Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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USA
(West Coast)
(27 Jul 2012 - 19 Aug 2012)

Day 21

(Part 1/2)

 

Los Angeles (16 Aug 2012)

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Paramount Pictures Studio Tour, Los Angeles, California

Good Morning LA!

We are doing the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour today. We arrived early as we had used public transport but were not allowed into Paramount Pictures until 30 minutes before our tour started. There are no decent cafes nearby so we ended up hanging around the bus stop where we alighted. Posing with our favourite character (The Penguins) from Madagascar the Movie :D

 The Paramount Studio is the last major film studio still headquartered in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles today. We’re doing the 2 hour tour (conducted every half hour from 9.30am – 2pm) at a reasonable price of US$48 per person. For those interested, do note that guest must be at least 12 years old to go on the tour (aka no noisy/crying kids expected, which is a bonus for us!) For the movie buff, the another option is the Paramount Pictures VIP Studio Tour (4 1/2 hour @ US$150 per person). Do arrive at least 30 mins prior to the tour as there’s some security checks before entering Paramount Pictures. BTW, photo IDs are required for guests at the security counter, so do remember to bring your passport or driving licence along.

The Paramount Tour starts in the studio’s gift shop aka cafe (Coffee Bean) behind me.

Vance: We have got some “interesting stuff” from there, read it in later blog posts.

Each guest was given an a wireless headset so that the guide could quietly tell us about what we were seeing especially when filming are on going.

Vance: Which makes you look like a “Secret Agent” :P

 All shows that are currently being filmed are indicated on the large map above. Our guide for today is Eric. He was friendly, fun and knowledgeable about films and the history of Paramount. One of the thing we liked about this Paramount Pictures Studio Tour is the fact that the group size is kept very small – our group had only six in it – which allows for a very intimate and personalised experience. I also like the fact that all guides carry iPads to show scenes from different films that were shot on the lot as we moved along.

There’s a saying that if you touch the famous Paramount wrought iron gate (behind us), you will become famous too! Both Vance and myself touched the gate, so will Travel@HamHamFarm become famous one fine day? I certainly hope so!

The famous Paramount Theatre where movies are shown to selected audience for market testing before they are launched officially.

Vance: Staffs from Paramount also have monthly movie screens here. Perks for being a staff in the Movie Industry!

 

 

 

The famous wooden bench from the movie Forrest Gump, which was transported to Paramount after filming was completed.

Vance: There are 3 of these benches ever made. See the other ones:

http://savannahtheatre.com/forrest-gump-bus-stop-bench.html

Vans selling real food to the production crew can be commonly seen here…

Vance: These food vans look much more professional; make you want to buy from them! Much better than those found in Singapore Carparks! :S (Picture below)

(Above) Singapore Food Vans.

Credit: www.stcars.sg

We were taken over to “Lucy Park”, a small park built by Lucille Ball for her children back when that part of the studio was owned by old Desilu Productions (now part of the Paramount Studios lot). Apparently it was built as an exact replica of the backyard in Lucille’s Beverly Hills home and she built it so that she could take media photographs with her children and pretend she was at home when she was actually at work. According to our guide (Eric), Lucille Ball was a workaholic. To the side of Lucy Park is a New York apartment style facade that was apparently modeled after Lucy’s East Coast home, built for the very same purpose as the park.

Stage 1 where The Truman Show was filmed.

Movie extras getting ready for their roles.

Medical services are readily available in Paramount Studio :)

This car park is known as the ‘Blue Sky Tank’ and was used to film water scenes directly on the lot. The tank holds almost one million gallons of water and take 1 full day to fill. No more going to far off location to capture water scenes. Any water setting (beach, ocean, pond etc) can be created with this giant screen backing. We understand from the guided tour that this tank is used sparingly because it’s expensive to fill.

Vance: More here: http://www.paramountstudios.com/stages-backlots/blue-sky-tank.html

Eric explaining the rationale behind the 2 doors, one for the short actor and the other for the tall actress (so that the actor doesn’t look that short on the camera).

Vance: Think Tom Cruise vis-à-vis Nicole Kidman

Did you notice something’s missing from the above map? Incidentally, there is no Stage 13 because of the long-held superstitious belief.

The final stop on our Paramount tour was the Hollywood Sign in the above photo, which is a testament to Paramount being one of the last few remaining movie studios that’s actually located in Hollywood. Coolz!

We are pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this guided tour is. It has greatly exceeded our expectations and we’re definitely recommending this studio tour to anyone visiting LA! We didn’t see any stars but it doesn’t really matter to us. The 100 years of movie making magic was a privilege to observe and witness.

Vance: What’s visiting Hollywood without immersing into the movie-making stuff!



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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!