Well, today I thought that I would share about something amazing that happened to me. Every time I think about it I wonder if it really happened because it was one of the most surreal experiences I have had in my life! For those who may not know, I am a fan of Star Wars. I grew up watching the movies and they have seemed to have stuck with me ever since. One of my favorite things to do is to look up things about Star Wars. I love finding old behind the scene pictures of the different Star Wars movies with the actors and actresses. I love watching the clips that they have of behind the scenes moments and auditions. I love reading stories about George Lucas and how he thought Star Wars would flop. Obviously, it didn’t. I even have a little Star Wars collection of character figurines, t-shirts and all kinds of stuff.
Well, not too long ago I was able to go to Lucas Film Ltd. in San Francisco. It was unexpected thing that happened being as I didn’t even know that it was there let alone, that you could go in and see some of it. It was an amazing experience. I got to get a picture with the Yoda fountain that was in front of the building and then I was able to go inside the lobby and see a lot of the Star Wars exhibits. Then it got me thinking. I had heard about Skywalker Ranch which is a movie ranch and the workplace of George Lucas. I thought it would be so cool to get to tour it. So I went on Google to search it out. Well, it turned out that it is very difficult to get a tour at Skywalker Ranch. George Lucas prefers to keep it as a private facility. Even though I thought there was no way that I could go there; I would still look up things about it from time to time.
Well, one day I saw an advertisement for a contest. If you entered this contest and won you would win a trip to Skywalker Ranch, have a private tour of the ranch and be able to meet George Lucas and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a scam but, it turned out to be legit. So I entered the contest, eight times actually. Haha! But after I entered the contest I prayed and asked God if I could go. I wasn’t sure that God would work it out but I thought it never hurts to ask.
Well, the time came for the announcement of the winner and I didn’t win the contest. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t win but still said to God if there is any way that I can go I would still love to go to Skywalker Ranch.
Then, to my complete and utter amazement God provided a way. At that point, I was shocked. What I thought was a closed door wasn’t a closed door. God may have answered no to the contest but it was because he wanted to do it in a more special way. So on May 12th, 2014 I was headed off to Skywalker Ranch. I was pretty much beside myself with extreme excitement. I kept wanting to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. I believe I had a permanent smile on my face.
Well, I was allowed to bring some of my family members so we all piled up in our van and drove up into the hills of California. There were beautiful Redwood trees all around. The ranch is so hidden on the road that you wouldn’t know that it was there unless you were looking for it. We pulled up to a wooden gate and I wondered how we were going to pass through the gate as there was no one there. Suddenly, the gate slowly opened for us all by itself. I thought, “IT’S THE FORCE!!! YES!!!”
We started driving down the road and we came up to a security booth. We were questioned by the security guard who then made a phone call to our tour guide. We were given papers that we had to sign in order to go in. The security guard then gave us a map and told us where the tour guide would meet us.
We drove down a long winding road and you could see a garden where vegetables were being grown.
Just a little side note, George Lucas likes to grow his own vegetables instead of buying them from the store.
As we continued along the road, there was a baseball field. Then we came to this huge building that had ivy all over it. We parked our van by the wooden building as this was where we were to meet our tour guide. We met up with our tour guide and he took us inside of the building that is called the tech building. We were not allowed to take any pictures inside of any of the buildings but we were allowed to take photos outside.
The inside of the tech building was absolutely stunning. We were first led into a huge room with a polished concrete floor. The room had trees in it, tables everywhere and when I looked up there was a huge skylight that filled the room with light. We then went to our tour guide’s office where he showed us a list of different movies that he had been working on. He is a sound technician for Skywalker Sound. He works on different movies that they do the sound for. He was working on How To Train Your Dragon Part 2, Maleficent and some other movies as well. And yes, he had worked on the Star Wars Movies too. So Cool!!
Then he took us to their scoring control room where they work on recording albums and music for movies. He introduced some of the guys there that were working on some things. We were able to hear some of their stories about their experiences with different famous people who had come into record. Our guide then took us inside of their scoring stage where at times they will have an orchestra come in to record. There was a beautiful Grand Piano in the middle of the room. And on the front wall was a gigantic movie screen so the orchestra could play music to the movie that they would be making a sound track for. The walls in the recording studio had the ability to be moved to create the type of sound that they wanted. Even the floor had the ability to change the sound.
After that we went outside of the tech building through some different doors, we walked out on to a porch with a beautiful view of the ranch.
We then walked down a pathway of stairs and when you looked left or right there were rows of beautiful roses. The guide pointed out a rock that was there and told us that there was a video camera in it. Apparently, they have them everywhere. The pathway led to a gate and as we went through it there was a lake in front of us. This was no ordinary lake. It was a manmade lake that George Lucas wanted there. He calls it Ewok Lake. This was my absolute favorite as I love the Ewoks. So, when our tour guide said that we could get our picture taken there if we wanted to I was like YES!!! So I did!!
Our tour guide then told us it was time for lunch which I was quite surprised at as I didn’t know that we would be eating there. He took us to a building where the employees eat. I kept thinking I am having lunch by Ewok Lake this is so cool! I couldn’t stop smiling and had earned the nickname “smiley” while I was there. Even though, I am one who smiles a lot anyway it was obvious that I was on cloud nine. I am sure my smile was bigger than usual!
When we went to order our food, I realized that our tour guide was going to pay for all our lunches. So, I started concocting a plan of how I could pay for it. When he started to give his credit card to the cashier, my dad beat him to it and said he would pay for it. The guy said what do you want to arm wrestle for it? Everyone laughed. Then he let my dad pay for it.
As we were waiting for the food, we were told that George Lucas loves art and one of his favorite things is stain glass. So our tour guide told us a story about one of the stain glass windows that was in this building. They had been renovating the building and there was a particular stain glass window that had been there since the beginning. George Lucas was going to come in and look at the stain glass window to see if he wanted to still have it in the building. Well, the lady who had made the stain glass window had it wrapped up in this cloth and moved it into the barn that was on the ranch. There was a guy who had just started a job there and he was in the barn and was moving stuff around. He saw some cloths and didn’t think that there was anything underneath it and put his knee on the cloth and then realized the stain glass was in it. Unfortunately, it cracked but the good news was they were able to fix it and George Lucas chose to have it inside of the building. It has become one of the favorites.
During lunch, we heard some little tid bits about the upcoming Star Wars movie. It shall be interesting. Yes, it shall. After lunch the tour guide took us to the General Store there and we were able to buy some things in the store. So, I did not hold back and bought a few things. I thought, “I may never come back here so I am going to leave with some souvenirs.” So I have some little mementos from the ranch only to remind myself that I was there. Plus, the mementos are pretty cool. One of the things I bought was a maroon hoodie. Our tour guide told us that George Lucas loves that color so all of the firetrucks and vehicles on the ranch are in that color. We saw vehicles in that color driving around the ranch. I thought it made the hoodie even more special because of the meaning behind it.
Well, you may be wondering what happened next. But, I will have to save the rest of the story in a to be continued blog entry for next week. Only because there is a lot more to say. I hope you are enjoying what you’ve read so far. Stay Tuned!! Until next week!!