Reader Leah (I know she spells it with an “h,” but I’ve been told I don’t use enough pictures) writes:
I’ve been corresponding with a producer at a big company in my city (Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta) regarding being a PA (a set PA, I believe). She said I could either be a volunteer for no pay or academic credit, or be paid (which would be awesome). I am completely willing to volunteer for awhile until I am comfortable with the job (haven’t PA-ed before), and then trying to get a paid position. However, here is my question: does being a PA “play well” with being a college student? In other words, do I have to be available (whether as a volunteer or paid PA) around the clock, or can I work on days when I don’t have class? If I was a volunteer PA, would they be more likely to work with my schedule?
I would LOVE to be a PA, but I still have a good 1.5 years left of college, and don’t want to drop out. However, being a Starbucks barista isn’t exactly my favorite job in the world, and being a PA would be a step in the right direction.
Boy, I wish I had been smart enough to network like that when I was in college. I wasted most of my time sneering at the other students, who clearly didn’t have the bright future I’m living in right now. 😀
PAs aren’t generally “on call,” but it is a full time job. TV shows and movies shoot five or six days a week. It doesn’t do them much good if you’re only there three days a week.
Interning, while it obviously doesn’t pay the bills, is much more flexible. Usually, interns only come in two or three days a week, and for only eight hours, instead of twelve.
Just as importantly, everyone knows an intern is there to learn. While you may be given crap jobs (“Please sort the producer’s action figures by height, gender, and date of release”), you’ll also be given the opportunity to ask a lot of questions without annoying anyone.
My advice is to be an intern, and use your Starbucks connections to bring your boss her favorite mixed drink every morning. She’ll love that.