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Hungry for Hollywood – Experiencing a Live Taping

Hungry for Hollywood – Experiencing a Live Taping
September 23
08:00 2015
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Under a Spell(ing)

Despite all the negative things we had heard about Los Angeles prior to our trip, we had just spent the most amazing few days here. Not only had we been enjoying its famous shopping opportunities, but also the amazing beaches, canyons and views of its surrounding areas. Before travelling back home tomorrow, LA had one final treat in store for us. We would be in the audience of a sitcom filmed at CBS studios.

Have you ever wondered why you only ever see the same three walls of the Huxtable’s, Bundy’s or Geller’s living rooms? The disappointing answer is that they do not have a fourth wall! Sitcoms are filmed on so-called sound stages. Their sets are assembled in big warehouse-like buildings, cameras are positioned in front of them and a small audience takes the seats behind these cameras. That is also why people are usually wrong when they complain about ‘fake laughter’ in sitcoms such as Who’s the Boss, Friends or How I Met Your Mother. Usually this laughter is actually real and sitcom actors do not only have to perform in front of the cameras but also a live audience at the same time.

What better way to finish off our visit to the City of Dreams than being this close to some of its stars? The best part is that tickets to the shows are actually free! They become available about one month before the recording date on www.tvtickets.com. In preparation for our trip, we made sure to check out their 30-day schedule regularly in order to find out what shows would tape during our stay and book our tickets. Very popular sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory sell out within seconds, so you will have to be very lucky to get in. However, there are usually plenty of new, lesser-known shows to choose from and how cool would it have been to say that you were on the set of Friends before it became a worldwide phenomenon? We eventually booked into a show called Mystery Girls starring Tori Spelling. The flip side of these tickets being free is that studios overbook every show to avoid empty seats. It is advised to be there at least 90 minutes before for a good chance to make it in.

los angeles

With this being our final day in the country and the weather gods blessing us with perfect sunshine, we found it difficult to leave Santa Monica beach to get ready for the night. LA traffic delayed us further and we arrived at the studio later than planned. As instructed, we left all cameras and mobile phones in the car (photos or videos are not allowed here), went through a friendly security check and took our place in the queue. Slowly, we moved closer to the front of the line and eventually the last couple right ahead of us got a lift to the studio in a golf cart … very Hollywood! Everyone behind us was now sent home but there still seemed to be hope for us. With only 15 minutes left until the start of the show, staff told us that unfortunately, there were no more seats left, except those reserved for Tori Spelling’s family, who had not showed up still. The ladies who worked here were very friendly and said they would wait until the start of the show to see if we could maybe get these front-row VIP seats (´They never let us know when they don´t show up´). Unfortunately, we were not that lucky and the Spelling clan eventually arrived. The good news is that we received a special ticket that was valid for life and would guarantee us entry to the next studio recording we booked into. With this being our final night on the continent, that did not seem like much of a consolation. Suddenly plan-less, we decided to pay a sneaky visit to the Kardashian House around the corner in Studio City and then headed to Griffith Park observatory for an unforgettable view of the Hollywood sign and the LA skyline at sunset. We did miss out on Mystery Girls but our final night turned out to be special regardless.

Middle Aged & Hungry

Back home, we put our ‘special ticket’ in a safe place ‘just in case’. Little did we know we would get married in California a year later and return to LA as part of our honeymoon!

This time, we booked into a show at Warner Bros Studios, which ended up being cancelled a few weeks prior, but instead another taping became available for a series called Young & Hungry. The show seemed right up our street and was produced at CBS studios, which we were already familiar with.

We decided to live on the edge and not use our ‘special ticket’ this time (you never know what we might need it for in years to come…) and just showed up in good time. We skipped lunch, planning to grab a snack at the studio instead. After waiting in the car at the gates for a few minutes, we were granted access to the studios and made the familiar way back through security. ‘Everybody in this area will get into the show tonight’ we were told! YESSS! As it turned out, we did not have any time to eat, which concerned us slightly, as we knew that these recordings could go on for quite a few hours. We were assured that pizza would be served during the show though, which made us even more excited about the whole thing.

pizza

The evening was a blast! A comedian kept us entertained before the show and in between takes, taking advantage of various audience members. Though slightly x-rated, he was fantastic and there was not a dull moment during the 4-hour recording. It was exciting to see the set (so much smaller than they look on TV!), the lights and the cameras and to be so close to the actors, watching them work. The writers were also inspiring, huddling in between takes, quickly re-writing jokes that they thought did not get enough of an audience reaction. Three hours had now passed and Nigel commented that the show should actually be called Middle Aged & Starving so a deep sense of relief washed over us when we saw the pizza boxes arrive. This joy was short-lived as we realized that not only had we to share our pizza, but the motto was ‘take one slice and pass it on’. Seriously? Wasn’t this America??? The snack just about kept us alive until around 9pm, when we finally heard ‘It’s a wrap!’ and we dashed off to consume vast quantities of food – aka a standard-sized American meal.

Young & Hungry offered us an unforgettable experience and if you are planning a trip to Los Angeles, you should also take this unique and free opportunity to really experience Hollywood at its best!

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About Author

Martha and Nigel - BayBreezin'

Martha and Nigel - BayBreezin'

Martha and Nigel are an international couple who live in beautiful Northern Ireland. Martha is German, Nigel is 100% Norn’ Irish and they met when Martha spent a summer working in Sweden, a country they share a love for. After several trips to London, Germany and Prague together, Martha finally settled in Northern Ireland in 2010. They have since travelled large parts of Scandinavia, the US and Ireland together, as well as Portugal and Spain. Nigel has developed into a real travel expert, always finding the best deals, routes and places to stay. They got married on the Beach of Coronado Island in May 2015.

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