Watching The Hills Be Filmed!Aug 15th, 2008 | By Lindsay | Category: Featured Articles, The Hills Filming Locations
Got one of the most exciting phone calls of my life on Tuesday! A good friend who has an in at the Project Beach House in Malibu called to invite me to a little shindig being held there yesterday, which would have been exciting news in and of itself. But what she said next almost gave me a heart attack – the event at the beach house was actually being held for a taping of The Hills!!!!! I swear I screamed so loud after hearing the news I am surprised my neighbors didn’t complain! LOL
So yesterday afternoon I headed out to Malibu to party at the Project Beach House. In case you don’t read US Magazine, Beverly Hills PR firm Fingerprint Communications’ sponsored Project Beach House joined the ranks of other corporate sponsored celeb party houses in Malibu – ie. the Polaroid Beach House and the Silver Spoon Beach House. The Project Beach House is a $25 million six bedroom home, which was built by Frank Lloyd Wright, and sits on over four acres of land on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and El Matador State Beach in Malibu. The mansion has huge sprawling lawns, a koi pond, tennis court, pool, and even a helicopter landing pad! Not to mention a great view of Brad and Angie’s Malibu home, which is located right next door, but I’ll save those pics for a future post.
When we arrived there were huge luxury double size chaise lounges set up (which might as well have been outdoor beds, they were so comfy), models walking around in bathing suits and really high heels, a ton of really cool freebies, a Garnier Fructis facial station, a poolside hair styling station, a DJ spinning records, waitresses walking around serving delicious fresh baked appetizers, and two full bars. Just being at the Project Beach House would have been exciting enough for this stalker – the whole time I was literally thinking “How in the heck am I here??” I mean, who am I to be hanging out at the PROJECT BEACH HOUSE??? So cool!
At around 3:30PM, in walked Lauren and Whitney and I just about DIED! You can see them in the above pic – they are on the very left. Lauren was not as thin as I expected her to be, but she was just as cute in person as she seems on TV. I was kinda bummed out, though, as she did not seem very friendly at all. I hardly saw her smile at all during the filming. After they arrived, Whitney and Lauren kind of hung out off to the side of the house waiting for the camera crew to get set up. The Hills is taped with three cameras set up on tripods that are actually set pretty far back from where the action is taking place. I was really surprised at how far away the cameras actually were. I always pictured the cameramen to be using handheld cameras and to kind of be right in the girls’ faces, but they weren’t. Taping of the sound is done wirelessly with the cast wearing wireless mikes, so the sound guy also stands pretty far away from the girls.
I must say that the entire experience was absolutely BIZARRE. I can’t put my finger on what exactly made the taping so surreal, but it was definitely wierd. Prior to the taping, I had always believed that the show was not really a “reality” show. I was convinced it was scripted and heavy influenced by producers. However, that wasn’t actually the case. But while the show is real, it is more of an altered reality, which is, I think, what made the whole experience so strange.
To start off with, producers picked the exact spot where they wanted Lauren and the gang to sit well before Lauren actually arrived. The spot they chose was actually the chaise my friend and I had been sitting on all afternoon and they made us move shortly before Lauren and Whitney arrived. I guess we had chosen the best seats in the house. LOL
To further the altered reality, the premise of the episode is that Lauren and Whitney attend a fashion event for a clothing company called “Tt”. While there was sort of a fashion event/party going on at the beach house, the whole thing was pretty much just set up so that The Hills could be filmed. I seriously doubt there would have been any party going on had The Hills not wanted to film at the Beach House yesterday. One of the party guests actually asked a worker at the house if there was a fashion show scheduled since so many models were walking around. The worker replied “Well, it’s sort of a fake fashion show.” LOL Everyone at the “party” also had to sign releases to be on camera.
