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Monday, May 19, 2008

Warner Brothers Studios

I am a former guide and I know a good tour when I see one, the WB
tour is not one of them. Guests are promised a behind the scenes look
at a working studio in progress.... We had strict instructions not to
let guests walk away from either the carts or if walking to take photos
for security reasons. In no way are guests permitted on active
shooting areas to include sound stages or other areas of the studio
where active filming was to take place. No photos: guests could only
take photos in certain designated areas and only under the
supervision of a guide, mostly the back lot area and only when their was no
active filming. Absolutely no photography of sound stages or the front lot
or of any talent.

According to the official Warner website: "the WB tour is the best
kept secret in Hollywood and every day is different you might see
favorite star or actual filming of that favorite TV show or film."
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the tour is
structured only to lure guests into cheap exhibits, and induce guest
back to the store and spend more.

to accidentally stumble in front of your cart, rest assured you will
not meet them, you WILL not have a photo taken with them.

One small area of the transportation department was separated in an
old garage via plastic/vinyl white tent like structure, the cheapest
material they could find to make this tourist display. You could also
hear the garage crew working on vehicles and sometimes smell exhaust
fumes from the neighboring garage area.

Not only did the tour exhibits have ventilation problems but the
studio museum air conditioner had been on the blink for the past
and would work in the morning but would go out in the afternoon. This
was to prove a huge mistake as several guests have passed out in the
hot exhibits. Many older guest who have trouble walking are not
allowed to sit in the cart unattended and have to leave the tour, no
refund is offered.

The studio had the idea of setting up a photo display with the old
Dukes of Hazard General Lee stunt car. We were told to bring the
guests back to the gift shop and influence them to buy the cheesy
photos and other merchandise at inflated prices.

The amount of time wasted trying to get guests to spend more money in
the store, as opposed to spending time in the few interesting studio
departments you can still visit is not worth the price of the tour.
The real issue is that do people really want to do a cheap photo by
old stunt car in a humid garage or see the workings of a real studio?

See these links:

Recent sources that have worked the summer 07 season and been
dismissed have outlined an interesting series of events.

DEPARTMENT!" It seems that the employee rights have been curtailed
more then increased at Weiner's by denying employee's the use of
computers for Internet and job related duties. The computers that
to be in the tour department (except those used by the manager or at
the ticket counter) have been removed because the guides were
obsessive about watching for updates on the Weiner blog or constantly
tuning into the blog. The blog created such a stir, that people were
checking it constantly... This computer section was a row of eight
terminals by the tour management office and an outside desk for the
manager of retail. I guess they just couldn't' bare to see their tiny
empire crumble before their eyes. The guides used the computers to
watch the Internet, a more useful aspect of the computers was the
Excel program they used to fill in the guide reports. So the reports
are simply done by hand now and are watched by managament as they are
filled in and then corrected.

Much tension exists between the guides and management as the union is
keeping a close eye on the department. I hope a seniority system is
now in place and guide hiring and retention is based on ability and
not looks. I also hope they raise pay and observe fair lunch and
rules. I wonder if I can get a refund for my dues?

The Weiner Bros. studio propaganda department is in full swing with
the current director and manager of the department planting many
positive reviews even one from Burbank. In a Yahoo review section at
this web address:

The reviews run like a tour brochure, the planted reviews were
to counter a host of real negative reviews and boost the tour. It is
no surprise instead of fixing the problems with management and a bad
tour, they simply continue to stick their head in the sand and in
crack down within the department. On November 18, 2007 they have
planted yet another false glowing reviewing entitled "Great Tour!"

This seems to be an expanded review that was taken from a prior
positive rating with the same title from 3.20.07. The prior review
although shorter has almost identical basic content as the November
posting, i.e. everything is great except the museum which is average
but you only spend a short time there so it is OK.

Here are some sections in brief:

Go to Universal or NBC instead!

