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#1 Jaime Riley

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 10:19 AM

Alright so I'm a freshman/sophmore (somewhere in the middle) in college. I screwed up my first semester because I absolutely did not want to be there! I love film, and I know that it's what I really want to do. I know that I don't want to be in a classroom studying film. I've always been a hands on learner, I don't learn things successfully unless I'm actually doing it! Which is why I want to be a PA.

I've called some production offices and submitted my resume because I have done some things, no PA work though. I can't help but think that being chosen to be a PA is just out of luck, because last March I called the "21" production office, I talked to the guy on the phone and he was wicked nice. I almost had the job, IF I WASN'T IN SCHOOL at the time I would have had it! Can you believe that!


So I guess I'm just asking for advice/tips for getting the job and for anyone to share their PA. experiences!
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#2 Josh Bass

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 02:01 PM

It doesn't say what city you're in, but when I PA'd, here's how I got started.

Hopefully your town has a production guide (in Houston, we have a Houston Production Guide, sort of a phone book for all things related to video and film production-it's a book, but can also be found online. If your town has a film commission, they should be able to point you toward how to get ahold of one). Anyway, so you get this production guide, or some other means of finding these people, and start cold calling all the Unit Production Managers, Production Managers, and Production Coordinators listed in the directory, and tell 'em your situation. . ."I'm Jaime, and I'd like to get on your list of PA's. . .blah blah blah." Many will probably ask who you've worked for previously as a PA, to which you'll have to reply that you have no previous experience. Some, or many, may not want to hire someone with no experience, but someone will surely give you a break. Do a good job, and they'll hire you again, hopefully pass the word on to others. Continue to a do a good job, and it snowballs from there.

In my experience, cold calling the production companies themselves doesn't work too well, 'cause they don't hire the crew directly, that's done through a production coordinator, manager, or UPM (who the production company hires----I may be talking out of my ass here; I never got familiar with this side of the biz, but it seems to be how it works). It may be different depending on the company. . .some smaller companies do call the crew themselves; but for the most part, I would call the three categories of people I mentioned above.

Another thing, kind of important, is that you have to be kind of annoying and persistent, but not too much. If you don't hear from someone, I would keep calling that person back maybe once a month and just ask if they've got anything going on. A lot of people in the industry don't work as often as you would think they do, and memories can be short until you worm your way into their brains with your persistence.

I'll go further and give you some set advice. People like a PA who does things without being asked. Once you get to know your duties, if you can do things before people ask you to, they love that. Even though there'll be down time on set, try to always be alert to places where you can help, instead of chilling out against a wall when you're not needed. I wasn't very good at this (I find it hard to maintain a razor alertness/focus for 12 or more hours straight, one of the several reasons I stopped PAing). They loooooooooooooove that.

As for being in school, I was told that a lot of the production managers etc. will be understanding to your situation, as PA's are usually younger people, and will work around your schedule. If you're only available on weekends, you'll probably won't get called nearly as often as someone who's always available, but you gotta do what you gotta do. If you only go to school three days a week, list you're available the other two week days, right?

Hope this helps.

Edited by Josh Bass, 28 July 2007 - 02:06 PM.

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#3 Jaime Riley

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 03:02 PM

thanks for your advice!

I live near Boston. I forget who told me to do it the way i've been doing it (call production companies, and ask for the production office numbers and ask if they're hiring production assistants). Everytime I have been doing this i've felt like maybe I'm not doing it the right way. So thank you so much for letting me know of a better way of doing it!

hahah and i've tried calling back and being persistant, and wow does that piss them off! So I don't really do that. But I really want to be a PA so I probably will start doing it again.

Actually, this past friday I called the production office to the film "Bachelor No. 2", I asked if they were hiring and they said to fax my resume in, and I did. I'll call on Monday to see what's going on. They're starting shooting in Boston at the begining of August so I probably won't be hired :(
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#4 Josh Bass

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 03:31 PM

Like I said, not TOO persistent. . .once a month should be sufficient.


I guess if you're talking about production offices, you're talking about movie jobs/reality shows, as opposed to commercials, corporate video, etc. THOSE I really don't know about, as I've not ever worked on either. Getting to know the people I mentioned before should help you get in though, provided those people themselves are involved with the movies/reality shows.
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Visual Products

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

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The Slider

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS