“Gossip Central” being the NBC/Universal lamp dock.
Since the merger, that lot’s been insanely busy, so there are a ton of folks there, and since ‘Uni’ doesn’t deliver equipment to your stage (Sony, Culver, Raleigh, and some of the smaller ones do, Uni, Paramount, Disney and Warner Brothers don’t), you and the rest of the crew have to take a truck to the dock to pick up your equipment so everyone who’s on the lot rolls into the lamp dock at least once a day.
This is a good thing, as I’ve almost always gotten work by bumping into someone I know who’s ‘picking up guys’ and gives me a call. Even if no one’s picking up (hiring), there’s always new folks to meet, old friends to see, and stuff to hear..
The story that’s currently making the rounds is that a guy (grip or electric, I’m not sure) at Disney got fired for looking at a woman. Apparently, Disney has a sexual harassment policy in place that states if you look at someone for more than three seconds, that’s considered sexual harassment and is punishable by immediate dismissal.
So, dude looks at chick, a passerby tattles, and he’s fired on the spot.
I’m not sure how true it is, as there was no name attached to it. The story was just told as “this guy got fired”, which makes me think it’s an urban legend, but I’m not sure.. I’ll have to read the sexual harassment policy really carefully next time I’m at Disney (which isn’t that often).
Universal is also unique in that it’s got those studio tour trams going through every 10 minutes. All of the studios have tours, but they’re much smaller. At Universal, in the summer, the trams come through every five minutes, and they’re packed.
Universal makes much more money off the studio tour than they do off the studio itself, so any action on the part of a crew member that’s seen as even remotely aggressive towards the tourists will result in immediate dismissal. This means no contact at all with the folks on the trams. No talking, no waving, nothing – if even one person complains that you seemed aggressive or scary (scary is very possible when it’s hot and the rigging crews look like homeless people – you get really, really dirty and sweaty when you rig, and it’s worse in the summer), the studio security will come and find you and throw you off the lot. I was on a crew with one guy who said something to another crew member that someone on the tram found offensive, and he got kicked off the lot, so all of us try to mind our P’s and Q’s when the trams go by.
Luckily, the trams make a really distinctive noise, so there’s a bit of warning when one’s coming – you’ve got a few seconds to finish the dirty joke or pull your pants back up if you’ve mooned someone who’s working in the facade across the street (those buildings you see in movies – if it’s a movie filmed on a back lot – are called facades. They’re just the building fronts, with an enclosed scaffolding system behind them so that you can put lights or actors in the windows).
The other rumor is that an actress (name withheld as there’s really no way to ‘fact check’ this and I don’t want to get sued) once decided to show her tits to a tram, and was immediately permanently banned from the lot – I think I believe this one, as showing her tits is something that I can see this woman doing, and I’ve never, ever seen her on the lot.