Saturday, July 17, 2010

GRAMMY® Campers Left With Lasting Memories At Fox Studios By Dertrick Winn

Welcome to Fox Studios, a 50-acre powerhouse of television and film productions; a place usually alive with busy actors and filmmakers. But this time around, actors are on vacation and filmmakers are making reservations to work at Fox on film projects scheduled five years into the future. It’s a shame we weren’t allowed to have cameras, for there was a large variety of visually stimulating artifacts to capture, from 200-foot murals and brightly painted buildings, to cactus plants and elephant shaped bushes, and that was before we even entered the studios.

The first stop on the tour of this massive community was the set of the critically acclaimed television show Lie To Me, one of Fox’s many television productions. It being the first building we saw after entering the premises, it was like entering another world, one much more dark and eerie than the beautiful open skies of Los Angeles. It was a narrow pathway of filled bookshelves and empty chairs . Very creepy, yet somehow fascinating. “Don’t touch anything,” says Robert Peterson, our gracious tour guide, and the directive manager of the Fox Studios in Los Angeles, who silently led us from one eerie set to another. Dead ahead was the set of Bones, a crime drama involving human remains and murder mysteries. Though fascination filled the room, fortunately, nobody touched anything.

The next part of the tour was introduced by a 96-channel audio mixer, complete with all the bells and whistles. Several Campers were amazed to see a fine piece of audio equipment, one which held a purpose for something far more fascinating. The small audio room opened up to a grand acoustic room where mics and headphones were strategically placed above black chairs positioned in the orchestral manner. This, the room of musicians soon realized, was a scoring stage. But not just any old scoring stage. We were standing on the stage where the billion dollar movie Avatar was scored, along with other award winning films, such as the Matrix trilogy, Wal-E and many more. Upon receiving this information the room was buzzing with excited whispers and hopes of a second visit.

Next was the Foley stage, which, to the unknowing observer, looks like a room full of junk: wooden pallets and crash test dummies on the floor. Mounds of old dishes and rags stacked high. A dirty fridge topped by opened cereal boxes? What use could this room possibly have to Fox Studios? Believe it or not, it’s one of the most important rooms in the film industry.

Named after Jack Foley, a cartoonist gone film industry icon, The Foley stage is the place where sounds are created and recorded to be used as the soundtrack of sound effects for an entire movie. Whether it be the sound of a pen dropping or a nine millimeter pistol firing, this Foley stage was equipped with everything you needed to create any earthly sound imaginable.

We took a quick detour through the wardrobe division, which was more like a warehouse of both new and reused garments, all that have been worn by the actors at the studios, and we exited through the woodshop, home of all the studios carving and woodcutting needs.

As we were escorted back to the buses, we were waved off by the Simpsons, vividly painted on the front of a huge building, right across from a colossal mural of Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell on the cover of the popular 1930s movie, The 7 Year Itch. The images seen at Fox Studios in Los Angeles will not soon be forgotten by the young GRAMMY® Campers.

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