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In this filmmakers video learn how to get a job as a production assistant.
Tags:how to get a production assistant job,film crew sets,filmmakers guide,Filmmaking Tips,how to make films,jobs in film,jobs on set,production assistant job,thesubstream,what does a production assistant do on set
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Summer in Toronto, Canada and Vancouver I guess and there too in LA and New York obviously because of the cold hemisphere or whatever thing; but anyway Toronto. The air is redolent with the smell of lilac and hot big garbage. Over the sweet sounds of birds chirping and racoons fighting can be heard the sounds of film crews hard at work, thousands of people complaining all at once, “It’s too hot. That guy is a real asshole. My butt hurts. That creep won’t stop looking at the PA’s boobs.” Yes it’s the busy season for the film industry in TO, from low budget TV shows to indie films, to the odd Hollywood feature looking to take advantage of the exchange rate. Seasoned professionalism that comes with growing up in the big smoke, you’ll find a lot going on film wise when the summer hits. So, as a would-be PA, what does this mean for you? Well, it means you should get in on the action and grab a piece of that delicious foot in the door pie that you’ve heard so much about. But what do you do? Just walk on set and ask and talk to the director or producer? Yeah, that’ll probably work. Well, for me. Nuts! Now, well okay the film industry is like a rare and beautiful bird, one with like a golden helmet and maybe three-toed special edition Air Jordan sneakers and a diamond-studded necklace. A rare bird that doesn’t put hiring notices in the classified ads, or even a “Help Wanted” sign on a door below the production office. Hell, you might not even find the Production Office because one of these shows they just pop up and disappear in a matter of months. But we at the Substream learned a thing or two over the past couple of years. It might help you get you closer to your own dream goal. First of all, there’s not a lot of film production going on in Cobo Conquer, [ph] in the tongue machine or scooping truck or wherever you happen to be from. If you want to work as a PA you kind of have to live in the city where they actually might shoot some films. All the advice that follows in this video pertains directly to Toronto. But you can apply the same tricks to Vancouver or Halifax, if you’re looking for a PA work there. Now that you got your job, hope you’ve of you sorted out, you have to make sure that you have a backup plan money-wise. You never know how hard it’ll actually be to get a PA job. So if you got a gig on the side where you get the free coffee from the cute girl and the cute boy and they get you flexible hours and everything, don’t quit just yet. A lot of PA’s work more than one job anyway so that’s another reason to keep it and be smart. But you got to be flexible. They’re looking for people that can work at the drop of a hat for long hours. Not somebody that can work one hour after every 9:30 P.M. on a Tuesday or only for four hours between 8:15 and 12:15, every second counts. Now you got to do your homework. You got to find out which film productions are crewing up and how to get in touch with them and here’s a good place to start. Let me introduce you to Playback. This magazine publishes all the current Canadian broadcast and film production news, very informative. But it’s not necessarily something you’ll find at your local 7-Eleven so thankfully, since we don’t live in the Bronze Age, they have a website PlaybackOnline.ca is where you go for the latest scoop plus they have over five thousand companies listed there and a contact information. And you’ll never know who might be looking for some extra help. So that’s good place to start. There are a lot of other places you could look for leads too. One being Ontario Media Development Corporation. Just go to OMDC.on.ca and click on the Film and TV tab. Here you’ll find the awesome OMDC 2009 Production Guide which is a must for anybody who’s interested in working in film in Ontario. It’s a very helpful resource but more importantly, on this site you’ll find the In Production listing which is a gold mine. Here you’ll find contact information for current film productions happening right now that have setup temporary hard-to-find office space. And if all else fails, just spend some time on Google or Craiglist. You never know how or when a film production may be putting the word out. Okay so now it’s time to hit the pavement, make a thousand copies of your resume and write a kick-ass cover letter and go knock on a million doors. Be confident and friendly and do whatever it takes to sit down in front of somebody that can hire you. They’re going to be busy. They’re going to make a decision really quickly and they might seem rude. So you got to respect that, that’s just the nature of the beast. Don’t be too weird, don’t be over eager, just let them know that you’re hungry to work hard. But sometimes, it’s just not that easy to get an interview with someone or to get someone on the phone for five minutes even. So then what? Well chances are, you got a friend whose dad has a second cousin that’s already working in a film business and there’s absolutely no shame in asking people like that for help. You know, get them to put the put in the good word for you or let you know about any opportunities that might come up; things like that. It sucks I know but it’s an undeniable truth that a lot of people who find success in the film business do so because of who they know. It’s just the way the business works. And chances are, the person helps you out had someone help them out in the first place. So everybody wins. Scratching backs, it’s all about scratching backs, and don’t turn your nose up a volunteer work. There are a ton of struggling production companies that would love to have an army of PA’s helping them out but it’s not in the budget. Working for free is not the best, but it’s a great way to get experience and meet people that will be in a position to give you paying gigs further down the road. So now you have no excuse, get out there and start putting those leads together because getting in the door is the hard part. Once you get a chance to impress some production managers or producers, you’re set, your first PA job will probably snow volunteer second, which will snow volunteer third and so on. That’s usually the way it works. So get out there and go make us proud. Get noticed work hard and keep your wits about you and don’t get upset when they make you touch garbage. Go be the best PA that you can be. PA power!