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The Dream Factory

Peek inside the Warner Bros. Studio lot with deputy editor Nancy Miller

For our annual Best of LA edition, we wanted to do something completely different in the pages of this year’s August issue. So we chose to devote 20 pages—the entire feature well—to a photo portfolio showcasing a wholly unique Los Angeles industry: The Hollywood studio. As editor-in-chief Mary Melton puts it in her editor’s letter, studios “are not only our steel mills but our Lands of Oz, emerald cities lorded over by wizards where strange and beautiful visions are realized.”

To realize our vision—the Hollywood studio as a dream factory—we tapped renowned photographer Dan Winters to shoot behind the scenes of one of our favorite back lots: Warner Bros. We chose this particular plot of 142 acres in Burbank because it has been the backdrop to some of our favorite films, from Casablanca to The Maltese Falcon to Ocean's Eleven to Inception. Nearly 90 years in, Warner Bros. is still the place the greatest movie directors and producers call home: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, John Wells and Ben Affleck to name a few. In fact Ben Affleck, who has set up shop on the studio lot with longtime writing and producing buddy Matt Damon, perfectly describes the role of the studio in the 21st century as America’s last great industry: “Entertainment is now our country’s biggest export. We don’t sell much of anything anymore, but (the world) still wants our movies.”

Dan Winters’ rich and rare images—from the prop house to the soundstages—reveal more than the credits of any film ever could: the magic and mechanics of the Dream Factory.

Photographs by Dan Winters