Filming and Movies, Los Angeles
One thing they don't mention on the studio tours is that a lot of what ends up in a movie or tv show isn't shot at a studio. Southern California is full of on location filming and if you want to try to catch some while you're visiting, here are some tips.
A lot of productions use bright yellowish-orange signs to lead cast and crew to the filming site. They will have a big arrow and some type of abbreviation of the show's title. So, for example, a movie titled "Virtual Tourist" would have a sign that said Virtual or Tourist or even VT. If you have the time in your schedule and you pass one of these signs, follow the arrows and see where it takes you. Film locations will be easy to spot because there are always a lot of trailers around (they haul everything from the camera equipment to the wardrobes) and big, bright lights.
Once you find a filming site, bear in a mind you may not be allowed to stay and watch. If you are, you have to be very quiet and cannot take pictures while they are actually filming. You also want to make sure you park your car somewhere that is not in the filming area. Anything that causes the crew to have to wait or reshoot will be severely frowned upon because the saying "time is money" is very true in the film industry.
If you don't have a lot of time on your visit and can't just drive around following signs, try going to downtown LA on a Sunday. There's almost always something being filmed down there and Sundays are popular because the traffic isn't as heavy as a weekday.
Another thing to keep in mind is that lately a lot of banks selling off foreclosed homes have been using those bright yellowish-orange signs for their repo/open houses so not every sign that color is going to be for filming. Be sure to read exactly what the sign says before you waste any gas following those arrows.
This tip is for drivers and pedestrians.
Particularly on Sundays, film crews choose to shoot on some busy downtown streets. A few times, I was caught off guard by this, causing me to miss a few bus connections. Walking away from the shoots, I have found myself disoriented. Drivers get frustrated enough with the one-way signs and the film shooting is just another pain as they have to be diverted.
One of the age old traditions of Hollywood is the Movie Premier. A few months back when I visited I happend to accidently run across the premier of the Kid's Movie "Kung Fu Panda".
I was very happy as seeing the location of 'Beverly Hills, 90210 (American long run drama)' at Melrose Avenue. But in fact this shop was empty at that time...