Posts Tagged ‘hollywood’

How Hollywood Got Travel All Wrong

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Here’s a little secret: traveling is not always the glamorous affair it’s made out to be in the movies.

In a perfect world, your family vacation would be planned months in advance, everyone would arrive to the airport on time, there would be no hold-ups, hiccups or delays and you’d enjoy your destination exactly how you had always dreamed. You’d return home with perfectly-lit, candid photos of every little memorable moment, generic levitra online stories to share for years to come and absolutely no regrets. Of course, not every feature film portrays travel this way. In fact, there are lots of pieces showing the Murphy’s Law side of a vacation (National Lampoon, anyone?), but that’s not always the case either.

The truth is, travel can be as unpredictable as it can be exciting, and just because one thing goes right or wrong doesn’t mean everything else will. Let me explain. (more…)

Film and TV Production in Georgia

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Lights, Camera, Peaches! For those who didn’t know, the Georgia TV and film tax incentives program implemented in 2008 has brought droves of LA Oranges, New York Apples, and more to the Peach State – the HOT-lanta “Hollywood of the South.” The 2008 Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act grants a tax credit to qualified production and post-production expenditures. It is available not only to traditional motion picture projects such as feature films, television series, commercials and music videos, but also innovative new industries such as game development and animation.

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Logo at the end of Movies & TV Shows Filmed in Georgia

Georgia is now one of the top 5 production destinations in the country. Some of the well known productions filmed in Georgia include The Vampire Diaries, Drop Dead Diva, Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Footloose (2011), Single Ladies, Auction Kings, Necessary Roughness, The Blind Side, Driving Miss Daisy, My Cousin Vinny, Zombieland, Sweet Home Alabama, Joyful Noise, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Wanderlust, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, American Reunion, The Three Stooges, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Fast 5, and X-Men: First Class (just to name a few). Beautiful Savannah has also been busy with dozens of feature film and television projects for many years, including Forrest Gump, Glory, The Last Song, The Conspirator, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gift, Forces of Nature, and The General’s Daughter.

Since 2008, over 30 production companies and equipment suppliers have expanded or relocated to Georgia, including Screen Gems Studios Atlanta, Raleigh Studios at Riverwood, Atlanta Film Studios in Hiram, Paskal Lighting, and Panavision, the world leader in camera equipment. Atlanta is home to entertainment companies like Tyler Perry Studios, Turner Studios and Rainforest Films. Thanks to said tax incentives for Georgia-produced media, many rivals in New York, Louisiana, Vancouver, and even golden Hollywood find themselves joining the Atlantans in our tropical rainforest-like humidity. Welcome! 8)

As a Georgia peach myself, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to be an “extra” (background artist) on several popular shows and movies, including The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, Drop Dead Diva, a few amazing movies that will be released this fall, and even a few local commercials. “How can I become an extra too?”  I’m glad you asked! Here is a great article with tons of useful information about Extras Casting. Also note that you can find many production company pages on Facebook (see the end of the article for links), and most will post casting calls nearly every day in search of specific local looks and talent. Be prepared for long days (sometimes 12-14 hours or more) and things to do while you wait in the “holding” area between shooting scenes.

Ready to explore the Peach State? We offer a wonderful variety of tours and activities that are sure to keep Georgia on your mind. Don’t forget your camera!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit America’s Finest City

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

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First of all, you should understand that the list of “why I should visit San Diego” unravels from San Deigo to New York City and back. So, I have chosen a few golden highlights, just for you. Check out my top 5 reasons to visit San Diego!

1. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were Lego Maniacs. And they built six epic live-action LEGO displays of the most popular scenes of all 6 Star Wars movies. Just un-masked this March, the new LEGOLAND California STAR WARS Miniland contains over 1.5 million LEGO bricks. Marvel at the fantastic Lego worlds of Naboo, Geonosis, Kashyyyk & Mustafar, Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor, pose with life-sized interactive models of Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Darth Vader, and more!

2. Let me tell you, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is the perfect place to let your WILD side out. Are you as excited as we are about the brand new Panda Trek? Panda Trek features several new Asian-themed animal exhibits, including a giant panda reserve with six species of bamboo and other Chinese plants. With more than 4,000 animals representing 800 species, the San Diego Zoo is home to a diverse collection of animals, many of which are rarely seen at other zoos.

