You’re Not On the List… Sorry

I see, through your blog, that it is typically the AD or 2nd AD who hires set PA’s. My question is how do I get the contact info for the AD or 2nd AD (for a particular production), and what is the appropriate amount of time, prior to production, to first contact them?

I live in Richmond, VA. I’m a filmmaker. It looks like Spielberg will be shooting at lest part of his Abe Lincoln biopic here, some time this fall. I must work on this set! How do I find who I need to contact?


There isn’t really. Luck of the draw is the primary player here. It never hurts to send in your resume to a big ticket listing you find the address to; maybe that’ll work, but honestly I haven’t heard of somebody who’s been picked up on an anonymous resume submission. The job always went to someone with a connection to the already working staff.

But I never knock a person for trying! If you want to at least say you tried, check the production listings. They’re in Below the LineVariety, or Hollywood Reporter. In the back of the magazines and the appropriate sections on their websites, they list every project that they know currently exists in their varied stages of Development, Pre-Pro, Production, and Post (for the writers, they also list script sales, a necessary industry resource). These can amount in the hundreds so it’s an arduous, alphabetically listed task.

The listings usually have the name, type of production, shooting location, and sometimes if you’re lucky, an office contact number! Hooray! So go ahead and try. Ask if they’re hiring. Ask for the Production Coordinator of whatever department you’re applying for. Most likely the PA talking to you will screen you and direct you to a designated resume-collection address, but sometimes you luck out and the productions are actively looking, and you never know, you never feel like you tried until you tried.

Also, Insiders have multiple lists that circulate among friends, like the Mercury Listings, various invite-only bulletin board newsletters, and other much more extensive lists (like the UTA list, back, you know, before it was on this site) that you really can only get from a career coordinator.

Lastly, If you’re in a city that’s not Los Angeles or New York and Big Production is coming to town, satisfy your inner Sherlock Holmes and start by asking questions at the local film permit or incentives office.

In terms of timing, you wanna get in early but not too early, so calling a film in development may be too soon but calling one in prep could be too late. Best is to just stay on top of the listings and reach ASAP the ones that have just freshly updated their statuses to Prep. The “get ’em while they’re hot” approach.

Other than that, I don’t know what to say. There’s no way in but the “in”.

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3 Responses

  1. I noticed when perusing the Variety link that all the films in preproduction were updated last in 2010, with nothing showing for 2011. Would it be pointless then to contact these production companies since it’s old news?

  2. Can you buy The Hollywood Reporter by the magazine on shelves? 19.95 a month is quite pricey.

  3. I had a friend that while walking the streets of New York City, found a production that was filming. He literally walked up and asked for a job. He asked for the Production Coordinator, I believe, and let them know he was interested in working in the film industry. They hired him as a day-player Set PA for that very day, and for a few additional days throughout the production. He was mostly doing lockups during the exterior shooting, but it was still a bit of experience. Just saying, if you know where they’re shooting, it might not hurt to show up ask.

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