Saturday, February 7, 2015

Behind the Scenes

On our brief stay in LA, we toured the main Warner Brothers lot, which has been a premier media company / film studio since the early 1900s. The company was started by the four Warner Brothers in 1903, but it was made famous by a dog (Rin Tin Tin) in 1929.

We were there on a weekend, so nothing was filming, and truthfully, it sounds like much film production these days is done out of state or out of country, due to various tax incentives and locations that are offered. So the lot itself was very quiet, lacking the rush and hub-bub that I imagine on film set. 

In some respects it was very interesting, like they add gum and cracks to sidewalks, because if the sidewalks on a city street were pristine, it would look fake. But on a larger scale, it was a little disenchanting. I know TV isn't real, but I was alarmed by how funky and fake it all looked. Without the added affect of lights and props, these buildings, which are just fronts, look like just that—a broken down cutout of a deserted town that's crumbling. 

And yet, these same streets, show up everywhere...
Welcome to Anytown, USA. This "Midwest Street" transforms into any small town. By swapping out the hardware, the signage, the awnings and even the paint color, it changes towns and even spans decades. Let's take a closer look...

The Neighborhood Grocery Store....
As the Dixie Stop in Bluebell, Alabama – Hart of Dixie
and as Doose's Market in Stars Hollow, Connecticut – Gilmore Girls

The Town Square and Gazebo
The most ridiculous, eye-rolling, fact from the tour, and I still want to believe they were just messing with us... is that when they need to shoot a winter scene they pluck the leaves from the live trees, and then when they need to shoot a summer or a fall scene, they zip tie leaves of the appropriate color back on the trees. (We could actually see some strings and zip ties hanging from the empty tree branches... so this may be true). 

Bluebell Town Square - Hart of Dixie
Stars Hollow Town Square - Gilmore Girls

The School Building/City Hall
Stars Hollow High School - Gilmore Girls
 Rosewood City Hall - Pretty Little Liars

The Local Eatery
Luke's Diner - Gilmore Girls
 Apple Rose Grille - Pretty Little Liars
The interior set we toured was The Big Bang Theory, and honestly that was much more as imagined, with dollhouse style rooms set up within one warehouse. We also sat on the sofa from Central Perk from the Friends set, which is an alarmingly small set, showing how important camera angles are. 
Overall, the tour made a Hollywood set seem a bit less glamorous, and merely a bag of camera tricks. But it also made me want to go back and rewatch some of my favoirite shows and see which repeat places I can spy!

*Images for the shows were pulled from Google image search.

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