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Discussion Starter · #1 ·




Hi! These are the pictures and videos I’ve recorded on my trip the United States of America, one month ago. Definitely a unique and quite interesting country. The 2 main goals of the trip were clear from the beginning: the first one, to go and get to know the Major Studios in Los Angeles (I am a film director). The second one was more like a dream and a big question I wanted to answer: How did a colony of an empire became such an important country with such a huge impact in the world, especially in one of the most intense centuries of the human kind? That and more in this thread. Hope you like it.

I’m gonna be posting these, in this order:


1) Ezeiza Airport (Argentina) & US Airports (Miami and LA)
2) Los Angeles: Hollywood
3) Los Angeles: Major Studios (Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, and Paramount)
4) Los Angeles: Venice & Santa Monica Beach
5) Downtown Los Angeles
6) Los Angeles Overview
7) Traveling to San Francisco & Fort Mason
8) San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, and Lombard Street
9) San Francisco: Downtown, Chinatown, and Cablecars
10) San Francisco: Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, and Sausalito
11) San Francisco Overview
12) Airports of San Francisco & New York City
13) NYC: Times Square, Midtown, and Central Park
14) NYC: Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and Grand Central Terminal
15) NYC: Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, and New World Trade Center
16) NYC: Museums
17) New York City Overview
18) Boston: Downtown, North End, and Charlestown
19) Boston: Beacon Hill & Overview of the city
20) Washington DC: Museums
21) Washington DC: City Overview
22) Overview of the USA
23) Extras



Map of the trip:


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1) AIRPORTS: EZEIZA (ARGENTINA), MIAMI, AND LOS ANGELES



The trip begins, as always in my case, in the Ezeiza International Airport (Buenos Aires, Argentina). I particularly love it. I always feel really good inside this airport. It’s like a door to the unknown, and at the same time a door who’s always open for me when I miss my country and I come back. Borges, a writer from Argentina, said once: “if you wanna learn about your country, go to the foreign nations”. And I always remember in every trip.

Though all the americans share a common culture, what I’ve seen is quite different from the cases like South America and Europe. Every city is very different than the others, even when they’re very close from each other, like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Definitely, the West and East Coast are 2 different countries. The East Coast shows a huge old brittish influence and the West Coast is the demonstration of the new America, with some characteristics of the mexican and latin culture.

This is the Ezeiza International Airport (Buenos Aires, Argentina):
















I’ve traveled by American Airlines, one of the few airlines in the world that charges for the best seats in the airplanes (though you can get to the airport early and change the number).

Though it was at night, I could see the Amazonas in Brazil, the Caribbean, and Cuba. When I was landing on Miami, I could see from my window the first american characteristic: everything is big. The highways are huge, lots of avenues crossing the neighborhoods, and big terrains with big-size houses and their private yards. This is the Miami International Airport:






After going trough all the security controls, I saw the other big characteristic of the US: the importance of the immigration on their culture. Once brittish, italian and irish, in the last decades it was from the latin countries. I was surprised by the fact the almost 75% of the people in the Miami Airport was speaking spanish. Some people told me that the countries where the immigration come from dependes on the city. Texas and the south of the West Coast has a lot of people from Mexico and Central America. The East Coast has a lot of people from Puerto Rico and the islands near the coast.

I remember that the biggest airport I’ve been before the US was Barajas in Madrid. That changed the first day in the United States. The airports there are tiny cities, from the New York to the less important cities. One curios thing: you can tell where the airports are in an american city from the contrails of the airplanes on the air. First I saw it. It was a spectacle to watch.

This is the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX):







 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
2) HOLLYWOOD




My first day in the US took me by surprise. The first one was the size of the blocks in Los Angeles. What it seemed a little european block was actually twice or 3 times larger than what it looked like in Google Maps. The other surprise, though I already knew it before going there, was that the city is made exclusively for the car. I remember this day when I was walking in Hollywood Hills and the sidewalk suddenly disappeared. The only options were to go back half a mile or go half a mile to the next block. They even got buttons in the traffic lights, so the people can cross the street, though some of them takes a long time for the lights to change.

The gorgeous Los Angeles is actually a compilation of towns who were once united in one city to share the water and electricity system. You can see that on its neighborhoods. They’re quite different from each other. Hollywood is one of those districts. It is known for its movie and TV studios, specially the Majors like Warner Bros. and Paramount. It also has the famous Hollywood Boulevard with the Hollywood stars in the sidewalks and some attractions like the Dolby Theatre (where the Oscars takes place every year) and the Chinese Theatre. And it is here where I discovered one of the main keys of the american culture and its influence in the world: the Show. They’re the kings of entertainment. They know what, how, when, and where to tell it. “Fake it till you make it” and the “Act As If..” principles pretty much describe it better. They know how to sell. They almost perfectly manage the capitalist system. They learned it from the beginning thanks to their brittish ancestors and they successfully improved it after becoming an entire separate and new nation.

