Starting from Scratch

Reader Alan writes:

I’m enjoying your blog, got a question. How do I get in as a PA on a upcoming pilot or a show currently in production. I’ve been in the biz for a couple years now as an editor on the east coast, don’t have any contacts in LA. Kinda like starting from scratch,  I’ve got local numbers to places like abc studios, sony tv production should I call them directly. Is there some sort of representation I should look into? I’ve got PA experience. Just need to find an avenue in, appreciate any advice.

First of all, ABC Studios, Sony TV, and the like are all giant companies.  Calling them for a job in television is like calling IBM for a job in computers.

For various financial reasons that I don’t really understand, individual TV series and movies are run semi-independently from the studios.  Each show has its own LLC, accountants, payroll, etc.  Most of the time, you’re not even technically an employee of ABC.

If you call the studio, you’ll most likely get the switchboard operator, who has no idea what pilots are being shot; half the time, they can’t even connect you to a show that’s currently on air.

What you need to do is call the production office of an individual show.  You can find the numbers for current shows in the Hollywood Creative Directory.

For pilots, good luck.  You pretty much have to hear about those from a friend (which doesn’t help you, Alan, I realize).  There are some lists that float around, like the Production Weekly, but those are notoriously unreliable.

As I’ve said before, you’re probably going to have to work on a few shitty shows before you can get a job on a real show.  Check out Craig’s List or, and take anything you can get.  Meet people, make connections, start friendships.  Eventually, you’ll be able to transition to the kinds of shows you’d like to work on.

As for representation, HA.  Who would want commission on a PA’s salary?  10% of jack squat is less than jack.  You’re on your own.

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4 Responses

  1. What I’m curious about is that if you’ve been an editor for a couple of years then why do you want to become a PA? It seems like a step backward. Wouldn’t it be better to go straight for an editing gig?

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