Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Tuesday photos, or that one time I went to jail.

There aren’t a whole lot of options available, if one needs to shoot in a jail. For obvious reasons, shooting in a working prison can be.. problematic, so we’re restricted to closed jails, which, in Los Angeles, means either Sybil Brand or Lincoln Heights, depending on if one wants ‘old timey‘ jail or modern jail.

For the past few days, we’ve needed modern jail, so we’ve been at Sybil Brand.

It’s been shot so much that it’s getting hard to tell what’s the original prison and what’s sets, but please enjoy some photos:
Height of technology, 1963

Hang up



Do NOT touch!

What freaks me out so much about Sybil Brand is the complete lack of anything plastic. Due to what I can only assume was budget, the prison wasn’t updated at all before it closed, so it’s a treasure trove of silly looking stuff that was the cutting edge in 1963:

Height of technology, 1963

And now it’s all in limbo, pending a review of how best to spend the taxpayers’ money – renovate or rebuild?

Until then, it’ll stay a shooting location and dog training center:


Dog training course

Filed under: camera, locations, Photos, Work, , , , , ,

One Response

  1. A.J. says:

    The first time I shot there, I thought the suitcases in the hallway were part of set dressing or something. We were tempted to move them out of our way until we realized what they really were.

    The second time I was there, I learned that some of the buttons still worked in the guard areas. The on set dresser was fooling around with them when one of the cell doors next to me slid shut and he couldn’t figure out how to get it back open.

    Another popular place for prison scenes is the Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility down in Whittier. There’s also another prison up by Lancaster where shoots will occasionally go, but that one’s still a working prison. Mostly for illegal immigrants or something. All I can say about that one is make sure you study the crew map before you go or you might end up down the street at the maximum security prison there. I may or may not be speaking from experience. :)

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