3. Now open at Sea World San Diego, dive into the brand new Sea Turtle Reef! Get an up-close look at over 60 endangered sea turtles in a 300,000-gallon aquarium with a massive underwater viewing window. Other fun attractions at the park include Journey to Atlantis, Bayside Skyride, Shipwreck Rapids, and the Wild Arctic. And don’t miss the amazing animal exhibits of the Dolphins, Killer Whales, and Polar Bears!

4. Seaport Village overlooks the beautiful San Diego Bay. The village consists of 54 one-of-a-kind shops, plus galleries, charming bayside restaurants, a lagoon and more. Expect to see friendly street performers, face painters, and artists. Our San Diego City Tour with Seaport Village is the perfect combination for exploring the city and this enchanting bayside village. See the city, La Jolla, Coronado Island, Balboa Park, and more – then enjoy shopping at Seaport Village!

5. The world’s largest movie studio, Universal Studios, is an amazing park where you don’t just “watch” movies… you live them! Some of the most popular rides include Jurassic Park, King Kong, Shrek 4-D, House of Horrors, Revenge of the Mummy, and more. And watch out Decepticons – the incredible Transformers Ride is almost complete! Visit San Diego Tours today for all the best tours & attractions in America’s Finest City!

Dearly Departed Tours Captures the History and Intrigue of Tinseltown

Monday, August 24th, 2009

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Scott Michaels, founder of Los Angeles’ Dearly Departed Tours, recently took the time to sit down for a chat about one of their newest additions – the Hollywood Movie Tour.  What follows is a summary of that conversation, which will hopefully give you readers some added insight into the world of Dearly Departed.

Scott was first exposed to death at the age of 3 but didn’t begin pursuing a career relating to it until he was in his twenties.  He started out years ago with Grave Line Tours, the company that did the Cadillac hearses, and he ran that for a few years until it was sold and the person who bought it ended up killing himself.  He decided that he wanted to do something that stuck with the same idea geographically and covered the Tate House murder site and the Ambassador Hotel, both of which are gone now.  Scott has a feeling that’s why a lot of people confuse his tours with theirs.

The movie tours Scott’s company currently has on offer are run through a Hawaii corporation.  Scott says that he once took the San Francisco Movie Tour and loved it.  He didn’t like the movies that were shown, but really liked the idea of seeing the movies on the screen while he was looking at that particular movie site.  From there, the Hollywood Movie Tour was born.

According to Scott, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding stars’ homes.  For example, with Marilyn Monroe, there are a lot of houses that she was said to have lived in that she never did.  Scott claims that with his tour, there is a sense of fiction meets reality because he actually has pictures of her in front of the house they are showing.  It is not a comprehensive tour per se, but about 50-60 movies and TV shows are covered.  Dearly Departed has the exclusive rights in LA to do it, and they will be expanding to other tours soon.  Scott points out that you don’t have to like the movies shown in order to enjoy the tour, a major plus, I would think, for children who may not have been alive when the movies hit the big screen.

Speaking of children, when asked whether the tour is appropriate for the little ones, Scott says that he would consider it to be PG-13 for language.  Some of the language has been bleeped out of the movie excerpts, so it isn’t that bad, but parents should use their discretion on tours like this.

As far as the most popular location is concerned, the spot that participants get the most excited about is the site of the movie “LA Confidential.”  At this point, most of the tour guests are from LA and they like to see great movies about Hollywood.  Scott describes LA as a city that loves itself.  His favorite movie of all time – and his favorite spot on the tour – is one of the sites where “Sunset Boulevard” was shot.  “Ed Wood” is another that ranks high on his list.  Among the quintessential LA locations shown on the tour, in addition to those mentioned above, are “Pretty Woman” and “Rebel Without a Cause.”  People love to see the hotel where Julia Roberts’ character in “Pretty Woman” lives and also get to see James Dean laying in the street on screen and drive up to the house in “Rebel Without a Cause,” knowing exactly where they are.  As Scott points out, it is like riding right through James Dean’s history.

When asked about any possible future additions to the tours, Scott says it is their goal to keep the tours pretty well-rounded, within certain geographic parameters.  They have lots of material to work with, from the older stuff up to more recent things, and are always balancing it out.  As an added bonus for taking the tour, guests get a complete list of the movies featured at its conclusion.

Scott has obviously had a lot of neat experiences throughout his time working in LA.  His tours have been featured on shows like E!’s “Girls Next Door.” In fact, he told me that Bridget, one of the girls from the show, even attended a séance he held recently.  He was surprised that she actually attended, but said that she has expressed an interest in the paranormal.  Very cool!

