A PA in Oregon

Megan asks:

I’m living up in Oregon at the moment, trying to work out how get down to LA and really dive into the job hunt for a paying PA gig. Recently, however, it was announced that a cable TV show is relocating to Oregon and, from what I’ve heard, production is supposed to start in April.

I sent my resume to the email address that was listed on the official Oregon Film site about two weeks ago, as well as a follow up email about a week after that. Still haven’t heard back.

I know they’re probably getting inundated with emails, especially since all of the local news programs are really pushing the fact that this is bringing a lot of jobs to the area, and that it’s unrealistic to expect them to contact me right away.

How long should I wait before accepting that they’re just never going to call or email me back? And should I keep emailing once a week to check in, or is that too excessive? Thanks.

A number of questions come to mind. Do you know who it is you’re emailing? Is it the production coordinator? The APOC? Some dummy address that no one ever checks?

Does the Oregon film commission list a phone number, as well? Calling the production office can be a better way to make an impression on the coordinator or AD. Emails are easily ignored.

When does the show start filming? Once production starts, turn over is pretty low, unless things are going horribly, horribly wrong (in which case, you probably wouldn’t want to work on that show, anyway). There’s no sense in continually emailing if they’re already shooting.

To be honest, though, we’re talking about the only show in town, here. Between the office and the set, they’ll probably hire a half dozen PAs. It doesn’t sound like you have a lot of production experience, either.  Your odds of being hired strike me as fantastically small.

A better choice, in both the long and the short term, might be to just move to Los Angeles immediately. Pilots are starting up already, and picks ups will be announced soon thereafter. That’s a lot of shows, and a lot better chances of getting yourself a job.

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5 Responses

  1. Megan,

    I’m going to piggy back off of what he said.

    First season, we only hired two office PA’s and three set PA’s.

    Look on IMDB for the show. Find the parent company, and ask them for the production office number.

    Call up the PO and give it a shot. There has not been any PA’s hired yet this season. They should be hired within the next week or so (at least the office ones).

    If that doesn’t work, move to LA, like I did.

    –Another Anonymous PA

  2. It’s been a long time since I was a PA (1978, now that I think of it) but TAPA is right — trying to land a job on the only show in town during a horrendous economic downturn is like buying a single lottery ticket hoping to hit the million dollar jackpot.

    Miracles do happen, but there’s a reason they call them “miracles.”

    For anyone seriously trying to break into the biz, LA is a much better bet. Pilots are already gearing up. I start one next week at CBS, and am told there are 14 more ready to go at Warner Bros in the next few weeks. Granted, an out-of-towner with no experience or connections is highly unlikely to get a PA job on any of those, but the more production there is going on, the greater the churn — and thus the opportunity for fresh meat to leap into the grinder.

    It’s a daunting prospect, Meagan, but thousands have made the pilgrimage before you, and more will follow your footsteps. That said, you should think long and hard about what you really want to do. If you have the notion that life in the Industry will be more fun and glamorous than staying in Oregon, think again — it’s mostly a lot of hard work in a big ugly city. But if you’re sure this is what you really want to do, take one last deep breath of that sweet northwest air, then kiss Oregon goodbye and dive headfirst into the smog.

    Good luck.

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