There's no palm-tree-lined boulevard, or big white Hollywood sign on the hillside above, but make no mistake: what's going on inside a South Burnaby warehouse is pure L.A. magic.
Mr. Young, a show about a teen genius who graduates from university and returns to high school as a teacher, quickly rocketed up the popularity charts after its release in March of this year, becoming one of the top-rated shows on the Canadian youth network YTV.
But success on a global level is now just around the corner: Last week, the show's creators announced it had been picked up by Disney XD, which has channels in the U.S., the U.K., throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.
The show's growing success is due, in part, to two key components, according to co-producer Victoria Hirst - the format and the people.
Hirst, who spoke to The Record during a visit to the studio during the summer - when the show opened their doors to a young teen for a Make-A-Wish Foundation "wish granting" - says that the way the show is filmed, and the people who are involved, has helped it garner an audience beyond its targeted demographic.
The show is filmed in a 25,000-squarefoot Byrne Road soundstage in a multicamera, live audience format - not common these days - which gives fans the chance to come in and be part of the filming experience and also gives the actors a unique stage to work on.
"It really makes it a lot more dynamic, it's more interactive," said Hirst. "It's really more like a theatrical performance."
She notes that fans get the chance after the taping to meet the young actors and get autographs, which is fun for the fans but rewarding for the actors.
"(Being live on stage) you get that instant gratification, that audience appreciation," she said. "It's really a fun experience."
As for the second part of the equation, the people involved, Hirst gives credit to those both in front of the camera and behind it.
"We have a really great group here," she said.
In all, there's about 130 involved in an average episode, including extras, cast, crew and post-production staff.
And she's quick to dispel any of those typical teen-star myths.
"(The young actors) are fantastic. They're incredibly professional," she said.
Those stars include Brendan Meyer, who plays Adam Young - the title character - as well as Gig Morton, who plays Derby, and Matreya Fedor, who plays Echo.
On the day The Record visited the studio, both Morton and Meyer were onstage, patiently running and re-running a lengthy scene. With more than a dozen extras involved, minor changes in the pacing from one retake to the next required multiple stops and starts, but both of the teen actors took it all in stride, appearing as patient and enthusiastic as their older counterparts.
Kathleen Meyer, Brendan's mother, says being part of the show is like being part of a family - and that's not just a cliché in this case. She and the other "stage moms" help each other out when needed.
"We do spell each other off whenever one of us needs to work, or drive around another child," she said. "We are all in the same boat, so we try to support one another as much as possible."
Having the show based in Burnaby - though still far from the Young family home outside Edmonton - is ideal, says Meyer, noting that Brendan had just booked a pilot in the U.S. before taking the job with Mr. Young.
"As much as young actors dream of Hollywood, living in Hollywood North has been infinitely better for our entire family. We're close to our base in Edmonton, so my husband can fly easily out each week and my youngest son can continue his cheer program here in Vancouver where we have one of the top-rated gyms in Western Canada," she says.
Brendan's younger brother, Lachlan, who is homeschooled, spends much of his time on the set, too. Meyer says they have no interest in being pushy stage parents - the boys have been free to pursue what they've wanted to, and for Brendan, that happened to be acting; Lachlan is already eyeing a career as a chef.
"As a mom, there is nothing more fulfilling than watching your child pursue their dreams," she said.
The family has a temporary home in nearby New Westminster while the show is being filmed. They chose that community as it was already a "home away from home" for Kathleen.
"We love New Westminster," she says. As a teen, she lived for five summers in the city while her father worked on his master's degree at SFU. She says it's been a kick to show her kids places like Moody Park, where she used to work, or taking their dog out for a walk in Queen's Park.
"While the city has changed, it still feels more like home," she says.
But the Meyer family is just one of many made-in-Canada components in the show - the cast and crew are all Canadian, too, right up to the top boss.
The series was created by Toronto-born Dan Signer, who has had plenty of success on the American TV scene thanks to his work in hit shows down there, including as senior writer/producer on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and The Suite Life on Deck, as well as being creator of the hit Disney Channel show A.N.T. Farm.
As well, the show is produced by Thunderbird Films, a Vancouver-based entertainment company, in association with Corus Entertainment, a Canadian-based entertainment company that owns YTV, and distribution agent Nelvana Enterprises.
Right now, the show is filming 26 episodes for its second season; the first 13 episodes of Season 1 have already aired, and the remaining 13 episodes from Season 1 will be running from now through the fall. The show airs on YTV Tuesday nights at 6: 30 p.m., Saturday at 6: 30 p.m. and Sunday at 8: 30 p.m.
The show's demographic is firmly in the "tween" region -ages eight to 12.
But show publicist Julia Frittaion says the show has been drawing fans of all ages. Each Friday, the show opens its doors to a live studio audience, she says, and they often see return visitors of all ages and backgrounds who are big fans.
Anyone interested in being part of the audience can book free tickets by emailing mryoung email@example.com or calling 604-433-0779.