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My Opinion

This morning, I was surprised to find an e-mail with the subject line, “P.a. Bootcamp.” There were also several new replies to my post from a few weeks ago regarding the PA Bootcamp.  

“pa bootcamp staff” writes:

Can we ask you why you are slamming our services when you haven’t attend camp yourself and are basing this negative support against us and our services, off of no fact.

I wrote about the camp because Sophya asked my opinion.  I once worked for an agent who insisted on replying to every single phone call and e-mail he received on the day that he got it.  Sometimes he’d reply at ten o’clock at night, so he wouldn’t have to actually speak to the person, but still, he always called back.  I don’t always get to it the same day, but I do try.

The only information available to me was on the PA Bootcamp website.  As I said in my original blog, the site did not impress upon me the need for such a service.  I would have been happy to be proven wrong, but $285 is an awful lot of money to spend on something I was unsure of.

I find “slam” to be a rather pejorative term.  I’m pretty sure I made it clear that my opinion was, in fact, just an impression of the service.  Of course, I could very well be wrong, and PA Bootcamp may be the best training available.  

I should note that only one commenter claims to have attended the camp, and he gave it a good review.  I would also note that this comment came after the series of comments directly from PA Bootcamp staff.

Also, the commenters failed to offer is any concrete reason I should change my initial opinion.  They simply suggested that, were I to try the service (for $285, mind you), I would become a believer in PA Bootcamp.

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14 Responses

  1. Haha its funny how defensive people have gotten!

    We had the PA Bootcamp people come to USC today. When I saw the email about it I thought it was going to be about how to PA and advice on how to find jobs….but it was more of an advertisement for the camp. I was a little turned off how they kept stopping answering questions by saying that “that was something to save for camp.” It was a little off-setting.

    Nothing against PA bootcamp, I’m sure its useful. But to me, the tough thing about PA work is not what to do once on set (I picked it up in about an hour), but finding the jobs! Its not like there is a job board with these postings anywhere. Its all about knowing someone who will give you an initial job!

  2. Working your PA job is bootcamp. There is no real “prep work” that needs to be considered besides a willingness to do the best job you can, and some common sense helps too.

    It’s one thing to have gone to a film school, worked with real camera equipment, and learned about how productions work internally, that kind of background helps. It’s another to teach people some radio skills and tell them how to fill out paperwork. You learn these skills during your first week of work anyway, for $0 (and a big fat paycheck at some point).

    Also, I think you guys catch a lot of flak because many PAs out there see your program and feel similarly to this. Why don’t I just *give* you this handful of money?

  3. I’ve worked with a few PA Bootcamp graduates. Nice people, but it was obvious they were VERY green on the set and frustrated the AD who was told they had plenty of experience. When I informed him they were from PA Bootcamp, he chuckled and said “That figures”.

    Whatever “training” they got from PA Bootcamp clearly wasn’t enough. $285 down the drain. Fortunately their real training began on the set.

    Anyway, the posts from the business on this blog entry really tell a lot. Look how defensive they got. I mean, they even have to lie to make it seem like someone’s opinion doesn’t bother them and they go as far as to lie saying these comments doubled their signups. I’ve NEVER seen a company that wasn’t a complete scam respond to opinions this way. Very, very telling.

  4. At this point, any press is good press. Thanks to you posters P.A. BOOTCAMP has doubled their sign ups for the next 3 camp sessions. Thank you:)
    We as a staff will no longer be participating in this chat until we need more sign ups. Thanks again, keep em coming. Doubt or not. Those who are interested are contacting us, asking questions and signing up. Thank you. Thank you Nathan, Jen, thank you “opinion” thank you. We’ll be in touch again in a few months when business is slow and we need some more free press. Take Care!

  5. Gee,

    I’ve only been responding to their emails. In the third one, they finally include a list of graduates. I’ll admit that I’ve been traveling, so I haven’t checked to see if any of the ones named have credits that can be found, but I’m sure they’re fine, hardworking people.