So after realizing of all this, the best way to have some rest was to go to the Hollywood Hills, a perfect place to watch the afternoon and the skyline of the great and legendary LA, the city of dreams. However, I was only looking at the mask. That was part of the show, I knew it. So the next step was waiting for me: the Hollywood Major Studios.

But for now, these are the pictures of Hollywood in the city of Los Angeles:




















 

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Great pics and commentary, please keep it coming :) I recently got back from my third trip to the USA (but really my first as an adult) and find the country fascinating. LA is a hard city to 'get' and without a car it is almost impossible to understand it or see what the fuss is all about...even with a car too you seem to spend half your time in a concrete wasteland of cracked freeways. I wish I had more friends there to show me around. But I do find something about the city intriguing, really offering something for everyone, with a huge mix of people and containing such a mix of wealth. The beachside neighbourhoods are quite nice and at least offer some walkability, if only in a recreational sense in some of them.
 

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Loving the videos. I always enjoy watching raw, unedited videos such as those because they must be one of the closest things to getting a general feel for a city without physically being there. Great work!
 

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2) HOLLYWOOD




My first day in the US took me by surprise. The first one was the size of the blocks in Los Angeles. What it seemed a little european block was actually twice or 3 times larger than what it looked like in Google Maps. The other surprise, though I already knew it before going there, was that the city is made exclusively for the car. I remember this day when I was walking in Hollywood Hills and the sidewalk suddenly disappeared. The only options were to go back half a mile or go half a mile to the next block. They even got buttons in the traffic lights, so the people can cross the street, though some of them takes a long time for the lights to change.

The gorgeous Los Angeles is actually a compilation of towns who were once united in one city to share the water and electricity system. You can see that on its neighborhoods. They’re quite different from each other. Hollywood is one of those districts. It is known for its movie and TV studios, specially the Majors like Warner Bros. and Paramount. It also has the famous Hollywood Boulevard with the Hollywood stars in the sidewalks and some attractions like the Dolby Theatre (where the Oscars takes place every year) and the Chinese Theatre. And it is here where I discovered one of the main keys of the american culture and its influence in the world: the Show. They’re the kings of entertainment. They know what, how, when, and where to tell it. “Fake it till you make it” and the “Act As If..” principles pretty much describe it better. They know how to sell. They almost perfectly manage the capitalist system. They learned it from the beginning thanks to their brittish ancestors and they successfully improved it after becoming an entire separate and new nation.
Very interesting presentation, but you make a very obvious error in crediting 'the show', Hollywood and 'selling it' to the so-called British ancestors of the USA. Eastern and Central European Jewish people and their ancestors deserve the credit for creating Hollywood, along with Broadway in the USA. Selling entertainment is very lucrative and many non-british Americans have been quite successful at this, even other nationalities such as [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyros_Skouras"]Skouras[/URL], but by far the studios were established and remain dominated by Jewish Americans with ancestry from central and eastern Europe... There are many documentaries that explain this phenomenon and I remember seeing one on our SBS channel here in Australia. I'm surprised as a director you're not aware of it in the first place. It is misleading to think of American culture (and even the people themselves) as British inheritance, very misleading, especially 20th century entertainment and other industrious pursuits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you guys for the feedback :D


Very interesting presentation, but you make a very obvious error in crediting 'the show', Hollywood and 'selling it' to the so-called British ancestors of the USA. Eastern and Central European Jewish people and their ancestors deserve the credit for creating Hollywood, along with Broadway in the USA. Selling entertainment is very lucrative and many non-british Americans have been quite successful at this, even other nationalities such as http://SkourasSkouras, but by far the studios were established and remain dominated by Jewish Americans with ancestry from central and eastern Europe... There are many documentaries that explain this phenomenon and I remember seeing one on our SBS channel here in Australia. I'm surprised as a director you're not aware of it in the first place. It is misleading to think of American culture (and even the people themselves) as British inheritance, very misleading, especially 20th century entertainment and other industrious pursuits.

The british inheritance can be felt just somehow in the american culture, not exactly in the show business (the subjects are mixed all together in my last text). The US is also quite interesting because it doesn't seem like british at all, except for the architecture in the East Coast and in their roots in the first centuries of the nation (that's what I meant). They have built a new culture apart from the UK. In that culture, selling is one important characteristic. From the man who opens a new shop in a town to the Wall Street stock-brokers. It is also part, in my opinion, of their mentality of progress, which I admire a lot.

