September 21, 2011

"Lost" Vacation Pictures from Chuck

In January of 2010 my wife and I made our second pilgrimage to the Buy-More store in sunny Burbank California.  I took a fair amount of pictures, but in order to be as unobtrusive as possible, a lot were snapped quickly with my iPhone and uploaded to Twitpic.  I had forgotten about this pictures until today when I clicked through a series of links until I ended up looking at some earlier "lost" pictures.

Chuck's Bedside Table
A couple of years ago, on a business trip, I learned that a business acquaintance used to work at Warner Brother's studio and still had a lot of friends there.  I mentioned that my wife and I were big fans of the show Chuck and he offered to arrange a quick tour.  Carolyn and I flew in to LA to attend a business luncheon and we stayed on for a couple nights at my acquaintance's home*.  He took us to the lot and we got a quick tour of several studios and ending up on the Buy More set.  The set was dark as they were not filming, but they turned on the lights and we got to poke around a bit, as long as we were respectful.  I was surprised that so many of the items at the Buy More were actually real.  We also saw a new set that was full of spoilers for the next season, so we refrained from taking any pictures.
Some Chuck extras at lunch

On the way out we stopped by the Big Bang Theory set, which we didn't know was filmed there at the Studio.  Our host offered to setup a future visit where we could see an episode of Chuck and Big Bang Theory getting filmed.

Two months later Carolyn and I flew into Burbank and stayed at the Burbank Marriott.  We spent the day on the set of Chuck and watched Big Bang Theory filming that night.  Although we had the chance to chat up the actors we respectfully kept our distance.  We had a great time.

We were pretty much allowed to walk around the set while the actors warmed up, chatted, and practiced a couple of lines.  It was interesting to see the stage crew go about their business setting up monitors, laying down cables, and taping marks about the set.

Carolyn and I had found a curious artifact on the set during our first visit and we were able to locate it again on this trip.  One of Chuck's crew, an Assistant Director I believe, is a fan of Kenzer & Company's Knights of the Dinner Table magazine and did a good job placing some KoDTs and HackMaster items about the set.  The placement is appropriate since Chuck is a Nerd Herder and the show's audience base is geeks, dorks, and nerds like me.

The "artifact" that I'm referring to is a simple Xbox game mock-up.  Someone had taken the HackMaster GameMaster's Guide and the Player's Handbook cover art and slipped it into the distinctive green Xbox case.  We watched Chuck trying to spot the game in the background, but we never did.  The best we could do is see some KoDTs and at one point Morgan (Joshua Gomez) has a HackMaster GameMaster Screen set up behind him for an extended shot.

Carolyn and I take our turns posing with the Xbox game and Adam Baldwin walks into her shot.  She doesn't seem too upset.

Our ability to peruse the Buy More came to a close because they were just about ready to start shooting a couple of scenes.  Someone had graciously provided us a couple of chairs in the director's area to watch the filming and see what it looks like on camera at the same time.  We watched for an hour or two while they filmed two scenes.  It was interesting how they taped the same scene multiple times with slight variations.  It was hard to tell if there was some ad-libbing going on or if the variations in the lines were actually scripted.  This was in great contrast to the taping of Big Bang Theory, which is shot with multiple cameras in pretty much one take.

*My host/acquaintance was/is affiliated strongly with my old employer and I have not spoken with him in over a year.  I would consider it impolite to identify him by name.

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