My name is Chas Demster and I live in Warsaw, Indiana. I am in my 40s and one of my biggest hobbies is visiting filming locations from my favorite movies and television shows. Since I live in Indiana I am not too far away from the wonderful city of Chicago so any time I get the urge to take pictures I am not that far away. For years I been interested in seeing filming locations in person. There is something neat about standing there and looking at a filming location where movie magic happened years ago. For the last 4 years I have made a trip to Los Angeles and set out on an adventure to visit as many filming locations as possible which always ends up being so many that I wonder where the time went as before I know it I am heading back to Indiana totally sad that the trip is over.
How I Got Interested in the Hobby:
When I was 13 years old, my now deceased family friend from Chicago Mark Schnolis asked my family if we wanted to see where a couple of locations were filmed from the movie "The Blues Brothers." He took us over to the 95th Street bridge which the Blues Brothers jumped in the movie and then to the Triple Rock Church. I was instantly fascinated at seeing these two locations and every time I saw the movie I would tell my friends about seeing these places in person. This lasted all the way through college when one of my friends asked why I didn't have any pictures of them.
The Obsession Has Now Started:
A few years after I graduated from college any time I went somewhere the camera would always be with me. I happened go to Georgia for a short vacation and visited some of the locations from "My Cousin Vinny." I got my pictures and had to show them off to my friends and they seemed to like them and before I knew it we were watching the movie again and comparing the pictures to the way the movie looked. I was so hooked that soon after that I was in Chicago taking pictures of those Blues Brothers locations I visited as a kid.
I Needed to Feed my Obsession but How:
All I knew was that I had a bunch of favorite movies in my mind but I didn't know where these filming locations were from these great movies. I learned that as these movies were being released on DVD that a lot of them had director's commentary and sometimes they would say where a certain location was so here I was writing it down and keeping notes in a small notebook for the next time I was in Chicago. I can't tell you how many times I yelled at my screen when a location would go by and nothing was said about it. HA
I Needed to Start Thinking Outside the Box:
Besides the obvious street signs in the background or the name on a building I needed to think how could figure out where these locations were. I know that maybe I could find information on the internet as there were some great websites out there including a great site on the filming locations from the John Hughes movies which can be found here: John Hughes Filming Locations This site definitely fed my hunger for Chicago filming locations as they did a bunch of research.
My First Movie Location Hunt in Chicago:
One day my late father and I headed to Chicago with many maps in hand on where to find these places. By the time we were finished I felt we had been through every northern suburb of Chicago. On my way home all I could think about was developing my pictures so I could relive the experience and pop in the movies to watch them again.
The Invent of the Digital Camera:
I think the digital camera was meant for people like us, the location buffs, as the thing I learned when being at these locations was to take many pictures from different angles as you never know when a picture could be blurry or just not look good. When you have that digital camera you can choose which picture to print.
The Obsession Has Now Grown All the Way to Los Angeles:
I thought to myself that if I have this much fun in Chicago with this hobby then I wonder how many locations could I find in the filming capital of the world in Los Angeles. Back in 2001 I knew very little about the city and here I was again looking for websites that may possibly have information on filming locations. Well one day I found my holy grail in the website called Seeing Stars.com I would go there night after night writing down addresses of places that I wanted to see some day. One day I figured what the heck I should write an e-mail to this person to say thank you and it turned out being now a 7 year friendship.
Learning From the Master:
Gary from Seeing Stars started teaching me the tricks of the trade on how to properly find these filming locations. He taught me about the different types of neighborhoods there are in Los Angeles County. He told me about Bing Maps or at the time called maps.local.live where you could use the birdseye view and you could go up and down the streets of neighborhoods trying to find buildings, houses, etc. He also taught me how to look at shadows in scenes to show the possible view the camera had which can get you started looking in the proper direction for places. Eventually Google street views started coming along and it gave us a new perspective on finding things. The most important thing the master did for me was give me his time. Even though he is a very busy man he will always be there for me to help out by either looking for it himself or tell me a certain area to start looking. He is so good at finding things!!! I can't thank Gary enough for all he has done for me in this obsession of mine and because of that I will always take time to look for him and try to help him out too.
A Few Tips On Making Trips to Los Angeles:
My favorite vacation is my yearly trip to the great city of Los Angeles. Even if you are not into seeking out filming locations there are so many other things you can do there. The weather is usually great which always helps when taking pictures. Besides taking the trips to all of the towns the surround LA for filming locations remember there are three studios that can be a lot of fun to tour. Every year I have to take my annual tour of Warner Brothers as that was the home to my favorite show Gilmore Girls. Paramount Studios and Universal Studios are supposed to be great too but so far I have not been to either of them yet but some day I will. Make sure you take advantage of going along the Pacific Coast Highway and also seeing the Santa Monica Pier. If you want to get away from the city life and still want to be close to the city then you need to visit Griffith Park. There are great views too. If you want to see a lot of filming locations in LA but are scared of that traffic you hear about then do a lot of location stalking on Saturday and Sunday mornings as for some reason very few people are out during that time. This includes seeing stuff on the Sunset Strip and the best time to go to downtown Los Angeles.
Thank you for visiting my website and please stop back as I will always be adding new stuff to itsfilmedthere.com