But I didn't know that the jewish americans had that much importance in the motion picture business. Now that I come to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. In most film universities around the world, they teach about another kind of cinema (I would say european, so it can be understood quickly, but it's more complicated). Believe ir or not, almost nobody explains the Hollywood system of production and distribution. I had friends who went to film schools on France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and they don't even know how Hollywood really works. Do you have the names of the documentaries? I would love to learn more about it.
 

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This book seems good.
http://www.amazon.com/An-Empire-Their-Own-Hollywood/dp/0385265573

You can go to youtube to find documentaries and reports about their influence but be careful because some are anti-semitic propoganda and rubbish.

Of course British inheritance can be 'felt' in American culture, after all they were amongst the first settlers with the Dutch and Spanish but there is a distinct American culture now, very different from the British, a culture that is a mix of all the peoples that have gone there over the many years with strong German, Italian, Jewish and African American influences. Argentina of course is also a mix, not only Spanish, but USA is arguably even more mixed.


BTW, here in Australia this 'american culture' of movies, picture theatres, pop-music, candies, hamburgers, cafe-diners etc. was brought over by Greek migrants who first moved to America and then introduced it to Australia. Every rural town and major city had many cafes and theatres run by Greeks in the early part of the twentieth century until around the late 1960s when television and fast-food outlets saw their demise. History is not 'black and white' and most often not what it seems on the surface. :cheers:

Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Café, a photographic exhibition of Australia's Greek cafés, explored the key role that Greek Australians played during the formative years of Australian culture.

Every time you drink a Coke, enjoy an ice cream or sweet chocolate treat, go to the cinema, or listen to the latest popular music hit, you can thank Australia's Greek settlers.

Greek cafés in Australia were a Trojan horse for the Americanisation of this nation's eating and socio-cultural habits from the very start of the twentieth century. They initially introduced American commercial food catering ideas, technology and products and later influenced the development of cinema and popular music.

The Greek café helped transform Australian popular culture...

http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/selling_an_american_dream_australias_greek_cafe/home

_________________________________

Restored theatre and museum to this less-known but very important part of Australia's social history.
http://www.roxybingara.com.au/
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
3) MAJOR STUDIOS: SONY PICTURES, WARNER BROS. & PARAMOUNT





The studios of Los Angeles are quite unique. They can’t even be compared to the big studios of the UK and Bollywood in India. Every Major Studio is a tiny city with its own fire and security departments, waste management, cleaning, shops, and offices. All this system connects the main departments of the production: Art, Camera & Lighting, Costumes, Editing & Post-Production, among others. The routine of every worker inside this tiny cities includes movie stars and even rockstars.

In the beginning of the 20th Century, the biggest studios (Paramount, Warner Bros., MGM, Universal Studios, Walt Disney, y 20th Century Fox) created the MPAA (Motion Pictires Asociation of America) to protect their movies from the moral and ethic laws of those times, between other interests such as getting investors from the US. Known because of the failed SOPA and PIPA laws recently, the MPAA managed to protect the Studios till today. Though the Majors compete in the movie theaters, they actually work together to protect the system. Today, nobody makes movies in Los Angeles anymore because of the high taxes. The movie productions went to other cities of the US, such as Atlanta. A famous producer said few months ago: “only the people who want to waste money film in LA”. They only make TV shows in the studios today. Despites that, they keep the same system and magic that they always had.

In LA, only 3 of the studios can be visited: the Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, and Sony Pictures. They all have regular and VIP tours. The Warner has also a Deluxe tour of 7 hours where you can talk with the people working there (even with the movie stars, if you find someone). I made the VIP & Deluxe Tours, so you’re gonna have the first-hand experience of these places. I’ve seen them in this order: the Sony Pictures studios, where I saw the basics (the tour is made for quick-pictures tourism), the Warner tour, where I saw the behind-the-scenes, and Paramount. In Paramount, because we had to wait due to problems of the guide, he gave us access to forbidden places of the studios, so it was really cool. A hell of a great experience.

This is the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, some miles away from Hollywood district. The big building is the Sony Pictures Plaza, used for sci-fi movies and series due to its futuristic and “evil” look.





















With the exception of some historical sites, most of the buildings inside the studios are very simple. That’s because the facades are changed all the time depending on what every production needs. Same case for the designs of the roads and paths. They also change the place of the offices all the time, also depending on the productions at the moment. This is the Main Street of the Sony Pictures Studios:













The next day, I went to the Warner Bros Studios. We were only 3 in the Deluxe Tour, so it was actually a nice and different experience. We started in our VIP car:













The VIP tours in Warner started as a way of showing the studios to the foreign executives. They then added this service to everyone who was interested in seeing them. So we first went to what they call “Bridge Building” because of its look. They often use this place to shoot New York City scenes or other cities with this kind of look, such as Hong Kong or Downtown LA.









