So what’s it like to be on a film set? I had the opportunity to find out last fall when I visited the set of Dolphin Tale in Clearwater, Florida.

Made by the filmmakers of The Blind Side, Dolphin Tale isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until the first day of autumn, September 23, 2011. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a sneak peek at how and why this special movie is being made.

Starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd, the inspirational film is based on the true story of Winter, an injured young dolphin that was found in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral, Florida in December 2005. Most dolphins don’t survive this type of trauma, but Winter (named for the season in which she was found and then rehabbed) beat the odds and animal experts’ expectations when she was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

There, “the dolphin that could” learned to swim without a tail (it had been so badly damaged that it eventually fell off after she was rescued and arrived at the aquarium). Soon, a leading human prosthetics company stepped in and offered to develop a prosthetic tail and special gel sleeve (now known as “Winter’s gel") that would enable Winter to swim like other dolphins (up and down as opposed to side to side) and ensure less curvature of her spine.

Alcon Entertainment Producer Richard Ingber first saw Winter’s inspirational story being told in a segment on NBC's The Today Show and marveled at how one dolphin was now inspiring the war veterans, children with special needs and others without limbs who were coming to visit her at the aquarium each week. All who encountered this dolphin left with the hope that they could still lead productive and prosperous lives as well. Just like Winter.

The rest is moviemaking history. And with the production now wrapped, and the film being given its final touches before theatrical release, it’s a good time to whet our appetites for what we’ll be seeing on the big screen this coming autumn.

So without further ado, I invite you to go behind the scenes of my Dolphin Tale film set visit and learn more about this amazing creature and her special outreach to others as will be depicted on-screen on September 23, 2011. 

Click here to read my report.