My Visit to Lucasfilm, San Francisco

lucasfilm-signageI’m here in San Francisco to participate in the terrific Dad 2.0 Summit this weekend, and as with every year, the organizers have done a fantastic job of getting people and companies involved as sponsors, and lining up really fun things to do. One of the sponsors of the event for the last few years is LEGO and this year they went all out, arranging for us to have an evening event at Lucasfilm, an easy bus ride across the City from where we’re staying.

Lucasfilm. Home of Star Wars, Pixar, the Droid Works, Industrial Light & Magic.

That Lucasfilm.

Really fascinating to visit their facility that I’ve heard much about over the years, not just based on the astonishing output of the company and its creative teams, but also as a model of how to redevelop an old military base (The Presidio) to invigorate a cityscape. The facility is properly called the Letterman Digital Arts Center, replacing portions of what was the Letterman Hospital, and is about 15 acres, including 900,000 square feet of office space and a 150,000 underground parking facility. And it’s beautiful.

But I know, you don’t really care about the history of the building. You want to see pictures. Well, some of what we saw on the big screen I can’t share with you, but it was as much about LEGO as it was Star Wars, and it was definitely entertaining. That’s all I got for now on that subject!

First off, the ILM Screening Room, complete with huge LEGO logo:

lucasfilm-theater-with-lego

This had an amazing sound system, as you would expect from a company that develops audio effects for so many movies. I mean, really amazing, deep, loud, encompassing sound. Very nice!

The lobby at Lucasfilm is full of really interesting props and miscellany, muchly from Star Wars (which justifiably is still the heart of the company), like this gun that Han Solo (Harrison Ford) used in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back:

han-solo-gun-prop

(sorry for the awful photo. Hard to capture it with poor night-time lighting. Still, pretty cool prop, eh?)

After our screening experience, we walked through the Lucasfilm facility to grab a bite at the Commissary. Along the way I spotted a few interesting things, including this poster from The Abyss at the bottom of a stairwell:

the-abyss-poster-stairwell

Can you see that guy hiding behind the plant too? Any guesses who he is?

There was also a vivid poster for the upcoming Disney film Tomorrowland that was a nice juxtaposition with the Star Wars Storm Trooper:

tomorrowland-poster-storm-trooper

There were a lot of Storm Troopers scattered throughout the facility, actually. They must have had a lot of spare costumes after the last Star Wars filming!

There were also lots of great old movie posters — almost all Italian, for no obvious reason — like this one from Lawrence of Arabia:

lawrence-of-arabia-poster

And funny fund raising posters focused on various causes.

When you’re Lucasfilm, however, and have the talent tucked into that building, your posters take on a bit more verve:

sully-vs-chewie-trivia-night-poster

I would totally go if I could. And I think the smart money’s on Sulley, personally.

The most dangerous place we walked past, hands down, and one where it was so lucky it was closed:

lucasfilm-store

I can only cringe at the thought of how much money the over 100 Dads from Dad 2.0 Summit would have spent in the company store, had we the opportunity. So better that it was closed and we funnel that energy into buying LEGO Star Wars products instead. 🙂

And finally, after such an interesting evening, it was perhaps inevitable that the Storm Troopers would take me away…

dave taylor star wars storm troopers r2d2 lucasfilm

A really fantastic evening at Lucasfilm, even if we didn’t get to see any footage of Star Wars: The Force Awakens while we were in the ILM Screening Room. Perhaps next time I get to visit the facility!

One comment on “My Visit to Lucasfilm, San Francisco

  1. When I created my movie room (OK, Man Cave) I bought a poster of “The Hustler” to hang up in it. For some reason I bought the Italian movie poster of the film. Felt kinda hip/artsy in doing so. Now that I know Mr. Lucas himself is a fan of that move I feel slightly cooler. I’m a Dad. I need cool points now and then!

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