Most of the area of the studios are filled with the stages, big empty buildings with grills on the roof that can be almost as tall as a 10-stories building. They are prepared to be modified. In the grills, they put dozens of lights and grip engineering. Some of the stages also have big pools behind the floor, so they can be filled with water and shoot scenes with ships, like the battle scenes of 300:Rise of An Empire or the last scene of The Dark Knight Rises where Robin rises up. The stages:











 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Other characteristic that distinguish the Major Studios are their fictional cities and roads. Most of them are facades of the typical american city. Though they look amazingly realistic, they are empty behind the panels of those facades. Rule number 1 of the studios: it has to be prepared to be modified. When you get close, you won’t also see lights in the streets or little details in the walls. That’s because they change all those things all the time, depending on what the Director wants for that particular production. There’s also no water or electricity in these places. They take the generators for the lights and big trucks for the water. The fake cities:














The Art Department quite impressed me. There’s big buildings where they keep the stuff for the scenery they used on the last decades. They Art department of the Warner and other art designers can go there and choose what things they wanna rent for they productions. They go and choose from a sketchual they already have, they tell to the people working there with number of the catalog is and, in the cases of the big productions, they transport those objects in the trucks. This again shows how the Major Studios work together. It is often common to see Warner trucks in the Paramount studios or the other way around. Now, a lot of these things were for sure in a lot of famous movies. Somehow, they were in the shots of the movies you’ve seen. If you take a look closely, you’re gonna recognize them.
























And this is the moment for movies fans: the original costumes used in a lot of famous movies and series such as The Dark Knight Rises, Friends, Harry Potter, 300: Rise of an Empire, and many others. Also, the original vehicles used in very famous movies. And what I liked the most, the set where they shot Friends (it’s actually the same original set putted together in a tiny room). I’ve never actually felt so immersed like in the set of Friends. I was actually looking and touching the same stuff I see every day on the show. Quite a great experience.
























And the third tour was in the Paramount Pictures Studios, where Martin Scorsese films today. Because almost everything was explained already, these are the new things you may see in the next pictures: the blue lights in the doors who indicate when they’re shooting a scene with pools filled with water, the chat with the jewelry designer (she even showed us famous jewelry from the classic Cleopatra movie), the signboard department, the triangle where they shoot the reflections of skyscrapers, the real shooting of a True Blood scene, and the room where they keep all the tapes of the movies and series of Paramount (all of them). Enjoy!

































 

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The british inheritance can be felt just somehow in the american culture, not exactly in the show business (the subjects are mixed all together in my last text). The US is also quite interesting because it doesn't seem like british at all, except for the architecture in the East Coast and in their roots in the first centuries of the nation (that's what I meant). They have built a new culture apart from the UK. In that culture, selling is one important characteristic. From the man who opens a new shop in a town to the Wall Street stock-brokers. It is also part, in my opinion, of their mentality of progress, which I admire a lot.

But I didn't know that the jewish americans had that much importance in the motion picture business. Now that I come to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. In most film universities around the world, they teach about another kind of cinema (I would say european, so it can be understood quickly, but it's more complicated). Believe ir or not, almost nobody explains the Hollywood system of production and distribution. I had friends who went to film schools on France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and they don't even know how Hollywood really works. Do you have the names of the documentaries? I would love to learn more about it.
The British inheritance is everywhere in the eastern part of the US; it is inescapable. That includes the reference to selling: that came from Britain as well.

All of the early Hollywood producers with the exception of Zanuck (Fox) were Jewish. That was not true of the directors or actors. They were very tough, but also highly romantic, patriotic and idealistic about the US and used film to create and market an idealized view of American life, a society that allowed them to thrive and create.
 
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Interesting thread, thanks - I have never visited any of the studios. I have been to LA a few times. I don't like it very much - too hot and too much concrete, but I am not a Californian.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The British inheritance is everywhere in the eastern part of the US; it is inescapable. That includes the reference to selling: that came from Britain as well.

All of the early Hollywood producers with the exception of Zanuck (Fox) were Jewish. That was not true of the directors or actors. They were very tough, but also highly romantic, patriotic and idealistic about the US and used film to create and market an idealized view of American life, a society that allowed them to thrive and create.

That's actually very interesting. Makes me remember the first scenes of the Godfather where Tom Hagen meets Jack Woltz.
 
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