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Hollywood Is Running Out of Tombstones

The new golden age of television has brought shortages of studio space and production staff.
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Photo illustration by 731; Photos: Alamy (21); Getty Images (1)

There’s a tombstone shortage in Queens. Eclectic Encore Props, a prop rental shop in the New York borough, is down to its last fake memorial, its stock of more than a dozen having been signed out to TV shows filming in the city. That’s left three series vying for the remaining grave marker. “They all need my tombstones because they’re all shooting scenes in a graveyard in the same week,” says Barry Godin, who works at the store. “When it rains, it pours. That’s happening more and more often.”

An explosion in American television production is threatening to overwhelm filming facilities from California to Canada to Georgia. Everything, including props and construction crews, has been scarce during the spring pilot season, when dozens of episodes of would-be series are churned out. Vancouver ran out of studio space, forcing casts to work in abandoned buildings, such as the former nut-processing factory where this season’s Wayward Pines on Fox is being filmed.