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#1 Niki Mundo

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 12:51 PM

Hey guys.. I moved to Los Angeles (from Seattle). I drove the ford van down in 20 hours and broke down in Oregon, but it was just for a few hours. Anyway, I got in last night and I'm living in the Echo Park/Hollywood area. When I got here I had a mild panic attack, I was overwhelmed and scared but It's Friday and now I'm fine. I'm really enjoying the sun and people are friendly.

So! Starting Monday I'll be looking for a production assistant job. My attitude and work ethic are in order and I have a resume and some shorts on DVD.

How should I go about looking for a film production job? Craigslist doesn't seem right and I don't think giving the receptionist at Warners my resume will work. You don't have to tell me exactly what/where to go ,but in a general way, how should I conduct a job search?
Thanks, Niki
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#2 Tom Lowe

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 01:34 PM

craigslist and mandy.com. take any job you can get, work hard, and before you know it you will have more gigs than you can do if you are a decent person and have any talent.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 02:08 PM

Hey guys.. I moved to Los Angeles (from Seattle). I drove the ford van down in 20 hours and broke down in Oregon, but it was just for a few hours. Anyway, I got in last night and I'm living in the Echo Park/Hollywood area. When I got here I had a mild panic attack, I was overwhelmed and scared but It's Friday and now I'm fine. I'm really enjoying the sun and people are friendly.

So! Starting Monday I'll be looking for a production assistant job. My attitude and work ethic are in order and I have a resume and some shorts on DVD.

How should I go about looking for a film production job? Craigslist doesn't seem right and I don't think giving the receptionist at Warners my resume will work. You don't have to tell me exactly what/where to go ,but in a general way, how should I conduct a job search?
Thanks, Niki



I've listed a number of job referral sites on my own website (www.whatireallywanttodo.com) that should help you get started. Just click on the "Resources" link at the top.

Also, don't rule out Temp Agencies which sometimes refer people to actual production office jobs (believe it or not.)

Otherwise, it's all about forming relationships and word of mouth. If you haven't already, talk to EVERYBODY you know and ask them if they know anyone who is in the business. Get that list of names and call each and every one of them. The person on the other end of the call may not be able to give you a job, but they may be able to pass along another name/number for you to call. Don't let the "No"s and the "I'm sorry"s discourage you. I'll you need is one person to say "YES!"

Good luck!
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:39 PM

craigslist and mandy.com. take any job you can get, work hard, and before you know it you will have more gigs than you can do if you are a decent person and have any talent.


Really?????????????? You know we're talking about the film industry here right?

R,
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:55 PM

If all else fails, and I mean all else, you meet tons of pa's and 2nd ad's and 2nd2nd ad's while working as an extra. Maybe you could start asking them what you're doing wrong. Plus it's paid, unlike craigslist. I got one 2nd AC job (unpaid of course) via craigslist, but I refuse to use it anymore for the same reason I won't use online dating. I mean, how do you tell your kids that's how you met? It just isn't a good story.
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#6 Tom Lowe

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:47 PM

Really?????????????? You know we're talking about the film industry here right?

R,


What do you mean? That's the experience everyone I know has had, basically. Aside from people who've gone to film school, that's the way most people do it as far as I am aware. Start working working on indies as a PA and take it from there.
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 08:02 PM

What do you mean? That's the experience everyone I know has had, basically. Aside from people who've gone to film school, that's the way most people do it as far as I am aware. Start working working on indies as a PA and take it from there.

Don't worry. It's just Richard trying as hard as he can to be funny. I know it's hard to tell, but that's all it is.
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#8 Niki Mundo

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 11:44 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'll get busy!
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 01:04 AM

Don't worry. It's just Richard trying as hard as he can to be funny. I know it's hard to tell, but that's all it is.


Oh, lol, I think missed the sarcasm there. So basically he's saying that if you're decent and have talent, you have no hope in Hollywood? :)
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#10 Andrew Koch

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 02:20 AM

Craigslist and Mandy have some of the worst jobs out there. They are usually unpaid, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but most of the shoots I have found on there were very unprofessional and rarely lead to anything worthwhile. Of course this is based on my own personal experience and the experiences of my colleagues who have gone down the same road. Shoots that are cobbled together for a couple hundred bucks are not going to teach you proper set procedures. I am curious what your goals are as a PA? Are you trying to move into cinematography, camera assisting, grip, electric, art? If you are a PA, I assume you are doing it to learn so that you can enter one of these departments. This is why even if you are working for free, you need to surround yourself with professionals if you can. Go to some camera houses, check out various vendors. Meet as many people as you can. Let people know who you are. It's not who you know, its who knows you. It is the people who know you and like you that will get you on shows. Make sure these are good ethical people. If you are going to PA, try to PA on actual shows that follow standard protocol if you get the opportunity.