Next up for Scott’s company is a tour featuring Alison Arngrim, also known as Nellie from “Little House on the Prairie.”  More details on that tour, and information from Alison herself, to come…

Anaheim to Los Angeles

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

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The Los Angeles Grand Tour from Anaheim is just what you need to add a little glitz and glamour to your day.  Walk down the same path as the stars by visiting Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Melrose Avenue, Rodeo Drive, and more of the famous spots known across America and abroad.  Because Los Angeles is so huge, your tour will depend on the area you are staying in.  If your hotel is in the Los Angeles area, you can take the Los Angeles Grand Tour from Los Angeles, while those staying in Hollywood, Pasadena, the Valley, and surrounding areas can participate in the Los Angeles Grand Tour or the combination Grand Tour and Movie Stars Homes Tour. 

A great way to get the overall vibe of a city is to see it at night.  Take the Los Angeles by Night Tour from Anaheim to see the Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, where the Academy Awards were originally held.  Then make your way over to City Walk at Universal City, the site of Universal Studios, for some fine dining and something Los Angeles is known for – shopping.  Finally, check out Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame before heading down the Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills where you can shop like the stars do on famous Rodeo Drive.   

As you can imagine, there is much more to see in Los Angeles than can possibly be covered in one blog post, so visit for more fun ways to spend your vacation in the ‘City of Angels.’

Hollywood Tours Leaving From Anaheim

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Amusement park junkies and movie buffs should make it a priority to stop at Universal Studios in Hollywood.  The Universal Studios, LA & Hollywood Deluxe Combo Tour from Anaheim takes you on a 13-hour combined tour starting with Universal Studios Hollywood where you can experience your favorite movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future” through technologically advanced rides and simulators.  The next stop on your trip will take you through some of the trendiest streets known to shopping fanatics the world over.  You will visit trendy Melrose Avenue, the Sunset Strip, and Santa Monica Boulevard where you will get to see celebrity hotspots like the Chateau Marmont Hotel, the famous House of Blues, and Whiskey a Go Go.  

On the Universal Studios and City Tour from Anaheim, you can tour Universal Studios and its special effects stages and elaborate movie sets and combine it with the Los Angeles City Tour which will take you through some of the most exciting areas of Los Angeles and Hollywood.  This is a great value for those who want to get the most out of their trip to the area.  Walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and match your handprints up to those of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  Then do some serious shopping and scouting out of designer labels on Rodeo Drive and visit the homes of some movie star favorites.  Finally, hit up Century City, home of 20th Century Fox Movie Studios and Farmers Market for some fresh produce and specialty gifts.

If you are intrigued by popular culture, as many of us are, these tours of Hollywood will certainly pique your interest.  Take advantage of the opportunity for a look inside this mystery world of celebrity while you are in the area.  It is a treat for the entire family!

The famous Hollywood Sign

The famous Hollywood Sign

Hollywood for a Day

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

On your next trip to California, take the time to get a closer look at what’s going on in Hollywood, the center of the motion picture industry and everything related to entertainment.  There are many ways of getting there, but once you have reached your destination there are few companies that give you as thorough of an introduction to the city as Hollywood Tours does.

The Hollywood Fantastic Bus Tour from Orange County, a favorite among travelers, takes you out for a full day of sightseeing in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Rodeo Drive.  There is so much to see in this area, including Paramount Studios, China Town, and the original Spanish settlement on Olvera Street.  You will even get to take a picture of the world famous Hollywood Sign – seen widely across pop culture mediums – from the best location in the city.

Other buildings you will see on your tour include the Staples Center, Walt Disney Music Center, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a large outdoor sports stadium at Exposition Park where the USC Trojans football team plays.  You will see it all by luxury coach and learn about the early Californios – Spanish speaking inhabitants of Alta, California in the 18th and 19th centuries before the United States invasion that precipitated the Mexican-American War – and the gold rush 49ers.  You will have plenty of time to shop at Farmer’s Market, which is a huge outdoor market selling clothing, produce, antiques, and gifts.  This is where you will break for lunch on your own.

Throughout the duration of the tour, you will see many of the world-famous sights that draw large crowds year-round.  You will get to check out the footprints and handprints of the stars at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, window shop on Rodeo Drive for the latest fashions, and cruise through Melrose Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.  You will also get to see some elaborate Beverly Hills mansions.

