was cancelled even though I was too old for it at that point. It looked like so much fun to be a part of and I could really tell how much you and everyone else were enjoying filming it.

I guess I'll go against the grain and ask you - was there anything unpleasant about being on Zoom? Long hours filming, annoying scenes or projects, or anything?

wgbh_boston18 karma

When I was on the show, we taped indoors. We were inside for a lot of the day. As a kid, during the summer, you want to spend time outside. So, that was tough. Eventually, we would find ourselves outside somehow. For everyone's sanity!

That changed over the years - more outside segments.

DollFace56716 karma

Why did you only do one season?

wgbh_boston30 karma

Producers ultimately decided but those of us who were a little older (13, 14) - you know, I had a mustache - they wanted to keep the age range slightly younger. We were at a time when we were growing up really fast!

ghiblifreaktbh14 karma

Is there anything that has surprised you about working in the industry on both the performing/production side? Any words of caution for someone who might be looking to get started?

wgbh_boston18 karma

It's a marathon! There is no one path. Being open. Listening to your instincts and trusting that the journey you're on will lead to where you ultimately want to end up - is what I should've told myself at the beginning. It can be confusing. Having awareness is crucial.

For surprises - just how much goes into the making of what you see. Whether it's on your phone, screen, TV, movies - there's so much that goes into it. The people that make it, promote it, pay for it.

whoisstingy13 karma

Do you prefer E-mail or Z-mail?

wgbh_boston15 karma

E-Mail?

9lbmoustache11 karma

Pablo! You were my favorite! David was next.

My question for you: Is a hotdog considered a sandwich?

wgbh_boston16 karma

I never thought of it as a sandwich. NO. Never crossed my mind. Great Q.

VCRstillworking11 karma

Were any of the Zoom cast members dating?

wgbh_boston27 karma

Nothing official. But we were teenagers so...

shell_dorado11 karma

What’s your favorite current PBS KIDS show?

wgbh_boston46 karma

I'm a huge Arthur fan. That show is still going strong. I'm a little biased because my wife is a producer on the show. Between the nostalgic factor and my wife working on it... and it being Arthur, it's hard for me not to love.

Bobperu197610 karma

What kind of hair product do you use these days? Your hair is fire.

wgbh_boston16 karma

Sebastian Craft Clay firm hold.

DarkAvenger1210 karma

Hey Pablo! I used to watch the show all the time as a kid and remember having so much fun watching you all interact.

One somber memory from the show was watching the episode of Zoom that spoke about 9/11. What did it feel like to discuss that? Did you think about what it would mean for older kids like you guys to talk to younger kids (I was 7 when 9/11 happened) about the events? Honestly I don't recall details of the discussion, but I remember feeling like I was part of the conversation.

wgbh_boston16 karma

I wasn't part of that special ZOOM chat. But, you're right, it was done for that very reason. 9/11 impacted everyone. It was important to turn the cameras and lights back on to get the ZOOMers back out there and represent the feelings of kids at the time. To have an open discussion that was welcoming and respectful.

Sunset_Paradise9 karma

Pablo! I had such a crush on you as a kid.

If you could go back would you do Zoom again? Was it overall a positive experience or a negative experience?

wgbh_boston20 karma

100% would do it again. Changed my life. I didn't know what college was when I started the show, honestly. Hearing the dreams and ambitions of other cast members really opened my eyes. The show also opened my eyes to the world of production which I ended up pursuing as a career.

deflip9 karma

Hey Pablo! I was an intern at WGBH a couple years ago in children’s programming. On my first day, you got lunch with me and my supervisor and you showed me videos of you on ZOOM that I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. It really drove home for me how personal and full of kinship that a lot of these shows are.

Just wanted to say hi and ask:

  1. How’s the skybridge doing?
  2. What has been your most affecting memory from your time at WGBH?
  3. Would you ever consider being in front of the camera again?

Also send my regards to Deb and Sydney and the rest of the crew!

wgbh_boston4 karma

Hey! Glad you walked away with such a positive feeling.

  1. Skybridge is still holding strong.
  2. Most affecting memory is all the wonderful, life-long friendships I made through my time at WGBH.
  3. Absolutely! It’s been a while, but it would be fun to get back out there!

zerpderp8 karma

PABLO! My brother and I would always pick who we were in movies and shows, and I always picked you. Do you remember what the audition was like, and if so, what was it like when they let you know that you’d be on the show??

wgbh_boston15 karma

I didn't know what to expect going in. I was very nervous. They would pair us like you would see on the show. The producers would want to get a sense of our dynamic and chemistry together. Definitely butterflies.

When they called the house, my mother picked up, and she told me they were letting me on the show. I think I went to an entertainment/arcade place to celebrate.

Jumlee778 karma

Hey I sorta remember zoom as a kid, that’s the one with the ufo right? Anyways what’s the most exciting part about working in the film industry?

wgbh_boston13 karma

For me it's being involved in the process of putting something together to share with the masses with the hope and goal of connecting in some way. If we can go beyond that and we can create impact, even better. The collaborative nature of creating content.

loganp80008 karma

Do you think there is anything comparable to Zoom being created today?

wgbh_boston24 karma

YouTube.

Level_Cat7 karma

as a cast member, how involved were you with the content of the show? did you have any say in the activities or script?

wgbh_boston12 karma

The show was scripted only to the point that we knew the name of the kid who sent us the idea. We didn't select the game or the recipe - that was the producer's job. In working with us to rehearse it, to see if it would work for TV, they would always look to the cast's reaction before going to air with it.

TheMossbergMan7 karma

Do you like working for pbs kids?

wgbh_boston6 karma

Yes! It's fun to come to work where everyone is dedicated to making great content.

Aquaman_Rocks6 karma

How did kids get to audition for Fetch: With Ruff Ruffman? My absolute favorite show growing up!

wgbh_boston12 karma

It was one of my favorite shows to work on. Similar process to ZOOM. Just looking for real kids that could work together. You want different perspectives, different voices. They were looking for a diverse cast.

Putting the casts together - extremely difficult job. Working with kids is very tough. From a casting standpoint and a producing standpoint, it can be a challenge. Sometimes it can be finding a needle in a haystack. Kids are everywhere. It can be challenging.

hey_scooter_girl4 karma

I Googled you once to find out what happened to you! How are you doing?

wgbh_boston11 karma

I couldn't be better.

nnfl3 karma

Any advice for an actor who’s starting out? I don’t live in an area where there seems to be a lot of tv stuff, and that’s what I’m hoping to get into...

wgbh_boston6 karma

There are more opportunities now. Do your research. Get experience. If it's a student film, a local commercial, whatever it is. We have this grand idea of what the whole industry is but just get the experience first.

ShownMonk2 karma

What type of work did you do for the visual effects projects you worked on??

wgbh_boston8 karma

I worked at 20th Century FOX. The visual effects department oversaw the visual effects side of the production. We were managing that aspect of it. We made sure we were staying on budget - more from an oversight management side standpoint than design. I saw some cool stuff! X-Men!

sunreyess2 karma

What was the hardest part about being on a childrens tv show?

wgbh_boston3 karma

It was different than everyday life. There was an adjustment. There's always a fish-out-of-water situation with doing something that is new. Just like anything that is new - it is an adjustment.