Los Angeles Trip for Media, Film and Communication and Culture Students
After months of planning and preparation, the Media, Film and Communication and Culture department finally set out on a 5- day trip to Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Mr Woods, Miss Ransom and Mr Redrup, accompanied by 24 impeccably behaved students, embarked upon the trip of a lifetime…
After a gloomy arrival in UK-style rain, the famous LA sunshine was out in full force for our first day of sightseeing and shopping. Highlights included the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held (no celebs spotted but we did get to see the Theatre being transformed for the Oscars night). The Hollywood sign was constantly in view, particularly when we stopped for an impromptu photo shoot on the ‘casting couch’ in the Hollywood and Highland shopping center.
With grumbling stomachs, we stopped for a late lunch at the most iconic meeting point in all of Los Angeles, the Farmers’ Market, where we sampled the eclectic cuisine on offer. As the day wore on the students started to feel dollar bills burning holes in their pockets so we allowed them to shop at the fabulous Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Abercrombie was bled dry; perhaps because the bags are used as currency in a Collingwood playground!
Our second day revolved around one thing: film. We started at Universal, where staff from the New York Film Academy gave us a private guided tour of the back lot and sound stages. There were too many highlights to mention them all, but the working set from the War of The Worlds plane crash was truly mesmerising. However it was The Grinch set that seemed to get the most “wows, ooohs and aahs” in my minibus. The New York Film Academy was also kind enough to give us a seminar on digital cinematography, in particular lighting techniques which, for our technically-minded students, was incredibly useful.
From there, we moved on to Sony Pictures Studio, famous for many films including The Wizard of Oz and Men In Black. We enjoyed a back lot walking tour, where we were lucky enough to stand in the sound stage where the most famous movie soundtracks are recorded live and visit a fully operational foley room (where sound effects are created). We also briefly sat in the audience seating for the iconic TV show Jeopardy, amongst many other American game shows. The students found the tour liberating and eye opening as they discovered many hidden secrets behind the ‘magic’ of cinema.
Our third day took us to the much-anticipated theme park in Universal Studios, a truly enjoyable experience that allowed the students to have some free time and fun. The highlight for me was the studio tour which included a 360 3-D King Kong experience that had us all on the edge of our seats. An actor playing Norman Bates from ‘Psycho’ purposefully scaring one of our students was also particularly funny (for everyone else that is).
Our last day was always going to include some serious retail therapy as we were all keen to grab a bargain Stateside, but we also found time to mix culture with clothing with a visit to Olvera Street in the Mexican quarters in the morning. This is the street where LA was founded and it hosts a mini market daily selling all sorts of Spanish inspired clothing and food. Some spectacular views were also seen at our trip to City Hall.
Our sightseeing continued in Santa Monica as we went to the pier, the beautiful beach and dipped our toes in the Pacific Ocean. Many of us sampled the giant sized portions of ice cream, others just sat and relaxed in the sunshine. We continued onto Venice Beach, another iconic location for films and celebrity spotting; a diverse and bustling area, it gave the students an opportunity to witness some of the ‘real’ LA. We still found time to shoot some hoops on the courts made famous by many films and relax as the sun set on our final day in Hollywood.
We arrived back in England tired but incredibly happy at what was ultimately a fantastic experience had by all.
The Collingwood students did themselves proud and were a fantastic bunch to spend time with
Mr O Woods
Media, Film, Communications & Culture Dept