while La La Land - Filming Locations: Mia's Big Break / Audition

Location #47:

Mia's Big Break

( Audition )

Q.  Where is it supposed to be?

1:36:06:  We are never really told where this is supposed to be taking place, other than that it is the offices of Amy Brandt, a major casting director.

We see Mia and Sebastian sitting nervously in a waiting room, waiting to see Ms. Brandt, the woman who has asked Mia to audition for a big movie ( after seeing Mia perform on stage in her one-woman show ). 

Eventually, an assistant opens the door and another pretty actress exits, walking past them ( reminding Mia of her audition insecurities ), as the assistant shows Mia into the office, where Amy Brandt and a director ('Frank') sit behind a desk.

They tell Mia that their movie will shoot in Paris, that they have no script, and that "It's going to be a process - we're going to build the character around the actress. It will be a three-month rehearsal and a four-month shoot."

They then ask Mia to tell them a story.  She is somewhat taken aback by this request, but they remind her that "You're a storyteller", and repeat the request.

She tries to think of something to say.  Because they mentioned Paris, Mia is reminded of her aunt, who used to live in Paris, and who used to come home and tell her exciting stories about her adventures abroad.

Mia then launches into the song "Audition" :

Q.  Where was it really shot?

In the film, there is no real indication of where this audition is supposed to take place.  It's just a basic office and waiting room set.  And normally, I wouldn't even list it here, because I generally define a "location" as a place in the real world, either an exterior that fans can drive past ( such as the murals or the Rialto) or visit (such as Fern Dell or the Observatory), or at least a real-world interior that is unique enough to identify with certainty.

( I included the Warner Bros backlot earlier because its possible for the public to take guided tours of the lot and see much of what they saw in the film. )

But normally, I wouldn't bother listing an interior set like this.

I'm doing so for three reasons:

One is that it is an important, memorable moment in the film, so people are bound to ask about it.  The second reason is to simply be complete. ( I've listed all the other locations, so why not include this one leftover? )  And the third reason is because I read the La La Land script.

In the original script, this was supposed to take place at Paramount Studios, and was originally supposed to include a short scene of Mia & Seb walking through the studio lot:


A cloudy late afternoon. Mia and Sebastian slowly walk
through the lot together. They pass the New York street, the murals and posters of classic Hollywood, the old Art Deco ornaments and the big soundstages and backdrops. Neither says a word...

As someone who has toured the Paramount Studio lot more than once, I think that brief, missing scene would have added a nice touch to the film.  Paramount has a colorful, traditional back lot; its famous Bronson gate was used to effect in several films ( including "Sunset Blvd." ), as a symbolic entrance into Hollywood stardom.  So the scene at Paramount would have helped frame this as the moment when Mia is discovered by Hollywood.  But alas, it didn't happen.

And all we're left with is this interior office scene.

Since we never see an exterior, and this sort of simple interior could have been shot literally anywhere,  it's not surprising that it was filmed on a simple set in a relatively mundane part of Los Angeles.

This scene was filmed inside a rental stage called "Riverfront Stages", housed inside a nondescript building, tucked away in a semi-industrial area, just east of Griffith Park, in the Glendale/Atwater Village area.

It's about six miles north of downtown L.A.

And it's literally right next to the famous Forest Lawn Glendale ( the final resting place of Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Clark Gable, among others ).

Their official address is:  3061 Treadwell Street, Los Angeles.

Here is a Google StreetView of the exterior:

Riverfront Stages is one of several "rental stages" around L.A. that supplement the larger movie & TV studios by providing a number of standing sets where filmmakers can shoot for a fee. 
So, when a production doesn't want to take the time to build a new set of their own ( or a small production can't afford to ), they can save time & money by simply renting these pre-made sets for basic scenes.

Other such rental stages include Los Angeles Center Studios, Willow Studios, Air Hollywood, etc,, in addition to the smaller studios such as Sunset-Gower, Hollywood Center studio, and The Lot.

They are sort of the indoor version of an independent movie ranch. But where movie ranches usually offer wide-open rural spaces, independent production stages stick to the kind of small indoor sets that are in high demand on a regular basis, such as the inside of a jet airliner or a lawyer's office.

Riverfront Stages is best known around Hollywood for its courtroom sets, which come in handy whenever Hollywood needs to shoot a trial scene ( which is often, in Hollywood ).  Besides those courtroom sets, Riverfront also has standing interior sets of a bar, a jail/prison, a hospital room, a morgue, an interrogation room, a basic townhouse apartment, and general offices & hallways.

 During my various hunts for locations, I've encountered a few scenes from TV shows and movies, filmed in the "courtrooms" at Riverfront Stages, including "How To Get Away with Murder".  And now we can add La La Land to that list.

(You can find more info on their website, here.)

Here is a link to a Google Earth 3-D view of the building.


Move on to the next movie location seen in "La La Land".


"La La Land" and its images are copyright Summit Entertainment
The rest of this page is copyright © 2017-Gary Wayne - All Rights Reserved

Or return to the Seeing-Stars home page.