Torrance HS photo gallery

By Chris Palencia, 16, Torrance HS
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Do you ever wonder about the schools you see on film? Maybe you’re an ardent fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or have seen She’s All That. Well, if you have then you’ve come across my high school in Torrance, a middle-class suburban city about 20 minutes south of the Los Angeles airport.

Torrance High isn’t really famous for having any superstar sports team, but it has often been used for television and film production. Going to a TV school is not as glamorous as you might think. I’ve never met Sarah Michelle Gellar, and our student body doesn’t mingle with celebrities. We might get a casual glimpse of an actor, but most days, my school is just like any other high school. We spend our time the same way most teenagers do: worrying about school and tests and trying to have a little fun in between.

Productions don’t usually film during school hours so we only periodically get to see any actors or TV people. They don’t usually film all over campus, either, just in the "nice parts," like the front of the school, and interior courtyards that have appealing architecture. Even then, the places are much more dressed up than usual; we don’t have nearly as many potted plants as in the movies.

The school charges $3,000 to $4,000 a day for most shoots. Most of the revenue goes to the district, but our school does get some benefits. Film crews have donated new benches and bleachers at the request of school officials. One year, when students appeared in a Beverly Hills, 90210 scene, the production company gave $1,000 to the senior class for the prom. Auditorium seats were reupholstered with money from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and school officials hope to use money from films to fix a shabby school sign.

Recently Torrance was visited by a location scout for The O.C., which is shot in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, not Orange County. Miho Deranja said he was drawn to the school because "it has a cultural Southern California look and Spanish style [architecture], palm trees, tiles and arches. It’s stereotypical L.A." So maybe a while from now Torrance High will be on that show as well. In February, Torrance High will appear in the movie Cursed. But, for now, my friends and I will continue to be normal teenagers at our normal high school.

Staff writer Monica Maeng, 16, Van Nuys HS, contributed to this article.

The many names of Torrance High
John Hughes High ~ Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Gilmore High ~ Whatever it Takes (2000)
William Henry Harrison High ~ She’s All That (1999)
Alexander High ~ The Wild Life (1984)

Sunnydale High ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Los Feliz High ~ Skin (2003-cancelled)
West Beverly High ~ Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)