One of the highlights of our stay in LA was our tour of the Warner Bros. studio, in Burbank.

The studio is a working one, and is currently used to film various different shows: they run various tours throughout the day, but we got super-lucky with this… My friend Erik’s dad is currently producing a show on the Warners lot, and he kindly arranged a private tour for us, which was just… there are no words. (She says, knowing she’s probably about to write at least 2,000 words.) Seriously, it was absolutely AMAZING, in the kind of way that, a few days later you’ll suddenly stop what you’re doing, and be all, “Can you BELIEVE we actually got to SEE that?!” Yeah. It was like that.

Unfortunately YOU won’t get to see all of it, because I was so busy taking it all in that I kept forgetting to take photos (Terry does have a video, though, which will probably surface at some point. Unless it contains really unflattering shots of me, obviously, which it probably will, and then that sucker will never see the light of day. But anyway!), but we started off with a drive through the lot, and our first stop was the building currently being used as Rosewood High School in Pretty Little Liars:

Rosewood High School, Pretty Little Liars

If you’ve ever been obsessed with James Dean (and I know I have…), you might also recognise this as the police station from Rebel Without a Cause, but, as with most of the buildings on the lot, it’s been used in too many different shows and movies to list. Or even remember for that matter. If that building could talk, it would be all, “WHO EVEN AM I, SRSLY?”

After that, we passed through “New York”: this is another street that’s been used in EVERYTHING, really, but it was most interesting to us as the location for most of the outdoor scenes from Friends:

New York street at Warner Bros studios, Burbank, California

New York street at Warner Bros studios, Burbank, California

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Warner Bros. Studio, Burbank, California

Speaking of Friends:

On the 'Friends' couch at Warner Bros studio

I’d always known that if/when I ever got to sit on the Friends couch, I’d probably be a sweaty, dishevelled mess, and also wearing an outfit that, in retrospect, I really hated. What I HADN’T guessed, however, was that Terry would be looking like an axe murder: unexpected!

Anyway, we got back in our cart, and continued on our way, past the many sound stages, and man, if THOSE sets could talk, that would REALLY be worth hearing. SO many shows have either been filmed there or are still being filmed there, and, hicks that we are, we got stupidly excited at the sight of things like this:

Ellen's parking spot

It’s Ellen’s parking spot! Where Ellen parks her car! Like, Ellen has totally walked over that ground, can you EVEN?

(Yeah, I was like that AAAALLLL day. Still am, actually.)

As we drove past the building which Pretty Little Liars is currently filming in, however, we noticed that the door was ajar. This is where NOT being part of an official tour came in handy, because, much to my excitement, we walked through the door, ran down some dark corridors, and…

The Brew set from Pretty Little Liars

Rosewood coffee

… found ourselves in The Brew from Pretty Little Liars! Which totally didn’t look like it does on the show, by the way: I always knew there was a lot of trickery involved in the filming of TV shows and movies, but it was absolutely fascinating to see the set, particularly given that it’s a show we actually watch. (“I just watch it because Amber likes it,” Terry kept insisting, but all I have to say to that is YEAH, RIGHT, Terry. Like I didn’t see you on the edge of your seat at the end of last season!)

From there, we headed over to the Warner Bros. museum, which currently houses Batman and Harry Potter exhibitions: LOVED seeing all of the costumes and props from the Harry Potter movies, and I was particularly happy when the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor. (“Aha, another Weasley!” it commented, and I honest-to-God spent the next five minutes wondering how on earth the hat KNEW I was a redhead. Like, was the hat REAL?) (The answer is YES, people. Yes, it is. Proof of this came when it put Terry into Hufflepuff. He’s SUCH a Hufflepuff, don’t you think?)

costumes from Harry Potter

As amazing as all of this was, though, the absolute best part came at the very end of our tour, when we were allowed into the set of The Ranch, which is the show Erik’s dad is currently working on, and the reason we were all there. The Ranch will air on Netflix this coming January, and I can already tell the viewing figures will be really high in Scotland, because I for one will be watching it on repeat, oh yes I will. The show actually started filmed the day we left LA, (which will probably turn out to be the biggest disappointment of my life, by the way: if we’d left just ONE day later, we could’ve been in the audience – GAH.) so they were still busy building the set when we visited. We couldn’t take photos, obviously, but it was – and I’m aware I’m over-using this word, but it’s the only one that works – AMAZING (Like, ALL CAPS AMAZING) to see it.

Interestingly, although this set wasn’t quite finished, it was much more what I’d imagined a TV set would look like than the Pretty Little Liars one, and I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like on camera. We had the opportunity to talk to quite a few members of the crew, including the set designer, who was also responsible for creating the Friends set. Now,  Terry and I are huge fans of Friends, and because it’s basically always on TV, we watch at least a few episodes most weeks, so meeting the man who came up with THAT picture-frame peep hole was a bit like meeting God as far as we were concerned. Although they were just a few days away from filming, and presumably under a lot of pressure, everyone we met was so nice, and we were really grateful for the time they spent talking to a random bunch of strangers. (I was also really grateful to make it out of there without breaking anything, but, you know, that’s just me…)

As I said, the show will air in January, and basically the only way you’re going to get me to bring this post to an end is if you all promise to watch it. Deal? If not, I’ll just keep on typing forever, and you know I can do it, too. On a serious note, we had a really fantastic day, and were incredibly lucky to get such a fascinating insight into TV production. It gave me a whole new level of appreciation, not just for the actors, who are the people who typically get lauded for the shows they work on, but for everyone behind the scenes: from the writers to the set designers and production staff, and everyone in between. I think a lot of people, when they think of Hollywood, think of movie stars and glamour, but there’s so much creativity and hard work that goes into every single production that it left me totally in awe: and pretty glad I only have a blog to worry about, to be completely honest.

Oh, and I’m not joking about making you all watch The Ranch, by the way…

4 Comments
  1. Another great account of a fab holiday! I will watch The Ranch, on your insistence! Looking forward to it. Lol! x

  2. Oh wow, jealous! That is such an amazing experience. It stupidly never occurred to me before that the same buildings might be used again and again in films. Which, considering I use the same locations again and again in my blog photos, is pretty dim 😉

  3. We once were right outside the Warner Bros. Studio but didn’t go on a tour for numerous reasons, one being that the kid was quite young at the time. It’s going on my list!

    BTW, I really like the outfit you wore!

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