Friday, August 15, 2008

The Border Governors Convention Continued... I didn't see The Governator, but I did get close to a big screen legend!

Again, I worked a shift as an STA (Studio Tour Assistant) yesterday for a special event hosted by Governor Schwarzenegger.

I clocked into work at 4 p.m. and didn't do a damn thing until 6:30 p.m., when they transported us to our stations. I was with two other young women at the City Walk pick-up point.

[City Walk is sort of like an outdoor mall right off the theme parks entrance, except it's full of stores that I can't believe stay open... It has Lush, a soap store, as well as a store full of nothing but socks and a giant candy store! There's a Guess? accessories store, a Billabong, Sketchers shoes store, Hot Topic and a couple obnoxious Hollywood souvenir shops. The restaurants include a Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Tony Romas. There's also a movie theatre, a sky diving simulator and it's all complete visual over stimulation!

I recently wrote on the annual employee satisfaction survey that having to walk from the parking garage through City Walk to get to the employee gate is the worst part of my job! It's always god-awful congested with tourist aimlessly wandering. I understand that those tourist pretty much write my paycheck, but I swear, my legs are bruised from all the seemingly parentless children that change course in a split second and bounce right off of you and my stomach gets nauseated from the overwhelming stench of sunscreen! This will sound awful, but the demographic does not look to me like they could afford any of those stores or overpriced restaurants. I kind of feel like I'm on a busy midway of a county fair and I can not fathom why people are there.]

Anyway, some of the conference goers were at two different receptions at halls inside the theme park. When they emerged in smaller groups they hopped in vans or small buses to get down to the back lot gala. Only twice was there a surge of people that utilized our four-car tour trams, meaning I stood around for about two hours and closed only two tram doors.

I have to admit, it was an odd feeling for me; I'm used to being on the other side. For the past two years my partner and I have attended similar upscale conventions for his company, one in Las Vegas and a few months ago in San Diego. I'm normally the woman in the fancy party dress and high heels, with a glass of wine in hand enjoying the free food, as opposed to the insignificant hourly employee in the horrible uniform. Unlike events I've attended, these folks were all scanned with hand-held metal detectors and all purses were inspected before they boarded a vehicle to go to the gala!

Once all the guests were at the gala, we were on an hour meal break. A co-worker who was lucky enough to be stationed on the back lot to open the doors said Damian Lewis, the star of NBCs crime drama LIFE and another actor whose name he couldn't remember rolled up on a golf cart and took pictures on the events "green carpet."

"Why the hell were actors at a conference about border relations?" I asked. We're still not sure... My co-worker also saw NBC's president and Mexican dignitary types who he didn't know, but not The Governator.

Around 10 p.m. we all loaded into a van and headed down to the back lot to load the now even more drunk government/corporate officials and spouses. Our tour guide dispatch/break room building overlooks the back lot and San Fernando Valley and it was an absolutely gorgeous view of the city lit up below us. On the way down we took a road that is not part of the tour and that I've never been on - we went right past a camp of 8 to 10 trailers belonging to the actors of Desperate Housewives! We were dropped off on the side Sound Stage 50 which houses our Earthquake animation, a pretty boring part of our back lot. Nonetheless, I was in awe! Even though I drive through the lot giving tours all the time, standing on the lot is still overwhelming. Plus, it was cool and creepy to be there at night! The nearby western sets looked especially spooky in the dark!

We stood around chatting while loud dance music and yellow and purple lighting poured out of the nearby Little Europe/Square of Warriors sets. As anticipated, the party goers left in even, small groups in the vans and small shuttles. The trams, drivers, STA's and bilingual guides waiting nearby were never used. Around midnight we loaded back up and left.

On the way back to up to clock out, our van driver went off road and onto the dock of the Jaws animation to give us a closer look at Bruce, the mechanical shark. Each night he's lifted out of the water, which was pretty damn cool to see:

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