Son2 is an aspiring cinematographer. He has his own YouTube channel with more than 100 original videos he has created. At age 10, he knows more about editing software and filmmaking techniques than most adults. He has an obsession with Red cameras, the professional cameras used to make the feature films we see in theaters. One day while perusing the Red Studios website, we discovered Camp Red, a 2-week filmmaking camp for kids ages 9-16 held at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. We were more than happy for him to attend Camp Red, except for the fact that it is not a sleep-away camp. That meant either my husband or I would have to take him and stay with him. Fortunately, although I work in an office, I can do most of my work remotely so I decided I would try to make it work. After locating a reasonably priced two-week rental on VRBO, we signed him up. It was the two weeks directly leading up to our planned summer vacation in Wyoming, so we quickly switched our United award flights to Wyoming so that we departed from Los Angeles instead. Somehow I managed to convince the United agent that since I had 1K status when I booked those flights, I should be able to change them without paying any change fees, even though I no longer had any status! I then used Rapid Rewards points to book one-way flights for all of us from BWI to LAX. Son2 and I would depart on July 21, and my husband and Son1 and Son3 would join us the following Friday. This would mean I would work for the first week, my husband and I would work/vacation the second week, then we would move on to a full week of vacation in Wyoming. It really did play out like that. While Son2 was in camp each day during week 2, my husband and I spent some of each day working and some taking the other 2 kids to see the sights of Hollywood.
Turns out, Camp Red was awesome! He had such a great time and learned so much. The whole camp culminated in each group making their own film, which was shown on the big screen at the historic Saban Theater in Hollywood on the last night.
While we were in Hollywood, we visited the following attractions: Griffith Park Observatory (all 5 of us), Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits (4 of us while Son2 was at camp), Sony Studios Tour (Son2 and me before the rest of the family arrived); Warner Bros. Studio Tour (4 of us while Son2 was at camp), and Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame (all of us). We also saw Monsters University at Disney’s El Capitan Theater. My husband and Son1 tried to get in to see the Jimmy Kimmel show, but didn’t make it through the standby line. My husband also visited the Petersen Auto Museum and did the private vault tour, which he rated as excellent.
Although we rented an apartment through VRBO for our two-week stay, a problem with the unit meant we couldn’t stay there for 2 nights. The owners nicely put us up at the Lowes Hollywood Hotel. The hotel is conveniently located on Hollywood Boulevard, right in the heart of Hollywood, close to all kinds of restaurants, shops, and attractions. The location was perfect if you wanted to do any sightseeing. When you stepped outside you were right at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. We had a two-room suite which included a bedroom, a living room with pull-out sofa, and an enormous bathroom. We also had an amazing view. This was truly a bonus and was like a little vacation within our vacation.
Dates: July 21-Aug 3, 2013
Flights: Son2 and I flew BWI-LAX on Southwest. I used 14, 217 Rapid Rewards points for my one-way ticket, and his ticket was free using my Companion Pass.
Accommodations: We rented a small apartment through VRBO.COM for $1500 for two weeks. It was within walking distance of Camp Red’s location at Paramount Studios right in Hollywood. Since it had a full kitchen, we were able to eat many meals there, which cut down substantially on food costs.