I’ve experienced the wind-down once before, during summer hiatus between seasons 2 and 3. Between 3 and 4 I missed it, since I was trapped in my apartment after getting foot surgery instead.
The wind-down comes after we finish filming, which we did on Thursday. Everyone gets their wrap days, cleans out all their shit, and says, “See you in a couple of months.”
Except this time, nobody has any fucking clue when we’re going to see each other. Up until Thursday night, I had some confidence that this could be settled soon.
Then this hit, and it became clear that this wasn’t a realistic offer, and even more dreariness descended upon us.
So everyone wished everyone else a Merry Christmas, a joking “Happy Strike-atus!”, and offered our fervent, probably false hopes that we’d see each other again in January.
Normally, during the wind-down, everyone knows we’ll see each other in a couple months. This time, if there’s no settlement by Christmas, nobody knows.
The problem is, everyone needs to eat, and if the strike goes long enough, we and every other show around will probably lose half our crew to features, if not more. So we say goodbye and see you soon, and hope to hell that’s the case.
This is a time that’s very odd for me as well, since working for the one and only non-writing Executive Producer who’s there day to day, I’m going to be one of the last people out.
I’m exceedingly lucky that I’ve worked twelve months a year for the last two years, and I’m even luckier that I still have a job when the vast majority of my friends are going to be unemployed after tomorrow.
Were this a real hiatus, this would be simultaneously the worst time at work, but the best time out of work.
Worst because there’s not generally a ton for me to do except take the occasional messenger run up to our corporate overlords in Universal City, and some research that I beg for to keep my brain from rotting.
Best because I actually get out of work after ten hours at 6pm, early enough to feel like I have a normal job for once in my life. During the summer, during real hiatus, it’s early enough for me to go for a bike ride down to the beach.
But it’s strike-atus. It’s the middle of the winter, and unless I leave at about 3pm, I would never get home with enough light to make it to the beach before the sun set and the temperature dropped precipitously.
So I’ll wander in to my apartment complex in the dark, worried as hell about what happens after Post finishes and my presence becomes even more redundant.
And I’ll enjoy the last few episodes of my favorite shows as the networks burn them off, waiting for an RSS bulletin or a phone call or a news flash while flipping through channels to tell me it’s finally over.
And then we’ll slam back into gear, and I’ll be busier than ever. But I sure as hell won’t be complaining about how much work I have to do.