Steve Adcock's arms were folded, legs stretched out, a newspaper strewn nearby.

Here he was on a hot summer day in blue jeans and cowboy boots waiting once again for his number to be called at an office of the California Employment Development Department.

The unemployment office: a regular haunt of many of those who toil in the erratic world of motion pictures, television and the rest of the entertainment industry, was busier than usual this week. It was gorged at times, in fact, with those who have lost their jobs because of the three-week old strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

There are truck drivers like Adcock who work on independent productions, guest relations people at ABC, carpenters at Universal, secretaries at 20th Century-Fox, maintenance men at the Burbank Studios, mail room employes, special effects technicians and actors with potential projects now ground to a halt.

More than most, it seems, these people who attempt a living in Hollywood know what it's like to fill out the yellow, blue and white forms, then wait two homes hours for an interview that determines whether an unemployment check for perhaps $130 will start arriving weekly.

"In this business, you're never quite sure how long work will last," said Adcock, 31, who most recently drove trucks during the location filming of a movie called "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen."

"Work for movie companies and you might as well figure being off at least three months a year anyway between assignments. You make the money when you can, put it in the bank and live off it, during times like these."

While the total number of those who've lost jobs because of the strike has not been determined officially, estimates place the figure at up to 10,000.

Universal Studios laid off 3,200 persons and 20th Century-Fox dismissed about 400. A spokesman at the Burbank Studios (which encompasses Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros.) would describe the number of people fired there only as "massive." A peak summer work force there is between 4,500 and 5,000 persons.

At MGM, the cutbacks were termed "substantial" out of a usual compliment of 2,000 employes.

Only United Artists, which employs 40 people in Hollywood (the rest in New York), and Walt Disney Studios have not fired anyone.

Said Richard Kahn, MGM's senior vice president for worldwide marketing, motion pictue division, "We're continuing to refine and review twice a week. As the strike continues, there'll undoubtedly be more persons let go."

Joe Hiatt, vice president of MCA Inc. and general manager of Universal City Studios, said, "We've essentially ground to a halt, losing technical and support staff, secretaries, craftsmen, those that make a studio run.

"It's sad and distrubing. A lot of innocent people are being hurt."

The facility had employed 4,000 people at the time of the strike and was gearing up for a summer high of around 7,000 with TV and feature film production running full steam.

John Miller, 22, worked as a page at ABC studios in Hollywood. He and the 75 other pages making $4.60 an hour were laid off shortly after the strike began.

It was a first trip to the unemployment office for Miller. "It looks like it's going to last a long, long time," he said. "If it does, I could go back to what I was doing before -- waiting tables at a local fish house."

Vivian Sweet, the manager of one of the offices, has dealt for 19 years with those unemployed. She understands the traumas, the heartaches, the ego-deflation of losing a job.

"Entertainment people do seem to handle these things better," she said, "because of the very nature of their profession, working half a year, off half a year, working a week, off a week.

"But this can still hurt. In the present economy, losing a job can be devastating. And those we see now are not actors but the full-time support people from the studios -- clerical, maintenance, technical. They've been laid off as a byproduct of the strike."

There also can be bouts of ego displayed by a few who've earned big money in the past: "Some don't like to wait in line," she said. "They feel above that. But there's no differentiation here. Everybody waits in line."

James Heaney, manager of another office frequented by people in the entertainment industry, said that about 50 percent of the people who apply there for unemployment benefits come from the entertainment field.

"We have a pretty stable population, but now we're seeing people we haven't for years," Heaney said.

A 25-year veteran at the job, he understands the nature of those who visit the office regularly. "We know they'll be unemployed a lot," he said, "but actors and entertainment people would rather work then eat."