I am not saying this because I think I am above paying my dues. I have worked for free under awful conditions plenty of times and still do from time to time. When I started, I was so thrilled to be learning that I didn't care how bad it was. The problem is that I developed some bad habits on these shoots. These shoots are often lacking in safety and proper set etiquette. You get used to doing things quick and sloppy and never really get the time to learn how to properly use the equipment. This makes for a tough transition into bigger productions. I'm not saying that it's necessarily a waste to cut your teeth on these things, just be careful and don't let yourself get abused.

If you do decide to use craigslist or mandy, be very cautious. There may be some diamonds in the rough, but there are also shoots on there that are pretty craptacular.

Here is a recent posting from craigslist to demonstrate my point.


We are looking for a camera op to come in for a reality show pilot on April 19th 2008.

Required equipment for camera op to have: HVX 200 with the Red Rock Adapter and 35mm Lense (Nikon or Zeiss)

* Location: Los Angeles Area
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: no pay


The audacity of this post really irritates me. Any reputable production would pay for the rental of a camera package. What they are asking for would cost them between 600-900 dollars a day depending on the lenses. But this production wants to weasel their way out of their rental expenses by making the employee incur the financial burden of the camera. This package could easily be $10,000 or more to purchase. So the operator shells out all this cash only to provide a perfect stranger with the camera and their time and expertise. And what does the operator get compensated for after shelling out 10K of their own money, saving the company 600-900 dollars a day in rentals? Absolutely NOTHING. Not to mention after all this, the operator is still probably working a 12 hour day for free as well.

Sorry for the digression. It just makes me crazy when I see stuff like this
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#11 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 09:03 AM

Some of these fall under the "Great Project" call, as in "we don't have much money, but it's a great project!" :)

The fact is, when someone is just starting out, he/she is likely going to have to start working for someone for very little or no money. And that situation isn't out of the question, particularly if that person has little to no experience in the industry and/or no developed skills to offer.

That said, anyone considering whether to take a "Great Project" or not has to weigh the potential benefits to see if it's worth the time or not. Since money is obviously not the motivating factor, the questions are A) is this truly a "great project" for ME to work on in terms of a learning experience? That could be general production experience to getting to learn a specific piece of equipment .... and/or B) will I be working with someone on this project who can teach me something useful and who may be able to help me work on something else in the future, hopefully better and eventually "for money" projects?

"Great Projects" are typically created by someone who is very motivated, but doesn't have the resources to get it done. Of course that person (usually an aspiring Director) wants the most qualified people possible to help ensure that his/her short film will be high quality. In LA, sometimes that happens as film students manage to get Camera Operators/Assistants and Gaffers who wish to become Directors of Photography and need footage for their reel. Any additional crew who volunteer are hoping that that the DP's or the Director's career will take off and they'll be able to come along for the ride. Maybe that'll happen, but most likely not. If those people get a shot at the "big time," they'll be asked (required) to surround themselves with very experienced people instead of relative beginners.

So, what's the point of a "great project" for an aspiring crew member? Building relationships. That DP may not be able to take you on his next big movie (because he is likely an IATSE Operator or Assistant or Gaffer or Grip), but he can introduce you to other people who may be working on non-union projects. Keep meeting enough people who like you and your work ethic and you'll keep working, eventually for real money. Do that long enough and you'll either amass enough days to qualify for union membership or you'll wind up on a show that "turns union." THEN those union contacts you've made over time will finally be able to help you get on the really big shows which can pay very well (relative to what you've been making).

That's more or less how it works. Meet people by working. There is no magic bullet beyond being the beneficiary of nepotism.

Most importantly, though, is figuring out exactly what job it is you'd like to do. Just looking for any ol' production job isn't very helpful for those who could help you further your career. Want to be in the Camera Dept? Then look for opportunities to PA or Load for that department. Want to be an AD or Producer some day? Then work as a PA or apply to the DGA Training Program. Want to Direct? Then sit down and write a screenplay or three, make a truly excellent short film and find an agent or someone else who likes you and what you write. The quicker you figure out exactly what you want to do, the more successful, and happier, you'll eventually be.
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#12 Niki Mundo

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 12:33 PM

Wow..That's helpful. Thanks for taking the time to explain it to me.
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