The words “on location” evokes a sentiment. It’s a throwback term, harkening the feeling of RKO studios and Charlie Chaplin. This is a time when Hollywood was the end all be all in the industry. Nowadays, with multimillion dollar films, cost comes into play. That fact alone has sent various productions into far off places where the words “tax exemption” is the new “on location.” There are a few productions that have decided to film in our Orange County. Here are some of the locations the film industry uses time and time again without us even knowing it.
Irvine, CA 92618
From “Iron Man” to “Transformers” to various commercials, the go-to location that screams “upscale corporate headquarters” is located in Irvine. The company makes everything from skin care products to shower heads to necklaces. What else do they make? A fair amount of money renting out their building to various production companies and studios for filming.
“The Backup Plan,” “Marmaduke,” the TV show “Master Chef” and the pilot for USA’s “Graceland” all feature Huntington Beach in their scenery. Who can blame them? There’s hardly anything more scenic than the Huntington Pier, with Ruby’s dangling out over the water like a carrot for many a weary surfer. Sunsets here are more often than not second to none and the shops that grace the main drag here have reached iconic status because the production companies can’t stay away.
Just down PCH from Huntington Beach is Main Beach in Laguna. Laguna is set apart from all the rest. When locations scouts need a shot of a tranquil beach sunset, Laguna is where they get it. While beautifully setup for a file footage shot, there have been a few productions who have brought in their entire crew to shoot here. “The Savages,” “Death and Life of Bobby Z,” and the TV show “Laguna Beach” have all made a part-time home in this picturesque city by the sea.
Tustin Blimp Hangars
The Tustin Blimp hangars served as a service, support and materials hub for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. These imposing structures are located off the 5 Freeway at Red Hill, close to the 55 freeway. While they look unused, parts of the hangars had to be cordoned off for the duration of numerous shoots. Features like “Hit And Run” starring Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, and Bradley Cooper and J.J. Abram’s “Star Trek” featuring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have been shot here.
Old County Courthouse
211 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
If your needs are “historic, official feel”, “relative quiet” and “clandestine shooting experience”, the Old County Courthouse is where you look. Built in 1900, it is still an operational courthouse. The building doles out wedding licenses for everyone in Orange County. No one knew the crew from “J. Edgar” was even there. Additionally, Ryan Murphy chose this location to shoot exteriors for his latest show “American Horror Story.” Its classic early 20th century architecture paired with its placement — a hop, skip and a jump from LA — makes for a perfect place to get that old feel without inconveniencing anyone or announcing to anyone you’re actually shooting something.