We just took the Weiner Bros tour yesterday because I had family in
town and wanted them to have a good time. I myself am a local here.
The 42.00 tour was disappointing to say the least and I would not
recommend it. I have to admit, I am shocked at the positive reviews I
read, the people must be rich and don't care about money or are
desperate for Hollywood. You don't get to see any shows being filmed
and certainly not any stars, but I think what was disappointing the
most was the fact we wasted so much time driving around looking at
outside of the sound stage buildings, though we were told what shows
were filmed in there, what is exciting about staring at the outside
a building?

Almost every place the guide took us, she informed us we were not
supposed to be there, but she would be a "rebel" and take us anyway!
If we weren't supposed to see the sets for shows, what were we
supposed to be seeing? Their big claim to fame is the Weiner water
tower, not near as much fun as taking Barham off of the 101 and
getting close to the Hollywood sign.

At the end of our tour, our last stop was the Weiner museum, where we
were told we had 8 minutes to view it. You couldn't possilbly see
anything in 8 minutes much less read any thing about it. She kept
telling us we would have to "come back" to be able to take more time
in the museum, well we felt we had paid for that privelege THIS TIME,
why would we give them another 42.00 at another time? It's
boring and over rated. Go to NBC for the 8.00 tour and see the set of
the Tonight Show and Access Hollywood. Go to Universal and see Jaws,
King Kong, actual movie sets, special affects and all day
You will get more for the 50.00 you spend there as opposed to the
42.00 you pay at Weiner.

"Overall, our experience was terrible. The unfortunate thing is that
the experience is still ongoing. The golf cart that we were
to wasn't safe mechanically. It would jerk backwards and forwards
every time the driver started to move. My guests and I questioned
whether the cart was in safe working order but the guide said it was
the worst cart ever but we'd go ahead anyway. We should have insisted
on getting on another cart because we got terrible whiplash. In
addition, the speaker system wasn't working so those of us towards
back half of the cart couldn't hear a thing of what the guide was
saying. The guide didn't seem to care much at all about her job and
if she was trained well for her job, it certainly didn't show.

The guide took a corner too sharply and ran up the curb into the
garden. She stopped and asked if anyone was hurt. My friends told her
that I was hurt because I'd had my elbow slammed into the arm rest
with the sudden stop going up the curb. Despite knowing this the
kept driving and crashed into a concrete barrier. My friend and I
both hurt with whiplash and contusions.

She recommended we be taken offsite to the hospital for treatment at
their occupational health unit. We were told that all expenses would
be covered by Warner Bros. We waited for the taxi that they paid for
and we went to the hospital. Following receiving treatment at he
hospital we finally got to go home. After all what should have been a
fun day of sightseeing was a six hour nightmare. Fast forward three
months to October and we received a medical bill from the hospital
for $180. I called the VIP Tour Manager to ask why it wasn't taken
care of and I was told it would be paid by the insurance company
away. Fast forward another two weeks and I received the exact same
medical bill this time saying that I was late with payment. I called
the VIP Tour Manager again and I was told that it would be paid the
same day, that if the insurance company hadn't paid it by the
afternoon then it would be paid on the office credit card.

Fast forward to the following day and I received a call from a very,
very rude insurance agent asking me if I'd paid for the hospital
bill. I immediately called the VIP Tour Manager to find out what was
going on. No returned call as yet. So nearly four months later I am
dealing with this nightmare and I wish I had never chosen to take my
visitors to the Warmer Bros tour. As far as what you see on the tour,
I tend to agree with some of the negative reviews. You don't get to
see any stars or inside any of the working studios. You just get to
drive around and see the outdoor sets (fronts of houses, street
scenes etc). We also saw the Museum which consisted of costumes from
different shows, it wasn't very big and didn't take more than ten
minutes to see. All in all, I'd say take your money elsewhere."

If you have a complaint, you might want to also write to the studio
president and let him know what is going on with the tour department
and studio, please send correspondence to:

Alan F. Horn President and COO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Warner Brothers Studios
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA. 91522


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one persons opinion. I have been an client of Barbara's for many years and have not seen unprofessional behavior during my visits. I believe that this a nasty rumor propagated by competition in this small town. If you feel that public defecation is needed then that is your childish right, but in my opinion this is a very professional company and deserves positive recognition.