Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Screaming through the Woods

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

I was approached by a pair of guests and asked a series of questions which gave me the indication that perhaps they were press or at least some bloggers. I wanted to give them more time, but being in my position, I had several people to attend to all at once. When answering “yes”, to their “Are you having fun?”, They assured me they weren’t supervisors and that I could be honest. A moment’s thought and I honestly answered, “yes, I was.” Despite it feeling so disasterous, I was genuinely enjoying my crazy night.

I got myself up before ten yesterday morning to join some roommates for Dim Sum somewhere over in San Gabriel Valley, but, as part of the group opted to just not wake up at that hour, I wasn’t inclined to be a third wheel. Instead, I enjoyed several more hours of sleep. This was a far better option. If I didn’t have to work tonight(last night at this hour), I’d’ve been more inclined to add myself to the dumpling consumption team.

On the way to work, I spotted a Google Maps car, with its odd camera set up, sitting like an oversized antenna above the vehicle. Made a note to remember I saw the thing just so I could tell you, but I realize that’s only interesting and not terribly important.

Today was parking relocation. This means we park in a structure down in the studios while regular employee parking is opened to guests. This also means we have to wait for a shuttle to take us from there all the way up to the park, or rather, one of those employee only locations that most of us need to visit before we start our working hours. Luckily, I could clock in there on time instead of late at our breakroom located at one of the opposite ends of the park. Tomorrow, I’m heading in early to avoid this rush to be in on time.

Still had to head to the break room to put together what would be my paperwork. It’s all done on computer and I carry around a PDA with a special Excell program to keep track of everyone. I had 14 people to be responsible for, plus myself. Of course, since there are a limited number of available PDAs, I sat and waited to use one from a Day Ops lead giving me one more thing to be late down at the Terror Tram.

When I arrived, barricade set up was nearly finished, a couple choppers were buzzing around and we were alerted to the fact that the press was coming. You may have seen some live broadcasts some time past eleven. Univision was infront of the Psycho House, where I myself was standing to cover someone sent to lunch.

I had a hard time not laughing at people who jumped at being scared. They popped out at or near me a few times, making me jump. Despite knowing where the ScareActors were hiding, they still got me a few times. Heck, because I’d stare at the brightly lit PDA, I was startled several times by people not intending to scare anyone. Employees appeared out of thin air because I was unable to notice their approach.

I may have given out the first breaks a little too early, but I did manage to give every single person a 20 minute break, and, suprisingly, everyone under my watch was granted their 45 minute lunch. Plus, they were rotated through positions a few times. Suprise, I did it. Now I’ve got to try and do it all over again tomorrow.

It was a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s nice to get that last group walking through to tell you it’s all over and you can go home. We start heading off the hill. Some time later, the sound goes off and all you hear are the real crickets who’ve been trying to compete with all the recorded screams and man-eating animals. A bit later, and all the lights go, you’re left in the dark, and you’re still waiting for that wheelchair for that one guest who can’t take the rest of the walk cause her feet are too sore and she’s just too tired.

At the end of the night, I lost one. She never returned from lunch, which delayed the last few lunches. A second was lost as well in one of the other areas. Their flashlights were returned. I can only assume their radios were returned as well. Perhaps they took off early thinking they were done, as if the event continuing around them wasn’t enough of a clue to the contrary.

Yes, some people got hit, and someone threw up, and certain skunky odors where present, but I caugnt most of that only on radio and I had plenty of my own stresses to get through. Tomorrow night(or tonight, depending on how you look at it), is the first Saturday. While tonight had large crowds and the press going through, Saturday will probably be expected to be even more crowded. While you, the guest, has a great time, I’ll be running around trying to sort through you while I sort through my own people.

Peace. Goodnight/morning.

And then it Began…

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing to have your weekend in the middle of everyone else’s week. The stress of crowds disappear at the end of Wednesdays and on into Thursdays. This is a luxury I suspect I shall lose come the last two weeks in October. For now… after the only Tuesday of the event, I was glad to run away and hide in my cozy little hole I call my bedroom. End of the hall means you stop before you get to the place.