    I find a few things interesting.

    1. In the three emails, they still haven’t (as far as I can tell), signed an email with the name of anyone who is a part of the ownership or management of the company.

    2. In one email, first they take me to task over the size of the budget shows I’ve been working on. In the same email, they go on to let me know that the family of a director I’ve worked with recently are among their instructors (a director of one of those shows whose budget proves(?) I don’t know what I’m talking about?) And then they go on to ask me if I have a personal relationship as opposed to only(?) a professional relationship with the named director. WTF?

    3. They went on to note that the reason they don’t name names on the website is to protect their students’ privacy. Fine. But that doesn’t explain who they’re protecting when they don’t name themselves or when someone giving a testimonial would want to do so anonymously. When I rave about something, or bitch about it, I don’t do it anonymously.

    Come to think of it, I tend to blather quite frequently about most anything without concerning myself with anonymity. Oh well.

    I’ve directed them to re-read my original comment. It pretty explicitly states that I can’t speak for or against the program itself, but I felt that the lack of naming anyone associated with the program did little to instill confidence.

    I still don’t have a problem with that statement and I stand by it. I may get around to blogging about this little kerfuffle if/when I’m not feeling so lazy.

    Note to PA bootcamp folks: If I do blog about it, I’ll consider the emails themselves to be fair game but any names you’ve forwarded to me will be kept confidential. There’s a difference between some random schmo like me naming names and you, who presumably have those same peoples’ support and endorsement naming them. Just sayin’.

    1. I attended pa bootcamp recently. In short: an awesome raft when your floating with a sea of uncertainty. On this particular point: Before I attended I emailed them and they responded super quick with names and direct contact info.

  6. I find it funny they’re so into defending themselves on a blog like 14-year-old girls who heard someone criticize the Jonas Brothers and spent 20 minutes crying in their bedroom before leaping to defend their troo wuvs honour.

    That doesn’t exactly scream “legitimate business” since most of those are too busy operating to worry about a blog entry that was not even that bad toward them. Most businesses have enough confidence in what they offer that they don’t have to play Xena Warrior Princess on the internet when someone hypothesizes that their service may or may not be useful.

  7. My name is Bob Bradshaw. I attended P.A. Bootcamp. I am reading these posts and find it funny you all have such negative opinions about something you haven’t yet tried yourselves. P.a. Bootcamp is NOT a scam! P.A. Bootcamp is well worth both the money and the praise! As long as readers understand that these “opinions” are JUST opinions and based on no FACT from attending camp and experiencing it for yourselves, then it really doesn’t matter. People will choose to be a believer for themselves and attend or believer other people who truly no nothing and just make up stuff as they go, like bad press. One can read The Enquirer, such as these postings, made up stories based on nothing, or one can read Time, the truth, such as what camp provides. The choice is yours. I am glad I went. I started off knowing nothing about production, did not want to look like a jack ass my first show, and now I’m a Key Grip. If your readers are good with knowing nothing and hoping for the best, leaving fate in the hands of production to hope for an industry future, so be it. If you are comfortable with being clueless and useless to what is going on around you, and enjoy getting laughed at for your stupidity, who are we (the crew) to judge. Go ahead. Knowledge is power. One can bring more to the table with knowledge and understanding than without, (the crew knows this) and praying to get hired again after their first job. Good Luck. This is not an opinion. I attended P.A. Bootcamp and I know for a fact they were well worth my time and dime, I owe a lot to them, I’m glad I did it. I am not alone in this belief. Many have written on their site that camp is worth it, again unless you are truly comfortable with being looked at by the crew, like a clown. Josh, I chuckle too. All the way to the bank when I hear of a P.A. who doesn’t know the basics of the job. I wouldn’t like getting laughed at. It can hurt people.

  8. Yeah, this is what they do. They go after everyone who doesn’t RAVE about them.

    And why rave? They are a complete scam. Paying money to gain PA experience really makes me chuckle.

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