Andrew writes in:
My fiance recently fell into a PA position and landed a couple days on a movie. After day two/three she was told they had enough PA’s for the next day and they would call her. It has been a few days and no word back yet.
A family member of mine works in the industry (in an unrelated position) as well, he recommended she try calling and contacting the person who hired her to ask for work. She has tried phoning this person only to find the voice mail box full. At this point I have a feeling she is a bit worried that with the lack of experience gained and the potential of not hearing back her PA career could be over as soon as it started.
Is this commonly how additional PA positions are handled? Are the additional PA call backs usually done via some rotation or at the AD discretion? How often is too often when calling to trying to get work? Would it be considered crazy to show up on set if it becomes impossible to reach via phone? Is there anything she can do with her couple of days experience that may open some doors that would otherwise be closed to someone without experience? What types of experiences are usually desired on someones resume with little to no PA experience?
Additional PA days are always done at the discretion of the AD. If they like you, they’ll call you back. If they don’t, they won’t.
Calling to remind them that you’re still available is good advice. It’s unfortunate that the mailbox was full, but there’s not really much you can do about it. Just showing up on set would, indeed, be crazy. Not ill-advised crazy, but call-the-men-in-the-white-coats crazy. Unless they happen to be filming in your neighborhood, and you tell them so, I wouldn’t do it.
“Too often” is a tough call. Depends on the kind of show. If you’re talking about a sitcom, where they hardly ever leave the studio and need more than their usual compliment of PAs, I’d wait three to four weeks. If they’re on location a lot, like for an action show or a procedural, maybe every two weeks.
If you don’t have experience as a PA, try to at least have some kind of industry experience. Working the desk at an agency, being a personal assistant to a producer, something. “Starbucks barista” isn’t gonna do anything on your resume.