Ghost Town

You can always tell if it’s the Friday before a three-day weekend on a studio lot. The place will be a ghost town. Yesterday was no different. We were cruising around in our sad little golf cart passing row after row of empty parking spaces. Streets between sound stages that normally bustled with activity were quiet.

Studio executives usually take most if not all of that day off and it starts a cascade down to all employees. Those of us who end up actually doing work on that day feel a bit like Robert Neville late in the afternoon on a cloudy day.

Yesterday I didn’t really remember that it was a three-day weekend until I walked into the commissary for lunch. Usually the various food stations have long lines of people waiting for a sandwich or “make your own pasta” or some cooked meat on a bun from the grill. Normally my food for the day is determined by answering the question, “What line is shortest?” Yesterday I had my pick since all lines were nonexistent.

After collecting my penne, chicken and marinara and paying for it. I walked into the dining area. That’s when it really hit me. “Oh yeah. I don’t have to go to work on Monday. And I still get paid for it.” There are probably 50 tables where you can sit down and each your lunch at the employee commissary at Universal. On a normal day at about 1pm 48 of those will be filled with people eating, laughing, reading and generally taking a break from the day’s duties. Yesterday there were people at 4 tables. One of those was occupied by people from my own crew who had gone to lunch a little early. Another held several of the picture editors from “Battlestar Galactica” who are at the other end of the hallway in our building.

It’s days like these that make me feel like the entire world around me has shrunk down to the handful of people I see every single day. The rest of the world must be empty space because these are the only people that seem to exist. It’s a strange feeling. If it weren’t for the trams full of tourists driving by my office window every 5 minutes on their way to see the backlot, the falling bridge, the flood, King Kong and all the other little mini-attractions, the picture would have been complete yesterday. We definitely would have been a little island of Robert Nevilles surrounded by a sea of emptiness. At least until dark.