There's a certain kind of magic in La La Land, one unlike anywhere else in the world. Difficult to put into words but if you've spent time in the City of Angels then you'll know what I'm talking about.
Los Angeles is one of those places that just about anything can happen. It's a vibrant city bursting with ambition, talent, innovation, and it's the city our beloved A-Lister's tend to call home. Stop by Mauro's on Melrose and you may be sipping your espresso next to Sofia Richie, brunch at The Ivy on Robertson and perhaps Kim Kardashian is ordering another freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, or it may even be a night out at the infamous Chateau Marmont when Chloe Sevigny brushes by you on the patio lighting up a cigarette, leaving a trail of smoke behind her.
Landing at Tom Bradley International at LAX, the second I step out onto the tarmac it's almost like my ambition triples and my creativity spirals, I get so excited I almost start shaking. It's Los Angeles, and I'm ambitious. To me, despite all its flaws, it's perfection.
This is a city where dreams come true, where hearts are broken, and where there's a line around the block at just about every audition and casting in town. Welcome to Tinseltown.
There are ropes being pulled everywhere you go, and not just the kind of ropes that score you the lead role in an Oscar winning movie. I'm talking about ropes, literally, the ones that make our favorite movies come to life. You ever wonder how they make something look so real, when (sorry to break it to you) it's just filmed inside a studio lot?
Despite living in Los Angeles and revisiting the city numerous times, and especially in my line of work, I had never actually been to a studio lot. After some research, Google and Trip Advisor told me Warner Bros was the best in town, so on a sunny Saturday morning myself and my friend Hal made our way over to the lots in Burbank.
Our tour starts out with a welcome video by Ellen DeGeneres, presenting the past and present of Warner Bros. We're then introduced to our tour guides, ours was Jess and I'm going to be biased when I say she's the best. I swear this girl should be in front of the camera and not behind the scenes. We start our drive through the studio's backlots - a backlot is an outdoor area where large exterior sets are made and some outdoor scenes are filmed. Are you a fan of Gilmore Girls or Pretty Little Liars? We start out in Stars Hollow, which doubles as Rosewood.
A few of us wondered how they celebrated a snowy Christmas in Stars Hollow, turns out they use dehydrated mashed potato flakes for snow - partly so the actor's don't actually die if they accidentally eat some.
We drive on and make our way through Washington & New York City, a backlot that has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. It's incredible to see how the BTS crew rebuild, repaint, and redecorate each set customized to whatever is being filmed. One set that has been left untouched is from that famous scene in Spiderman, the upside down kiss with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. FYI, Tobey almost drowned on the first take so they had to stuff his nostrils with cotton and vaseline for this scene.
We cruise through the H Lot (only called that because it's where our guide Jess made eye contact with Harry Styles when he was filming Dunkirk, coming out later this year).
Next up is a different experience, we go from the backlots to the soundstages - a soundstage is a soundproof, hanger-like structure typically used for the production of television shows. Soundstages are mostly used for ongoing sitcoms, where the sets aren't constantly changing. There are two different kinds of soundstages, and we have the chance to experience both.
First, we step into the set of 2 Broke Girls, where the set up is multiple rooms, all on one level, separated by walls. So for example, the diner is directly next to Max and Caroline's apartment. This kind of a soundstage for a sitcom also allows for an audience, where they do test runs of the script to see if a scene is actually as funny as they think it will be, they do it for natural reactions before the final take is filmed.
Next, we head over to a different kind of soundstage where we walk into the home of the Foster's. The picture above looks like the home is filmed somewhere in suburbia, but it's actually inside a soundstage. This is a soundstage where a home has actually been constructed with various rooms and floors, with a garden and garage. Unlike a sitcom, The Fosters is a closed set, filmed more like a movie.
Towards the end of the tour, we stop off at the WB archives, where we get the chance to see the props and costumes from some of LA's most well known films - Harry Potter, Batman, and Suicide Squad. I even let myself get 'sorted' ... looks like I'll be joining Salazar in Slytherin.
Before we finish the tour, we drive through the lots to the prop house, the largest prop house in North America. I even get the chance to take over Donald Trump's seat for a few seconds. There are more than half a million props in this location, quite incredible if you think about it.
Our final stop on the tour is at Stage 48 - Script to Screen. This is an interactive soundstage that explores phases of the film and television production process. This is more of an insight into how Hollywood is made. This is a pretty fun experience, where we get to do everything from costume design to sitting on the couch in Central Perk from Friends, and even to holding an Oscar. I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of this was the green-screening process, I'd always wondered how it worked. We had the chance to step into the movie, literally, and experience a scene in front of the camera. I chose to sit on a broom and fly around Hogwarts, pretty fun, right?
All in all, an awesome day hanging out at Warner Bros. The tour is totally worth it, even Hal, who has lived in Los Angeles his entire life and been on the set of many movies, agreed with me that it was a fun, interactive, and adventurous experience. Thanks to our amazing tour guide Jess and Warner Bros for hosting us!
Until next time, xo