Driving around the studio in a golf cart is way more fun than it has any right to be.
I drive to work at 70 miles per hour. Or possibly 5mph, depending on traffic. In any case, I have air conditioning, a stereo, comfortable seats. Basically, my car is a superior vehicle in every way.
Yet somehow, scooting between the stages and trailers at just over walking speed is endlessly entertaining. I feel like I’m nine years old, again. I cannot for the life of me figure out why.
For those of you who don’t know, most productions rent a few golf carts for shuttling people around. On larger lots, like the major studios, carts are practically a necessity.1 They’ve been modified to seat four people, rather than two, so you can shuttle more people around.
I’ve been on shows where the production office, the art department, the post department, costumes, and the writers office were all in separate buildings, spread around the four corners of the lot. I measured it on Google maps once, and it was a mile and a quarter loop. Even if I was running, that would take too long to distro paperwork on foot.
On big lots, several departments get their own carts. The writers tend to get one, so they can run back and forth from the writers’ room to the set. (Obviously, one of the assistants drives; you can’t trust a producer to not run over random pedestrians.) The costume department needs to be able to shuttle actors from their dressing rooms to the wardrobe cage, lest the actors have to walk.
Less often, grips, electrics, and camera will get a cart. Because, you know, why would the guys with the heavy equipment need a vehicle to get around?
There’s really only two things you need to remember about taking care of the golf carts: first, plug them in at the end of the night, or they’re not gonna work in the morning; second, unplug the cart in the morning, otherwise someone’s going to drive away and yank the cord out of right out of the cart battery.
And by “someone,” I mean me. I totally did that. Don’t you do it, too.
- I hesitate to say an actual necessity, since I know these studios have been in business since at least the 1920s, well before electric carts existed. The PAs must’ve gotten around somehow. Their feet, maybe? Nah, that’s crazy.↩