Just on the outskirts of northern San Francisco, George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch is located in what seems like another world. Tucked in the rolling hills of Marin County, California, Lucas achieved his goal of having a vineyard with a Tuscan feel, and scenery that looks like it was CG’d just to make sure the experience of visiting couldn’t possibly have been more perfect.
On the ranch is Skywalker Sound. Anyone in the industry of movie making dreams of producing their work here. With 153,000 square feet of work space, the Technical Building, Skywalker Sound was built by a filmmaker for filmmakers, which features a world-class scoring stage, six mix studios, ADR and Foley stages, 34 editing suites, and a 300-seat screening room. The list of movies worked on here is long, but to put it into perspective, Marvel has used Skywalker Sound for many of their films, including most recently Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor and Captain America.
Skywalker Ranch Tour
I was very honored to have had the opportunity to visit and tour Skywalker Ranch as part of the press event for LucasFilm’s new animated feature film Strange Magic. While there we got to screen the film, interview Eijah Kelley, Director Gary Rydstrom and THE George Lucas. But I will save all that for my upcoming posts. While at Skywalker ranch were given an exclusive walking tour of the grounds and I made a few Vine videos as well as took what photos I could to try to bring this very special experience to you.
Once arriving to Skywalker Ranch, we went straight to Skywalker Sound where we got to screen Strange Magic in the iconic Stag Theater. Imagine, the theater George Lucas built, for perfect sound and visual. And not only to watch a film there, but to have Mr. Lucas sit right behind you! I could hear him sharing his thoughts prior to the film with Elijah Kelley. Even mentioning this is the first time he was watching it to completion. That was just pretty darn special.
I walked around and took some photos and videos before heading out for a walking tour of the rest of the ranch.
After the screening and interviews, we headed out to see the rest of the ranch. When walking out of Skywalker Sound, we first went through an area that was lovely. This is an area set up to take a break with feeling more like you are at home than at a working production studio.
Walking out the back, this is what I saw. Simply breathtaking!
The property also includes the iconic main house and the beautiful man made Lake Ewok, which is stocked with fish for fishing. No one, not even George Lucas, actually lives on the ranch. However, there is Skywalker Inn, which accommodates personal guests, as well film makers and those working on post-production.
Clients utilize our spectacular guest complex, featuring one, two, and three bedroom suites and apartments in a warm and inviting bed and breakfast setting. Many of our guest rooms have fireplaces. Some have kitchens. Each room is uniquely decorated and is equipped with a home entertainment system, telephone, modem, fax port and high speed internet. The cozy Living Room, gracious Dining Room and Kitchen of “The Inn” are open to all guests for their use and relaxation.
Continental breakfast is provided daily. Lunch is available weekdays at the Main House Dining Room or Fitness Center Salad Bar and Grill. Arrangements can be made for a catered, delivered or self-cooked dinner or guests can explore the diverse selection of excellent restaurants in Marin County and San Francisco.
While staying at Skywalker Ranch, guests are welcome to use the Fitness Center and shop at the General Store for souvenirs. The Fitness Center offers state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a pristine 75′ x 25′ heated swimming pool, racquetball/volleyball, handball court, half-court basketball and aerobics room. Bicycles are available for transportation around the ranch.
We walked around the gorgeous Ewok Lake over to the Fitness Center and General Store. The walk is beautiful.
I had to get something from the store of course. But there were T-shirts, stickers, wine, wine glasses, hats and so many things to buy.
After the General Store, we made our way to the Main House. This is where George Lucas has his office, his assistant works out of there and it’s where some big meetings are held. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside. Which I understand, for it keeps it very exclusive, but man, the memorabilia alone had me in awe. There is a case when you first walk into the main house that houses some of George Lucas’ favorite treasures. There is Indian Jones’ hat, whip and the holy grail! Charlie Chaplin’s hat. A light saber that went into space! Yeah, it’s insanely amazing!
The library houses over 30,000 books. With a special case for Lucas’ copy his book Frames, see video!
The experience to sum it up in one word was just special. I am ever so grateful to Lucasfilms for this experience. More to come on Strange Magic soon!
STRANGE MAGIC opens 1/23/15
*I was invited by Disney to take part in the Strange Magic Event. All opinions are my own.