Today we began our day at NFL Network meeting with Omar Ruiz, a Syracuse Alumni. It was incredible to be in Culver City, CA at the NFL Network studios on the first day of NFL Free Agency. We started our tour in the “bullpen”, of the office, where all the preparation for all the shows and interviews are conducted. It was really interesting to hear how the NFL Networks goes about conducting and arranging their daily interviews for NFL Network and NFL.com. What makes the NFL Network so unique is the fact that they have the freedom to cover all NFL teams, all the time, and they have the ability to expedite interviews and news by having “Team Cams” in every NFL team’s training facility. Today being at NFL Network on the first day of Free Agency, we had the opportunity to see the “Team Cams”, being tested and used as teams such as the Ravens, Browns, and Dolphins all made big news on the first day of Free Agency, making for an eventful day at the studios. It was great to tour the buildings of NFL Network and NFL.com and to see so many Orange Alumni throughout our visit; it’s true Syracuse is all over! When we were standing in the lobby waiting to begin our tour, Andrew Siciliano, a host on NFL Network said “Oh don’t tell me, another Syracuse group?”, it was great to see him walking to the studios this morning drinking his Starbucks, and within an hour later, as we walked onto the live set of Free Agency Frenzy, there’s Andrew again speaking with Jay Glazer on live television, right before our eyes. As we were getting ready to leave, and exchanging our business cards, who do we run into coming into work, none other then 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, Warren Sapp. So, Is It Football Season Yet?
After our visit at NFL Network and a tour of the FOX lot, we then visited FOX studios, and specifically we got the opportunity to tour FOX Sports, courtesy of Jack Simmons, a high executive of FOX Sports. We were given a wonderful presentation by Mr. Simmons, Eric Shanks, Larry Jones, and John Entz, even though Mr. Simmons poked fun a couple times at Syracuse for losing to Georgetown earlier in the week. Some of them were even graduates of SU! It was amazing to see SU graduates in LA and hold such high executive positions. Most executives have also been working for FOX Sports since it was created back in the early 1990’s! During the presentation, Mr. Simmons fired us up with the unveiling of FOX’s new TV network, FOX Sports 1. FOX Sports 1, according to Mr. Simmons, is a new network to rival networks such as the NBC Sports Network and ESPN. FOX Sports 1 will cover a wide range of sports, from baseball and football to college basketball and college football, and show different talk shows like ESPN currently does. Mr. Simmons made the point that “ESPN is a monopoly and can charge whatever they want for their product, and with us producing FOX Sports 1, there no longer is a monopoly.” He then went on to explain how FOX Sports 1 is trying to revolutionize TV. They are even implementing a new double screen where you can see the game in the top right corner while watching the ad on the screen. After Mr. , Eric, Larry, and John presented, we then went downstairs to take a tour of the main studio in which most talk shows are filmed, such as the NFL pregame/halftime/postgame show with Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan, and Jimmy Johnson. Screens were everywhere showing soccer highlights, and clips of soccer players, similar to the set at NFL Network we witnessed earlier in the day. We were even standing on a replica soccer field! The studio was an amazing sight to see. After seeing the studio, we then walked to one of the control rooms, in which much of the editing is done. Mr. Simmons finished up his presentation there, and we concluded touring FOX Sports, and went on to having lunch at the commissary, a place where famous people have eaten, such as Marilyn Monroe.
Today we had the privilege of getting a behind-the-scene look at Fox Studios. As piled out of the bus to meet our tour guide, Michael Peters, we were walking right onto part of the set for the hit TV shows Bones and How I Met Your Mother. Mr. Peters explained that we were standing where many TV shows, movies, music videos, and commercials had been filmed. He told us that in order for a TV show to actually make a profit, it needs to be on the air for four or more years, which is very interesting to think about when considering all of the shows that fail to last that long.
Next, he took us inside a building where we were able to walk through the other parts of the set for Bones. We walked through the house, laboratory, and offices that appear on the show. Mr. Peters said that all of the features on the set are functional. For example, the faucets in the house can produce water and the fireplace in the home can be used. It was incredible to see how meticulously set every piece of the production was placed. Every toy, book, lab gear, and all other pieces were carefully placed to appear as real as possible.
After touring the set of Bones, Mr. Peters brought us to Building 38. This building is where all of the post production of movies occurs. This includes all of the editing, addition of sounds, and music recording that is implemented into the film happens. Mr. Peters said that Fox is the best at performing this task. This is evidenced by the current 3-4 year waiting list to reserve a spot at the building and the previous films that have been produced there, like all of the James Bond films, Pirates of the Carribean, and the new film Battleship to name a few . We had the privilege of going inside this building to see the work being done firsthand. First, we went to the scoring stage. This is where all of the orchestras and bands record the songs for the films. This room was originally built in the early 1930’s and is where Shirley Temple was recorded. Then we moved to the Foley Stage, where the sound effects are added to movies. As we all crammed into a small editing room, we were able to witness a man add the sound of footsteps to actor Vince Vaughn in his new movie with Owen Wilson. This was one of the coolest things to see. First, the editor adds the footstep noise without any other sounds from the movie. Then, he combines the newly applied sound with the rest of the film. This must be done for EVERY sound that you hear in the movie. This means every footstep, door slam, faucet drip, and any other sound must be carefully added to the film. Mr. Peters said that these workers end up watching the movie more than 100 times before finishing the job. This concluded our tour of the TV and movie side of Fox Studios. Mr. Peters was extremely knowledgeable about the studio and provided us with great inside information. Our next stop for the day was the sports sector of Fox Studios.