So today I’m going to veer slightly off the topic of exercise, nutrition and what you would think when you hear “healthy living”; however, this is a very important part of living a truly happy, healthy life you love. And that would be passions and interests. Part of living a healthy life is to find things you love and are passionate about and fill as much of your time as you can with those things. For me, one of my favorite things is the show The Big Bang Theory. If you’ve never seen it, I would HIGHLY recommend it. When I was first introduced to it, I thought I would hate it and would only watch one episode to appease my sister. Flash forward a few hours and we have finished the first two seasons and I am begging her to borrow the third from her friend.
So anyway long story short, I have been obsessed with the show for about 7 years now. I had always dreamed of watching it being filmed, but thought that was too far-fetched to ever happen. Well, not the case. This past August my parents and I got to go watch the 2nd episode of season 10 “The Military Miniaturization” (just aired on September 26) being filmed…and it was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. In case this is the dream for anyone else (or if you’re just curious), I am going to explain how all of this was made possible, and tips for anyone else who ever does it.
First off, tickets are free…yes you heard me right, free! They go “live” for grabs 30 days prior to the day of filming. For example, our filming date was August 16th, so our tickets went live July 18th. Once they’re live, however, they go quickly. Tickets were sold out in 13 minutes for us. This means that if you want more than one person, especially a group, to get tickets, you need to have multiple computers up and trying. They typically go live at 8:30 am PT (California time schedule) and once time hits, refreshing your computer to get to the screen can be slow, but be patient. Once they’re up, you fill out your information and snag a ticket. If you are able to do so, make sure you print your confirmation before going back in to try and get a ticket for another person. If you don’t get a ticket, there is stand-by, although I am not 100% how all of that works because my family got tickets.
The Day Of: Arriving
Finally, after all of your awaited anticipation, the day has arrived–it’s time to go watch them film The Big Bang Theory! Unfortunately, it is not as easy as walking up two hours before the show and going in. As it says on your ticket, the ticket does not guarantee admission: it all depends on when you get in line and the number of family/friends of the actors and crew show up too. The show suggests you show up 3-4 hours in advance prior to the show starting (started at 7 pm for us), but if you want a closer, better spot, get there earlier. We arrived 6 hours in advance and were numbers 21-23 in line. When you arrive, you’ll park in the parking garage that they give you directions to. As you go get in line to wait, make sure you understand their rules that you can have cameras, phones, electronics and big bags while waiting, but none of that inside of the studio (I will discuss this in more detail later).
The Day Of: Waiting
So now the waiting in line begins! An earlier post we had read about this said that they had to wait outside for a long time before being brought inside; however, we only waited inside. A security guard told us that if other shows are filming at the same time, they get precedent over The Big Bang Theory for being inside. Luckily, ours was the only show filming at the time. This just means you have to be prepared to possibly wait outside in the sun for a few hours. And even if you are inside, it is a hot and humid parking garage, so bring something to fan yourself with. Also, bring things to keep yourself entertained because 3-4 hours of sitting around waiting can be incredibly long. We brought books to read, but I also saw people with cards, small board games and other electronics to keep themselves occupied. Although there is no outside food or drink allowed in the studio, bring it with you in line! They feed you a small (kinda crappy) piece of pizza and a water bottle in the middle of filming, but otherwise you’ll go from 1-10 pm with no food if you don’t bring some in line. (Don’t worry you’ll have time to return food and drink to your cars before heading inside.) We got really amazing sandwiches at The King’s Deli, which is right around the corner from the studio, and snacked on them throughout the afternoon. (Seriously though, their veggie sandwich with avocado is probably the most amazing sandwich I have ever eaten!!)
The Day Of: 3 hours before
About 3 hours before showtime, studio employees and coordinators came out and started checking tickets and lining people up in two different lines–tickets and stand-by. Once in line, someone came through again and gave you each a number. Once you have your number, this is the time to run back to your car and return your phone, electronics, camera, food, drink (unless you plan to consume it in the next 30 minutes) bags, etc. Do not worry about putting your things away until you have a number. This was one thing we kept being anxious about, but you have plenty of time once you receive your number. Plus your number is your golden ticket saying “you are in and have a spot”, so don’t ruin that chance by running back to your car too early. At about 2 hours before the show, they started taking the lines of people across the street to the studio stage. At this point, you go through metal detectors so be careful of what you bring. There is still some waiting around at this point; however, you are getting so close it doesn’t matter as much. When you are walking across the street and through the stages at the studio, make sure you take the time to look around and really enjoy the experience of it all. Most likely this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make sure you really take it all in for the memories.
Going In and Watching:
Finally, you get walked into the studio, handed a pamphlet, and assigned a seat. The pamphlet will have the name of the episode, the cast, crew, etc. on it which gives you something to look at while you wait. When you walk in, the stage is all in front of you; however, it is covered with curtains so you can’t really see much of anything. If you really look hard you can tell what some of the rooms are though. It can also get cold inside, so bring a light jacket. Enjoy the last minutes of waiting because then it is finally time! 30 minutes before start time, they show you the previous episode so that you can have an understanding of what is going on and what has happened. Then…it’s show time! The cast is introduced and the taping begins. The stage is quite big, which makes sense since there has to be space for all the different sets and rooms. This means that sometimes you may not be able to get a good view of the taping of the scene, but not to worry. There are television screens in front of you that show what is being taped so you always have a good view. There is a guy who’s job is to keep the audience’s moral up and to communicate to the audience what is happening on set in between scenes. He was funny at first; however, he got really annoying really fast. In between takes, I wanted to be watching how the actors interacted and prepared rather than have him distract us, but that is his job and he did it well. Lastly, about half-way through they will distribute water and pizza. A previous review said the pizza was bad and I thought how can pizza be bad? Well it can and it was; however, I am grateful they gave us something to eat because I was starving. When the filming is done, the cast will wave to everyone and then you are escorted out to leave.
Overall it was one of the best experiences to see my favorite show being filmed and all the actors being so close. Unfortunately, they do not give autographs afterwards, but seeing them in person made it all worth it. It was even cooler to watch that episode aired on TV and know that I saw it in person. Even if it isn’t The Big Bang Theory, try and get tickets to watch your favorite show being filmed–if offered–because it is definitely a very cool, once-in-a-lifetime experience that is well worth it!