Am I Really Hired?

Kacy writes:

I was hired as a PA on a new show for a big company. They weren’t sure when production would be starting and said they would email me once they had more information. They thought production would start sometime around mid-August.

It’s mid-August and I haven’t received anything yet. I have emailed and called, but no one has returned anything. I’m getting nervous. Are they so busy that they haven’t had time? They haven’t thought about calling the PA’s? Will they call me the night before I have to come in? Did they forget they hired me? I’m confused and scared because I want this so much. Any advice?


Unfortunately, this is a thing that happens all the time, and it could have any number of explanations.

They might be too busy to call right now, putting off your call until they need you. Maybe the show’s start date has been pushed back, for some reason. Maybe a deal fell through, and it’s not going at all. Or, maybe somebody owes somebody else a favor, and your job has been given away to an actor’s nephew.

There is simply no way to know. But if they changed their mind about hiring you, for whatever reason, that’s going to be an awkward conversation. Most people figure if they ignore your emails/phone calls long enough, you’ll stop bugging them, and they won’t have to have that conversation. It’s a weaselly thing to do, but certainly understandable.

The truth is, you don’t have the job until you walk in the door on the first day. If someone offers you a job at some date in the future, that’s nice, but keep looking for work. If you do get another job, you owe a phone call to the person who first offered you a job: “Hey, so-and-so offered me a job on a show that starts next Tuesday. Are we still on, or should I take it?”

Sorry for the bad news.

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3 Responses

  1. I got a job on a rather large dating show on a rather large network.. You can put the two together! I figured it would be a great starting point as a PA! Right? It was my past production manager that hired me on the job..

  2. This is something that happens pretty frequently. I’m a production secretary, and it still happens sometimes.

    Back in March, I was available for work. I sent out a big “hey guys give me a job” email to my work friends, and I got maybe three bites. All of these emails said some variation on Kacy’s situation: “I know of a job starting up soon, stand by for more info as we get closer.”

    Two of the three potential jobs never even contacted me. I guess those dried up, or they went with someone else. The third friend called me the following day with concrete info about a job starting up maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, but definitely extremely soon. Yay!

    Tomorrow came and went. Nothing. Finally several days later I got another call — not greenlit yet, but the producer needs a body to help out, so stand by for a call from her about maybe working tomorrow. No call.

    Finally, a week later I’m out with friends and I get another call from my friend. Can I work tomorrow? The project isn’t green lit, but they definitely want to start someone tomorrow. Huzzah, gainful employment!

    I show up for my first day, at a different production office for a totally unrelated movie, because that’s where the UPM is based. They have no idea what they even need me to do. I spend the day reading the script, eating lunch, and doing start paperwork.

    End of day comes. They’re not sure what’s up. They might be signing a lease on a production office tomorrow. Can I meet the UPM there at 9am, maybe?

    That happens, thankfully. I’m hired on for the rest of the week, at least. Pretty much alone, and with a list of tasks that all need to be accomplished with no money, no supplies, and no resources. Woooo!

    I spend a week or so like that, going out of pocket for lunch and doing very little because there’s not much I can do without money and/or a staff. There’s no money and no PAs because the movie’s not green lit yet.

    Finally, they send me home. There’s still no green light, still nothing I can do.

    After several days sitting home and weighing my options (and after maybe 10 total days of work on this non-green lit project with no accountant to even cut me a paycheck), it all FINALLY comes together and I end up working from the end of March through July.

    I did not get paid for those ~10 early workdays until sometime in April, by the way.

    You should definitely always be prepared for situations like this. It’s a very unstable industry, and you should always have your ear to the ground and your finger in as many pies as possible. If you’re not established enough to be able to scare up a job at short notice or coast from gig to gig, you should definitely concentrate on having some source of income. Because there’s just so much that can go wrong.

  3. I just got done working as a PA here in Texas. Some of my new “friends” (I won’t say the N word!) told me to come out to LA and become a production assistant. What are your thoughts? I know that they can easily assist me inverting work but is it worth it? I’d love to do it full time but I’m not sure what the pay is and moving 1300 miles away is a huge step.

    What are your thoughts?

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