Having planned a couple of extra days to enjoy Los Angeles, I booked a ticket to visit Sony Pictures Studios Tours. Like most of the movie studio tours, they are not well advertised or marketed. Most people find out about movie studio tours from word-of-mouth or by seeking it out.
Being a big movie fan myself, it was a high priority for me to check out all the movie studio tours. (I scheduled the Paramount Movie Studio Tour for the morning but goofed up my schedule and arriving too late.)
The Sony Pictures Studios Tour located in Culver City, CA costs $28.00. You can purchase tickets online in advance (with a $2.00 fee) or simply make reservations. I did not know I could make reservations until AFTER I had bought tickets online. Because I also wanted to attend the Warner Brothers VIP Studio Tour, it was a bit of a trick to schedule 3 studio tours within a 2-day period. Because of limited availability of the Warner Brothers Deluxe Studio Tour (a 5-hour version of the WB VIP Studio Tour), I was forced to reschedule my tickets with Sony Pictures Studio Tour. Fortunately, the folks at Sony were accommodating. They were able to simply use my same ticket but schedule it for another day.
The Sony Pictures Studios Tour is a 2-hour walking tour of the old MGM Studios that Sony Pictures bought out. Underground parking is free in the visitor section of the Sony Pictures office building. One of the things you learn early in the tour is how MGM sold off so much of their backlots over the years that what they have left is much smaller than how they started.
Even with that, there is still plenty of walking to do. I recommend some comfortable walking shoes. They say that no two tours are exactly alike. They attribute this to the fact that every tour guide has a different style and the daily circumstances are such that the tour is designed to be flexible just in case the tour encounters an actual TV or movie production. If that happens, the tour obviously work around these important and well-controlled events.
On my tour, sound stages had been set on the upcoming movie “Angels & Demons” which is a prequel to the movie and book of the same name “Da Vinci Code”. We also passed by Beyonce Knowle’s trailer and the sound stages for her upcoming movie “Obsessed”.
I made my first visit to a Foley studio which is where many sound effects are created. We also visited the set and green room of “Jeopardy”. I have to say that Green Room was a bit nasty but the tour guide said it was because a party was thrown a couple of nights earlier and it had not yet been clean. The Green Room is really a green room. Apparently, green is supposed to help calm the nerves of people who will eventually go out on stage.
We walked through many interesting exterior sets that had real-life workers within the building! Apparently, the designers and architects make the insides of the buildings functional but decorate the outside in such a way to create the illusion you are in a different city or locale.
I don’t want to give the entire tour away but those were the highlights. My tour guide, Tony, is an aspiring screenwriter and seems to enjoy giving movie studio tours as he looks for his big break.
Overall, anyone who loves movies and wants to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of movie-making should check out Sony Pictures Studios Tour.