Anyway… why bother telling you that? Simply put: Tuesday was a disaster. Oh, it started out alright, but then a series of things began to crash into each other causing the pile up that was Employee Preview night. Success if you came wandering through for your amusement, but I was left feeling like a bit of a frazzled mess thanking the turn of the Earth that it wasn’t 2AM yet and I could still buy a cocktail with which to lick my wounds.

I can only hope it didn’t rub off on the newbies and most if not all of them will be there come Friday’s event night. Even better if those two who called out decide they actually do want to work at an amusement park in the middle of the night in the woods next to the Bates Motel. And that’s not a metaphore. If you’ve been there; if you plan on coming, you’ll know.

I should find my flashlight. It’s dark in the woods at night. Now where was in my brother hid the damn thing?

Three people recieved lunches, including myself, four people recieved breaks. Could have been the other way around. Lead who covered me when I left to eat, not realizing how late into my shift it was, told me he was afraid to mess with my board. My board was a slobish thing as it was. Too bad it was too dark to see anyway. My plans fell apart on me from the get go anyway and park guests were only just then arriving.

And only now do I realize maybe I shouldn’t be writing about all this, when any of you could betray my thoughts to your crafty little plots of destruction. This isn’t weakness, my audience. It only makes me stronger for the following weeks. Do not let my blathering nonsense detour you from coming. We all had this domino colapse together. It was fun. Fun to fail despite not aiming for the fail. And it wasn’t terribly noticeable how awful it was. I’l bet it was crazy everywhere. First dress rehearsal. Thousands of things go wrong and it’s awesome to be a part of that. If you don’t stumble and fail your way through to the end how will you know how far you’ve gone to get to the pass? Success is far more satisfying after you’ve fallen on your ass and kept going.

Anyway… I shall return some time before Saturday’s run to spill everything I can about what happens Friday. For better or worse and with all the excitement I can muster. Crossing my fingers the excitement won’t include too much of my own blood.


Enter the Crew

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Today, we(the five leads) introduced ourselves to the full crew of what was 46 yesterday. 50 before they started. Sadly, it’s expected this number will continue to drop throughout the length of the event. Our challenge then is to keep as many as possible till the end.

I had to introduce myself first since we were doing it by seniority. I gave my name, mentioned I’d been here for four years(and a half, really), and then said something about us all being here because we loved Halloween. Then the other four gave about as much info. Before hand, there were firing squad jokes and a short chat about Black Ops and shooting zombies.

So we went through everything again. Twice through each position. Seems they’re getting it. I’ve heard too many horror stories of the past where people didn’t know where they were going or did things that didn’t make sense. None of these people seem dumb. Or maybe that’s just me and my silly belief that everyone’s smart enough to “get it”.

Yesterday, and again into today, I kept thinking about how this feels like a reality show. I even mentioned it, but I doubt the person I mentioned it to was listening. The reality genre being akin to Survivor, of course. We’re out on the backlot, near the woods on the property. There’s quite a lot of nature on Universal’s backlot and you don’t really think about it untill you’re walking in it. Yesterday was when I finally accepted “World’s largest working studio & theme park” as truth and not just because I don’t think there’s any other film studio with a theme park on the property. It’s huge. The tour doesn’t really show that very well.

Anyway… there are a few things about the event that haven’t been shown. We know certian things must be done but we won’t be able to get them down untill the whole thing begins. Tomorrow night is the first night of actually doing anything. A dress rehearsal for all of us. We’ve been warned about things that will happen. Unpleasant things. And they will be mentioned in future updates, with limited details, of course. Those are exciting things.

Tomorrow night, everyone will be dressed in their black robes and given their flashlights. ScareActors will be in position, ready to scare park guests, music will be on, fog machines will be running, special lights will be on, and many people will be screaming. This is the first big test for all of us. It’s one thing to know where you’re supposed to be, but the stimulation is different.

It’s going to be awesome.