For those who love sightseeing and even those who don’t, this tour is a must-see, taking you into the world of the rich and famous and showing you the ropes in case you decide to join the ranks.  Check out even more fun tours of Tinseltown at

A Unique Spin on Traditional Tours

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Ready to roll but tired of taking the same old wheels? Try out one of the many nontraditional tour offerings on your next trip to New York, San Diego, or Los Angeles.  Get out of the habit of the same old thing and start the new year off with a new mode of transportation.  With Reserve123, the options are endless.

On your next trip to New York, consider seeing the city in the comfort of a classic convertible.  You will be the talk of the town and will make heads turn as you cruise through the city streets with the top down.  On the Deluxe Private New York Tour, which runs from May through October and is taken in a classic convertible, your 1975 Chevrolet Caprice will take you to the historic West Village, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade where you can catch the perfect view of the Manhattan skyline.

Another convertible tour that is available is the Classic Car Tour from Los Angeles.  This is a great option for trips in the winter since temperatures in Los Angeles don’t often dip much lower than 50°F.  L.A. also enjoys about 263 sunny days a year and rain is less frequent than in other parts of the country.  You will ride in a classic Cadillac convertible as your tour guide makes sure you get to see all the right spots and learn more about the area to get the most out of your trip.

For a fancy twist on the limousine, take the Los Angeles Limo Tour and see all the best places inTinseltown.  Your vehicle, which is actually a 24-passenger super stretch Hummer, comes equipped with color TV and VCR, complimentary bar, stereo and CD player, wraparound leather seats, and a sun or moon  roof.  You can also request free champagne, a red carpet, fish tanks, smoke machines, and more so they are perfect for a special occasion or a typical day or night on the town.  Of course, with this tour your day will be anything but typical!

A unique spin on the limo ride concept is the VIP Street Rod Limo Grand Tour of Los Angeles.  Your tour will begin in a 1923 Ford T Roadster Limo, which will take you to the most exclusive shops in the area on the famous Rodeo Drive.  The tour also features celebrity homes in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air including those of Al Pacino, Madonna, and George Clooney.

When you are looking for your day to take a spooky turn, check out the Deluxe Haunted Ghost Tour in San Diego.  Your “Ghost Coach” will take you on a 90-minute night tour of haunted San Diego.  Of course it wouldn’t be much of a ghost tour if you stayed in the coach the whole time, so be prepared to get out and stretch your legs as you walk to documented haunted spots.  You will also gain admission to the William Heath Davis House, located in the Gaslamp Quarter.  The tour is completely guided, and as you can imagine it is packed with theatrics.

No matter what kind of nontraditional transportation you choose, your tour will be filled with excitement, incredible scenery, and priceless information.  Reserve your tickets online and save $5 on each adult ticket.

Sightseeing and Shopping Galore in Newport Beach

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Many television shows and movies have taken place in Orange County, California including ‘The O.C’ which is set in Newport Beach.  It is not surprising given the undeniable beauty of the area and the fact that there are a multitude of gorgeous places to set up shop.  Many celebrities also choose Newport Beach as home, including Dennis Rodman, Lauren Bacall, and Mark McGrath.

Some of the attractions in the area are body-boarding hotspot The Wedge, located on the Balboa Peninsula, the Orange County Museum of Art, and the most famous Newport Beach landmark, Balboa Pavilion.  Of course, no one can forget all the shopping Newport Beach and Orange County in general provides to the public, who come in droves to spend the day perusing the racks.

You can see the Newport Beach area by boat or bus and there are a variety of activities to choose from, including dolphin tours, shopping excursions, fishing trips, and trips to Mexico.  For a look at southern California’s wildlife, take the Whale Watching Cruise in Newport Beach.  This cruise gets you in the action with the Gray Whales at their peak migration time.   You will also see dolphins, marine birds, and sea lions as well as killer whales and sharks.

Other notable trips departing from Newport include the Hollywood Fantastic Bus Tour from Orange County – which takes you on a full day sightseeing tour of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Rodeo Drive – and the Olde Mexico Bus Tour from Orange County, which takes you on a trip down the California coast for an abbreviated tour of San Diego Harbor and Hotel Del Coronado.  You will stop near several pottery stands and art galleries and then finally reach Tijuana where you will shop to your heart’s content.

Check out for more activity and trip ideas for your next vacation!

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