Happy in Hollywood
SIZZLING HOT - SIZZLING HOT By Juliana Palermo () - July 24, 2005 - 12:00am
It’s not all the time that we’re given the chance to visit movie studios/networks especially in Hollywood.

Just like here in Manila, the networks are very strict when it comes to allowing visitors inside the compound.

Even some new artists are asked at the gate for IDs to get in! It must be a bit insulting for some, but I guess that’s just how the security works. However, it’s a good way to practice and have a safe environment for the artists, and to avoid crazy people walking around the studios.

I haven’t been in the business for so long, but I’ve learned quite a lot from going in and out of the studios for tapings.

I’ve noticed that the security is not very consistent. There are days when they literally harass you for ID and there are also times when, they seem lazy, and they don’t bother asking anybody anything when entering the premises.

Sorry to say, but that’s just how unstable our community is, I guess.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in Hollywood, I was lucky enough to meet Ray Cuerdo. He is the executive director of the Business Affairs Administration of Columbia Pictures. We had a meeting and discussed work there.

Ray took a break and was nice enough to take us out to lunch and take me on a little tour inside the studios. The security was very strict. They would ask you for any kind of ID and search your name in their computer to see if you’ve been scheduled to visit anyone that day.

Then they gave me a computer printed pass with my full name on it and a security code thing. It’s very interesting how they do it.

Right behind us were some kids who tried to just walk in along with me. The security lady yelled at them and said, "What do you kids think you’re doing just walking in there without a pass?"

By the time they answered, we were already a few steps ahead. When we got in there, it was so relaxing.

It looked like a park! We decided to get some Thai food for lunch, which was very delicious.

The restaurant was right behind the studios so we basically just walked there. Then I realized that next to the Thai place is my sister’s favorite Filipino restaurant, which means that Columbia Pictures is just walking distance away from where we live!

So, I thought to myself, "Hey! That’s perfect! I’ll never be late for work!" The Hollywood dream was just a walking distance away. Ha ha ha. Wishful thinking guys!

Anyway, after lunch, we returned to the studios and Ray took us around to see the different studios.

There were so many, and they were HUGE! The first thing that caught my eye was this huge mural of Spider Man, in which you’ll only find here inside their compound.

It was so big, I couldn’t help but try to climb it and see if I would qualify as Spider Woman!

As we walked through, I noticed that the strip we were walking along had shops and other stores as if it were Melrose or Hollywood.

But when I took a closer look, I saw that those shops were not real! Yes, they’re fake!

They’re actually "city facades" they use for movies. Behind those facades are offices.

I found that very cool. This place looked realistic. We went inside the editing building and we were lucky enough to sneak inside a closed door editing of Zorro Part II and this new kid film that they’ll be showing around Christmas – Zathura.

It was amazing! The editing rooms were just like movie theaters! Even the gun shots were edited to perfection!

When we walked into the other studios, we found some people building all kinds of facades.

I also learned that they have a huge area which they can fill up with water and use as a river or ocean, like what they used for Stuart Little.

The movie Panic Room was all shot inside the studio. They built the whole house inside one of the studios they had there.

Ray said that most of the movies that are able to get straight shots from different levels or rooms are usually all done inside the studios.

Then the rest of the exterior shots are taken from whichever city the story takes place. Isn’t that interesting?

I don’t think anything can ever really top Hollywood films. I don’t even want to imagine how much pressure these moviemakers have to please the world!

I was very much honored when Ray gave me the chance to explore these places. Thank you so much!

(You can e-mail me at julianapalermo@yahoo.com).

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