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Behind the curtain of Paramount Pictures
SiLA-JO students Jessica Wenck and Kacy Hintz at Paramount Pictures studios. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

Behind the curtain of Paramount Pictures

On Monday afternoon, the Semester in L.A. gang visited Paramount Pictures studios, which is not far from their home base at Raleigh Studios.

No offense, Raleigh, but Paramount kicks your butt.

After passing through the cream colored archways of the entrance to the studios, it felt like being transported to a different city or secret society.

The grounds were pristine and tour guides looked sharp in their sunglasses, khaki pants and black blazers. People sat outside under umbrellas as they sipped coffee and soaked in the perfect weather. Golf carts whirled around the property taking tourists to different stages as they snapped photos and hunted for celebrities of their favorite shows.

There are many shows being shot on the Paramount lot including “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “American Horror Story” and “Glee.” SiLA-JO students spotted Lea Michele, one of the stars of “Glee,” riding by on a golf cart wearing big sunglasses.

“Glee” costs about one million dollars an episode to make and has the most sets of any show, said Megan Stewart, a young tour guide at Paramount with aspirations to work in television development. She said the Paramount property covers about 65 acres, which is half the size of Warner Bros. Stewart also said there are 29 sound stages at Paramount.

The first stop on the visit was the prop warehouse.

Being inside the warehouse made a girl feel like Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City,” when she enters the secret closet at the Vogue office and discovers Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes. The warehouse looked as if a bunch of classic movies threw up their coolest props and stuck them in a shabby room. I guess that’s pretty much what did happen.

The cars, which are the most expensive objects in the warehouse, will likely be used for future films after getting a new paint job.

Check out some of the items below…

After stopping at the prop warehouse, the group visited a few of the stages and got a taste of how expensive it is to create the entertainment we love to watch on television and at the movies.

It was surreal to walk on the set built to look like New York City.  As realistic as the fake New York looked movie makers use set dressings to bring the picture even more to life.  A set dressing can be anything from a mailbox to a tree.

You get the “bare bones with the sets,” Stewart said. This is why you have to use dressings.

A tree costs about 500 dollars a day to rent.  Who said money doesn’t grow on trees?

The New York City set at Paramount Pictures.  Houses designed to look like Brooklyn's brownstones. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

The New York City set at Paramount Pictures. Houses designed to look like Brooklyn’s brownstones. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

As the tour continued, the group discovered some fun information you may not know about Paramount Pictures and the entertainment industry.

For example, Stewart told us actor Tom Cruise’s contract requests when he is filmed walking closely next to a woman the woman must put her head on his shoulder and hold his arm, so she is hunched over and looks small next to his small stature.  Stewart said this may sound strange but is common with male actors.

Here is more fun information you may not know.

The bench actor Tom Hanks sat on when he starred in the film “Forrest Gump,” is on the Paramount grounds.

Stewart said Hanks has sat on the bench while at Paramount and handed out chocolates to fans passing by.

Bench from the film "Forrest Gump," starring Tom Hanks. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

Bench from the film “Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

Do you have big Hollywood dreams? Rub the iron gate at Paramount Pictures.  Stewart said it brings good luck and will make your dreams come true.

Rubbing the iron gates at Paramount Pictures is said to bring good luck. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

Rubbing the iron gates at Paramount Pictures is said to bring good luck. (photo by Sydney Lawson

And speaking of Hollywood, Stewart said Paramount is the only studio where you can see the Hollywood sign in the background.

View of Paramount Pictures property with the very distant Hollywood sign in the back. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

View of Paramount Pictures property with the very distant Hollywood sign in the back. (photo by Sydney Lawson)

That’s it for today’s journey. Check back soon for the next adventure!

About Sydney Lawson

Sydney Lawson's passion for television began after college when she was a national spokesperson for the Got Milk? Campaign and she hopes to have a career in broadcast journalism covering features and entertainment.

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