Last week I had the chance to go to the Warner Bros VIP Tour. With a group of people from school I went to Burbank. It was sunny; I had ‘Vanilla Bane’ and ‘Superman Salted Caramel’ ice-cream. It was a great start, and things got even better.
First we were brought into a screening room, where they showed a short movie about Warner Bros and the many films that it has created. There was The Life of Emile Zola, Casablanca, and My Fair Lady from ages past. There was our beloved Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix. And of course, there is Friends, Pretty Little Liars, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and too many other awesome works to get us excited.
We then went into a tour cart and drove around the lot. It was fairly empty, but the buildings were beautiful. Each street had a unique design. There was the older French Street, where they filmed Casablanca, the infamous Wild West Street, and the newer-looking New York Street. The tour guide told me something very interesting: scenes are not shot inside the houses, but in the stages. I asked what they used the house for, then. It turns out that there are offices inside.
All of the streets, however, are from the Western World. How on Earth do they film scenes from Asia, such as from The Last Samurai? Set decorators worked together for 18 months to dress the street to look like Japan, for 10 minutes’ worth of film reel used in the movie!
We went to the Mill Store, where they kept all of the supplies for movies. We passed the building where they made all of the furniture. We passed the room where they kept the 3D printed items. When a set decorator wants a claim on an object, he/she puts a hold tag on it. The set decorator can then see how the objects will look like by bringing them to a special room and setting it up there. Afterwards, the set dresser brought everything to the stage and set it up again.
Let’s now shift our attention to the stages. One of the stages had the Batmobiles on display. The tour guide told us that all of the vehicles were all in working order. Another had Harry Potter items, including the sorting hat (I’m a Gryffindor). We also went to the set of Friends‘ Central Perk. To read more about Friends, go here.
We went to Hanna and Spencer’s living room in Pretty Little Liars. The rooms seemed than they really are because of various tricks that create an effect called forced perspective.
For example, at the end of the corridors, the windows were smaller and placed shorter than they would have been in real life to make the corridor seem longer. Glass windows are skewed to avoid reflections. There are almost no ceilings in any scene, so that air conditioning can cool the room (with all the lights, the temperature gets very high).
We ended the day by going to the cafeteria, then to the shops. I bought t-shirts for me and my twin sister that said: I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Guess which movie had that line.
Going to the Warner Bros Tour was different from what I expected, because I truly get to see the people working behind the scenes. The movie industry really is amazing, especially the amount of detail they put in. One of my friends said that Warner Bros Studio seemed like a city of its own. I can’t agree more.