This essay by Conan writer Todd Levin about the status obsession in LA is a fun, if slightly depressing, read. Here’s what he has to say about parking on a studio lot:
It’s not just people; even the places in Los Angeles are designed with subtle status-checking devices. The studio “drive on” versus “walk on” is a classic example. Those invited to drive directly onto a studio lot are imbued with higher status, while the rest are forced to park across the street in a (filthy! disgusting!) parking structure, then exit said structure, cross the street (for everyone to see!) and walk through the studio to your meeting (like a fool!). It’s sort of brilliant in its simplicity, and you can be sure if you tell a group of friends that you had a meeting at that studio, one of them will ask, quite naturally, “Drive on?” Your answer may depress you, which just means the system is working.
He goes on to wonder whether the super-successful people get to park inside the building, but I’d go even further. Maybe they just never have to get out of their cars, ever. They have meetings from within in their cars and go to brunch in their cars and THAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR PIXAR’S CARS! I’ve cracked the Hollywood code. Boom.