Once the camera crew got set up, they let Lauren and Whitney walk on screen. The girls walked to the pool area and went straight to the producer-chosen chaise lounge. And then they pretty much just sat there. And sat there. And sat there. The whole time my friend and I were wondering when they were going to start filming and then we realized that they HAD BEEN filming the whole time! I’ve been on a few movie sets and usually during filming there is some sort of action taking place, SOMETHING is happening, but not in this case. At some points Lauren and Whitney were just kind of looking around the party, not even talking to each other. So in that sense, the show is truly “reality” – Lauren and Whitney really were just sitting and hanging out at a party. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised at their inaction, as not much else occurs on The Hills besides a lot of sitting around and talking. LOL After about 25 minutes or so, She-Pratt and her new boyfriend came out to the pool to hang out with LC and Whitney. Stephanie was surprisingly really pretty in person – she has amazing blue eyes!
The Hills crew was super laid back and I was floored when I found out that they were allowing pictures to be taken of the filming. At first I was totally trying to take pictures on the down low, as cameras are usually not allowed on most movie and TV sets. But once I realized that it was OK to take pictures, I moved in closer to get some better shots. And when I did so, I noticed Audrina standing off to the side of the house. She had apparently been there the whole time, but had to wait for the producer’s go ahead before entering the filming area. SO STRANGE. The same thing occured with Frankie Delgado and his friends. I am not sure what the reasoning on that was. I am guessing that the producers were waiting for things to get boring with Lauren and Whitney before letting other characters enter the scene.
What I was very surprised about, though, was how hands off the producers were. I was convinced they would be yelling “Cut!” and having the stars constantly repeat dialog, but that was not the case. A producer only interfered with filming once, and it was to tell Whitney, who had been laying down on a chaise, to sit up as they couldn’t see her through the camera. The producers also pretty much left the party-goers alone. I thought for sure we would be cordoned off and not allowed to get near the stars or the filming area, but nothing like that occurred. People were walking freely all over the place – in front of the camera, around the stars, etc. That was another thing that made the situation really strange. At one point my friend’s husband was standing right next to LC while she waited in line at the bar – and yes, I swear, she actually waited in line!
I am convinced, though, that some of the partiers were actually paid extras. There were two people, especially, whom the producers kept talking to and moving around, and I know they had to be extras. At certain times, too, the producers would tell partygoers to move around in the background or to go sit on the chaises near Lauren, JUST LIKE on a movie set. I guess there wasn’t enough going on in the background to make the party look realistic enough. More of that altered reality. Producers also asked the Tt models (clad in teeny tiny bathing suits) to play a little “impromptu” soccer game behind LC and friends during filming -and they looked absolutely ridiculous doing so! And not at all realistic.
Another thing I found strange was that while I was absolutely FLOORED to be there and it was one of the most exciting days EVER – I was also completely bored during the filming. As I said before, the cast wasn’t very interesting to watch at all – they pretty much just sat there for about three hours not really doing a whole lot. Audrina and her friends jumped into the pool for a bit and sat around drinking in there, but that was the only real action that took place. LOL I read an article yesterday, though, that said it takes Hills editors FOUR TO SIX WEEKS to sift through enough of the footage of Lauren’s daily life to put together ONE episode. So they must not really be all that exciting. LOL
The whole party had kind of a weird vibe, too. It seemed more like a Hills viewing party than anything else as everyone was literally sitting around JUST watching Lauren and the gang film. It was very obvious that most party-goers were there for the sole purpose of seeing The Hills stars live and in person. Like I said, it was bizarre. I must say, though, that I had a BLAST at the party and just being there would have been excitement enough for me for one day – but seeing The Hills cast in person and watching them film was truly the icing on the cake. I can die a happy woman now! LOL
The Hills new season premieres this Monday night on MTV. I am not sure when the Project Beach House episode will air, but I am guessing in about 6-8 weeks. I CANNOT wait to see it! All in all, the entire cast was there during the shoot, minus Speidi (who I would have loved to have seen!), Lo, and Brody Jenner. Otherwise the rest of the group was present – LC, Stephanie Pratt and what seemed to be her new boyfriend, Audrina and a new guy she was cuddling up with, Audrina’s tattooed sister and her boyfriend, Whitney Port, and Frankie Delgado. And even though the whole thing was a bizarre experience to watch, I still absolutely love The Hills. In fact I think I like it even more now.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Project Beach House is located at 32340 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. But sadly yesterday was the final day and the final party (until next summer, of course!) for the Project Beach House. I hear permanent residents are moving into the house next week.