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Where to get PA or camera asst. jobs


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#1 9Bruin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:29 PM

Where are the best places to look for production assistant or camera assistant jobs? Preferably non-union stuff. I've been running a videography business for 3 years and am ready for something more substantial. How do I find it?

Any reply is a good reply.

tks
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#2 Frank Barrera

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 10:06 PM

where do you live?

Edited by Frank Barrera, 08 March 2006 - 10:06 PM.

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#3 9Bruin

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 10:47 PM

where do you live?


West Los Angeles
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#4 Tim Tyler

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

You might start by stating your real name and some of the experience you have that would make you a good assistant.
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#5 zrszach

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:32 PM

Be around people who make movies? Go anywhere that there may be a concentration of people in the business. Go to shows, expos, conferences, festivals? surround yourself with people who could possibly hire you.
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#6 9Bruin

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:51 PM

You might start by stating your real name and some of the experience you have that would make you a good assistant.



I've since added a signature to my account (just joined).

For the last 3 years I've built a family run videography business, shooting weddings and events. I've directed and shot a couple of restaurant commercials and was DP (video) for a 40min short that is currently being shopped for festivals. My work on the film is getting good reviews and the experience has made me hungry for more. I'd like to get experience on a budgeted set.

Edited by 9Bruin, 09 March 2006 - 07:53 PM.

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#7 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 12:18 PM

Don't appear "too" experienced. The last thing anyone needs is another cameraman or DP.
Do appear neat, discreet and fast on your feet.
Expect humble beginnings.
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#8 Cinematheque

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:37 PM

There are a myriad of websites with job postings, craigslist.org for example, but be ready for a rude awakening. Just because you reply to someone willing to pay for a DP, there are literaly about 40 or so other DP's who have already responded and are more qualified than you. Trust me, I've been sending out my resume and reel about 20 times a day for the past 3 weeks and have gotten 0 responses. But, if you really want to make it, no one can stop you.
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#9 Brian Wells

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 10:22 PM

For the last 3 years I've built a family run videography business, shooting weddings and events.

Videography experience is not any sort of qualification when looking for an assistant job. I wouldn't even mention it. Tell them you have an interest in lighting. Knowing and following procedure for setting up standard grip equipment and occasionally some lights is more important than knowing how to use a camera. So, become familiar with the tools of the trade by reading some of the standard books (Lighting for Digital Video & Television and Mike Uva's Rigging Guide are excellent, for example). This is what will make you valuable. Knowing which leg an an arm should be positioned above on a C-stand is useful, for example. Yes, there is a "right" and "wrong" way, incredibly. Forget you ever had your hands on video camera, because that will not help you on crew gigs.
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#10 Josh Bass

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 10:50 PM

I don't know about LA, but this works in Houston. . .


Now, this is only good for PAing. I don't think one can just jump into camera assisting. . .it's a pretty important position, and I'd think you'd have to work up to it somehow. PAing, on the other hand, is THE beginner position (after set intern, I guess. . .you might have to do some of that too).

Anyway. . .so get a LA production guide (I'm assuming there is such a book, sort of a phone book for everything video/film production related). Next, call all the Line Producers, Production Managers, and Production coordinators, and say "Hey, I'm (insert name), and I'd like to get on your production assistant list)." They'll likely ask you if you've PA'd before, to which you'll have to reply "no." There will be someone out there willing to hire a first timer, though many may not be. It probably wouldn't hurt, once you've made these calls, to re-call everyone once a month, or something, if you haven't heard from anyone. Just say "Hey, it's (insert name) again, just wanted to see if you had anything going on." This reminds them that you exist, and shows interest.

So, a few notes. . .

I don't know how your business is run, but on sets (commercial, movie, corporate video, doesn't really matter), punctuality is huge. If call time is 7 am, be there then or before. 7:02 am may not seem like much later, but it's bad bad bad bad.

Also, the norm can be a 10, 12, or 14 hour day, depending on the project. PAs are USUALLY (I know there are exceptions 'cause I've worked on them) paid a flat rate, meaning no overtime, so be ready to deal with that.

Also, like they said, it's humbling stuff. You could be doing any number of different things, but the none of them will be particularly glorious or high end. You will be the guy that gets lunch, you will be the guy moving vehicles, you will be the guy that gets the trash out of the background of the shot. Please do not say things like "Oh, well I'm a videographer, Mr. DP, and I think we oughtta (doesn't matter what goes after this. Just don't say this kinda stuff)."

Oh yeah, and they like to see you engaged. Even if there's not much for you to do, try to find something. Coil the messy cables, etc.

Seems like the reality TV show people pay less and have more dickhead-like tendencies than other types of productions. Good luck with that.

That's all I got. Sorry if anyone's experiences are completely at odds with what I've said. . .this is just from one occasional Houston-based PA.

Edited by Josh Bass, 14 March 2006 - 10:51 PM.

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#11 9Bruin

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 11:41 PM



Huge...Thanks, Josh!
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#12 9Bruin

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 12:23 PM

what is the average pay for a PA or lighting assistant?
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#13 Jeremy

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 02:09 PM

A lot of PA jobs seem to average $100 a day.
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#14 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 02:51 PM

Try to get whatever job you can get at a "real" shooting, to learn what's going on, who's doing what, what the terminology is and most important, if you really want to be part of this. Then talk to the people in the department you want to get in. Maybe they take you with them on the next job.
Josh wrote to look for work if you have nothing to do. There will always be work to be found. But i think it's a bad idea to roll up coiled cables without checking back with the crew members responsible for those cables. Personally i don't want anybody NOT in the camera department touch a piece of my equipment without my approval.
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Wooden Camera

CineTape

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Glidecam