The ATS Team’s production shop is pretty much the Willy Wonka’s factory of American Ninja Warrior obstacles. After an obstacle has made it through brainstorming and drafting, the prototypes and final products are made right downstairs in their Pacoima, CA warehouse.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at what they’ve got going on down there.
A full metal shop
Brian Fowler heads up the The ATS Team metal shop. His domain is loud and full of sharp objects. He’s responsible for building the skeletons and foundations of the obstacles.
A full wood working shop
After the metal shop, the obstacles head over to Erik Petko, who leads the wood working fabrication. His domain is also very loud and full of sharp tools. When you see the course on TV, you wouldn’t expect wood to be a key ingredient of the obstacles, but it is.
The paint studio
After metal and wood, obstacles are coated in a polyurethane that’s similar to what’s used in truck bed liners. Then the red and silver paint we’re so used to is applied, giving the course that glossy, finished feeling.
The ATS Team is constantly working to refine their production process. It used to take a couple of days to build a Warped Wall. Now, they’ve got it down to six and half hours.
The inner workings of many shows
It’s easy to spot the American Ninja Warrior obstacles around the warehouse, but you’ll also notice some crazy looking things you’ve never seen before. The ATS Team works on multiple shows simultaneously. The team is constantly pushing themselves to be creative and avoid too many repeats.
A Warped Wall graveyard
The noble Warped Walls, the iconic obstacle of American Ninja Warrior, meet their final resting place behind the ATS warehouse. Some of the walls will make their way into new projects, but some will just enjoy the California sun for awhile.
So much safety equipment
Safety is absolutely key to the success of ATS. They need to keep the Ninjas safe and they need to keep themselves safe. There are walls of mats. There are layers of tiny pieces of cushioning to cover every bit of exposed metal a Ninja might hit.
For The ATS Team members there’s a cave of harnesses, helmets and rigging equipment, meticulously organized, so grabbing the tool need to do a job well is never a hassle.
Hints at obstacles to come
If only we could tell you the things we saw! All The ATS Team members can have a hand in designing obstacles. There’s rough sketches and blueprints everywhere. It’s an obstacle buff’s candy land.
Signs of The ATS Team family
ATS is an extremely tight knit organization. They take trips together routinely. They share catered meals on a daily basis. Their style of collaboration and camaraderie creates an atmosphere of kinship.
The production floor is full of evidence to this effect. Little personal items, inside jokes, and even pictures of the newest ATS members adorn the walls.
More on how American Ninja Warrior is made
- 5 things you should know about the team that builds the courses
- The ATS Team is coming up with new American Ninja Warrior obstacles right now
- Behind the scenes where the obstacles are born
- Meet the green hats, the people in charge of the American Ninja Warrior course
- The past, present and future of the company at the core of the course
- The other insanely cool things the company the makes the course are doing
- Get your hands on the course as a tester
- Jen Hansen has the coolest job on American Ninja Warrior
- Meet the man dedicated to destroying Ninjas
- What you need to know about being an audience member
- 5 surprises from the American Ninja Warrior production trailer
- How many people does it take to pull off an episode of American Ninja Warrior?