The LA Trip (A Live Sit-Com Taping)

       Every Fall semester, PLNU’s media communication major and Point TV takes fifteen to twenty students on a trip to a live taping of a sitcom recorded at one of the television/film studio lots in Los Angeles.   This trip provides students with the opportunity to see how real-world multi-camera sitcom production is done in the TV and film capital of the world.  The students get to watch the process of the TV show coming to life by participating as a live studio audience.   This semester, the students’ Wednesday, September 21st day took them to CBS Studios to see a live taping of sit-com, The Great Indoors.  This show stars Joel McHale from Community and McLovin from Superbad.  The show was about an adventure reporter who has to adapt to the times when he becomes the boss of a group of millennials in the digital department of a magazine publisher.  

       This trip was an incredible opportunity for PLNU media communications students because it gave them the chance to experience the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a show.  

       “I really liked the trip and I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because it’s a show that we got to go see as a group and I don’t think that I’m ever going to go see that show live again like that,” said sophomore Analise Nelson.  “I thought it was cool that they had the entire writing, directing, makeup staff all together and observing the actors and actresses.”

       After entering the CBS Studios and taking their seats in the audience, a warm-up comic came in from behind the studio to entertain and interact with the crowd.  He also informed everyone about everything that goes into filming the shows in the studio as well as answer any questions that audience members had.  There was also a DJ that played music to keep the audience’s energy up and keep them pumped up, since the studio audience would be there for awhile.  Although it was only a twenty-two-minute-long episode, it took almost seven hours to film.

       Above the crowd were microphones that would capture and record the sounds of everyone’s laughter whenever the actors would say something funny in the show.  The audience’s laughter is not just used for when the show airs on television, but their reactions also help the writers to know what jokes are working.  The students got to see this play out several times throughout the show taping by watching the writers create new jokes and make changes to the script on-set and have the actors redeliver the scene.

       Students thought that the trip was very educational.  They learned many new things, but also saw a lot of the things they do in PLNU’s on-campus studio being done professionally on a bigger-scale.

       “One thing that I did notice that I did not know before is that they have the boom mics that they were holding above the set,” said Nelson “I thought that was super cool and I did not know that before.”

       The best part of the trip aside from the fact that it was a great learning experience for the PLNU students, was the fun that they had spending the day together.  

       “I really enjoyed spending some time bonding with my fellow media peeps in Los Angeles.  This taping was a great reminder of what I’m working for.  Getting to see these established professionals rejuvenated me,” said William Alvaredo.  “I believe a lot of us are able to relate with the film crew in terms of long days of shooting which are quite common in our major.  Overall, I believe that this trip brought us closer as a department and also gave us a glimpse of what some of us might end up doing.”

       A couple of the PLNU students were even able to hang around after the taping was over and talk to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, one of the stars of  The Great Indoors, also known as Red Mist in Kickass, Fishlegs in How to Train Your Dragon, and Fogell from Superbad.  Students reported that their conversation with Mintz-Plasse was very interesting and some of them got his autograph.

       For more information regarding the Intro to Media Communications class or Point TV trips, feel free to contact Alan Hueth at AlanHueth@pointloma.edu.

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