Apologies for lengthy review but wanted to try and answer the questions I had before our visit...
Managed to get 2 free 'stand-by' tickets for the show via the ticket website 30 days before filming. We were advised to be at 'Gate 8', across the road from the backlot, around 2:30pm. Not taking any chances we arrived at 11:00am and already 15th/16th in queue. First group in line had been there since 8:30am. Waiting area is under cover (parking lot) with benches, vending machines and toilets. Around 2pm a food truck pulled up outside for an hour or so.
By 2:30pm over 50 people in queue. At 4:00pm ticketing staff arrived and checked tickets/IDs. Around 60mins before showtime, after the VIP and 'priority ticket' guests had been admitted, we were told they had around 20 seats left for standbys. Sound Stage 25 holds around 200. In the end I would say 80 standbys were turned away.
The 20 or so standbys were then escorted to the backlot. The ticketing staff and WB security ask you to leave bags/cell phones in your car before leaving the parking lot. However, anyone not in a car, like us, could leave this with WB security, along with ID, at the sound stage entrance until after the show. We were also told that no memorabilia was allowed.
Unfortunately, being the last to be seated meant the only seats left were off to one side (in front of Penny's apartment and the hallway) with the VIPs in the centre section in front of Sheldon/Leonard apartment. There was a basic souvenir ‘programme’ on each seat. The MC introduced the cast then they played back an unaired episode.
The recording then began and the scenes filmed in order, even if it means jumping from one set to another and back again. Pre-recorded scenes are played back on monitors at the appropriate time in the story. The cast also re-enacted a 'green screen' car ride to record the audience reaction.
A couple of hours in, we were given pizza and water. Recording finished around 10:00pm, after something like 12 live scenes. A couple of the actors said a few words before we were escorted back to Gate 8. WB security will order cabs if required.
Overall, it was a brilliant night and great to see the behind the scenes workings of a show like this. One downside, apart from the seven hour wait, was the MC and his ‘audience participation’ between takes which was basically a platform for the attention seeking audience members to share their ‘talents’. Annoying but wasn’t going to spoil a brilliant experience we would recommend to any BBT fan, just get there early!
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