I took a nontraditional route to the industry, well not really THAT non traditional… I had a contact and they called me to be a PA. After that it was up to me, I impressed the production manager and coordinator and they called me after that for more jobs. Getting into the film industry is … so odd. Its a weird gray world of freelance people. Im trying to figure out how to get people into the industry, like the best route they can take. Here in Austin there are some WONDERFUL ways to get into the crazy work world, theres several production companies I’ve worked with (Fueld Films, Elephant Productions, etc) that take on interns and thrown them into the industry. My favorite PAs in the field have come from Fueld, and I learned SO MUCH from one of the Production Managers there.
Trying to explain the work world is difficult so I’m gonna try.
1. First gig: Either you’re an intern somewhere OR you’re introduced by a contact or friend (I’ve called greenhorns into the field bc I knew they were hard workers and had what it takes)
2. AT THAT FIRST JOB, you have the potential to impress the coordinators(PCs) and production managers(PMs), the ones that do the hiring. IF YOU WORK YOUR ASS OFF AND HUSTLE AND IMPRESS THEM, They will call you for the next job.
3. This is where it gets tricky. Its like 6 degrees of separation? You work with PC A , on Job #1. Once that job wraps PC A starts working on Job #2. If you impressed PC A, they will want to call you for Job #2. On Job #1 you will work with the AD crew (Assistant Directors), First and Second ADs and SUPER IMPORTANT to impress. The AD crew usually recommends freelance PAs they like to work with. On Job #1 You work with 1st AD “Bob” and 2nd AD “Joe” … They’re freelance - so when they go on to their next job for whatever it is, when the coordinator calls them to offer a gig, they will name their 3 PAs that they like and want. ……………… Each job you work gives you the potential contact to work 3-6 more jobs. Does this make any sense? Job #1, make 2 contacts get 2 more jobs. Job #2 you now have 5 contacts, Job #3 you now have 8 contacts, Job #4 you now have 12 contacts… and know everyone in that citys film industry.