Once I'm over the bridge and past the arch, a whole new row of studios and stages cover the block.
JeverTree, with its massive Research and Development Building, towered over the campus under the shade of its Tree-like silhouette. Below, at ground level, sat tens of designers with ridiculous goggles over their eyes, manipulating the settings of their games with nothing but their hands and voice requests. The old Paramount executives wouldn't be rolling in their graves now- they'd probably be skipping through this complex, with massive dollar signs replacing their pupils.
My silent golf cart whizzes by as I turn down Sycamore Boulevard. (Yes, this complex's streets are named after trees. Yes, I get the coincidence of that.) As I head down towards 10th Street, I notice a massive truck pull down Cedar, the street parallel to mine. I drive up a little faster, passing the Iribe building and the glass-covered copy of the original Oculus Rift, to watch the truck as it turns down 11th. My plan worked; it actually did turn down that street, so I followed it like I was James Bond in some twisted remake, with a gruff American following the North Koreans' plan to hypnotize the world using new VR goggles.
The truck stops mid-turn, only to start backing up towards a suspicious looking building devoid of any front decor or anything. The steel paneling looked fresh, while gardeners hadn't yet planted the flowers in front. The shed looked like it was built very recently, with construction workers finishing the touches on the roof. The solar panels turned the roof into a futuristic dome from the movie Year 3000.
"Gently, GENTLY! I don't want this waiting to be for nothing!"
His voice sounds nasal, like a young blood, but deep enough to be in control. He could either be angry or that's how he always sounds.
"Hold the camera steady. Good! Good! Bring it down gently, gentlemen! Steady!"
The massive wooden box looks more like illegal firearms than some big new technological breakthrough. As I watched from the cart, I noticed that that guy dressed crisply in a two-piece suit. While wearing matching sunglasses and two-buckle shoes, the young man spewed out so much technical jargon that it sounded like a whole new language.
That must be the new director Mark was talking about. He seemed like he was grown from engineered seeds made in Silicon Valley, watered from the cisterns in New York and came back to LA for the hell of it. That guy looked so full of talent that he could have made a billion dollars by now- but decided not to so he could have some more fun. Yet he moves loose but purposeful. If I really thought about it, I could name one or two workers there that were so nervous at their job, it could become a running gag amongst the crew to remind them that it was "Lights, camera THEN action".
By the time I finished snooping around, I call my driver to pick me up at Paramount Arch in 15 minutes. He saves the questions for the ride back.
As I drive the cart back, I realize that the nostalgia had seemed to wear off. The busy streets went silent, and with them went the tour groups, to my disappointment. I glimpse at the sun's descent like it was fireworks. A chilly breeze tickles my arms as I park the golf cart in the parking lot, the key still near the ignition.
Two minutes later, a sleek limo pulls up to the front of the arch. I take one look back at it as a nostalgic friend, because soon it will be in exhaustion after working on such a big project again.
The poker game is at 8. I'll have to check if I have $200 for the house charge. I'm craving some Cobb salad tonight, freshly made this afternoon...