The Wrong Department

Sasha writes:

My first job on a show was in the construction office, which was great in a bunch of ways. As someone who’d like to end up somewhere on the producer/UPM spectrum eventually, I got a really great understanding of how budgeting for that department works, which I think is an area where a lot of UPMs are totally clueless. I do want/need to be in the production office, though.

I’m now being offered more construction office PA positions by other construction coordinators; apparently I’ve built a rep as a great construction PA. I fear not taking the construction stuff because, well, a) I need to pay my bills, and b) wouldn’t I rather work on a David O’Russell movie than not? If I don’t take the job, I risk not getting a production job this season. I have sent out my resume to incoming shows in hopes of landing something in the production office, but no luck so far, although it’s not out of the question until probably mid-April. I don’t want to get pigeon holed as the construction girl.

Also, what do you think about leaving a show early? I think I already know the answer, very frowned upon, but a girl’s gotta get a second opinion!

For the most part, I think you need to take the first job you’re offered. Unless it’s something horrible, like porn.1 As I’ve said before, Don’t turn down a job because you hope you’ll find a better job later.

Most people don’t take the career path they intended. The fact that you’re in demand by somebody is great. Maybe construction isn’t want you intended to do, but you could possibly make a career out of it. Maybe you’ll grow to love it.

That being said, you should make your desire to move into the production office known to your construction coordinator, if the two of you are on a friendly basis. He knows UPMs and production coordinators, and he might hook you up, if not on this show, then perhaps in the future.

Leaving in the middle of a show is generally a bad idea. If an incredible opportunity pops up, talk to your boss. There might be some way to work it out. But even if your he let’s you leave, you will almost certainly never work for that person ever again.

Oh, boy, do I regret doing that.
“THAT’S for employing me for eight years!”

Basically, my advice is to stop asking me questions, but ask the people you work for, instead. 🙂

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Or maybe you want to work in porn, I dunno. Who am I to judge?
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3 Responses

  1. Also as a follow up, before this was even posted, I reached out to bosses and colleagues, whoever I thought could help me out, and after sending an email to the construction coordinator from my last show and explaining to him that I’m looking to get into production, he was glad to pass my resume along with a recommendation. Now I’m the accounting clerk on a show that just came into town.

    Moral of the story, if you don’t ask, you might get stuck, but I think people are much more willing to help PAs that they know are hardworkers and who are willing to speak up! Lesson learned for me anyway!

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