I just got a call to come in for an interview next week on a new show. Over the past decade of my production experience, every significant job I’ve had came from word-of-mouth, friends, people I’ve worked with before, etc. – I’d never even had a resume till recently, and I’ve never actually interviewed for a production job. I inevitably get stuck on set in some capacity, but this time I would actually have a choice – set or office. I ultimately want to work closer to the writers’ room, since that’s where I’ve always wanted to end up. SO! I have two questions for you:
(1) Is it foolish to make a transition to the office, when I’ve always been on set; is the devil I know better than the devil I don’t?
(2) Do you have any interview tips?
For your first question, the office is WAY easier than set. Don’t stress that you won’t be able to do the job. You’ll be fine. And it’s really where you want to be, so go for it.
As to your second question… Wow, how have I never written a blog post about interviewing?
Dress like you’re on the job. Bring a copy of your resume, even though 90% of the time they’ve printed it themselves already. Watch an episode of the show beforehand, if you can, and be prepared to say something nice about. DON’T be a crazy fan.
They’ll ask you what you want to do with your life someday. The answer is, yes, you want to be a coordinator, a UPM, eventually a producer. Even though that’s not true. The only thing worse than a wannabe actor PA is a wannabe writer PA.
They might ask what your biggest shortcoming is. My favorite answer is, “I put too much pressure on myself to do everything. I prefer to do something myself, so I know it’ll be done right, than delegate a task to someone else.”
They also always ask if you have any questions. This is a surprisingly subtle landmine. You have to be very careful that your question doesn’t sound like you don’t want to do something. “Would I have to do a lot of runs?” for instance. If the answer is “yes,” then they’ll give the job to someone who isn’t worried about doing a lot of runs.
I tend to just ask what the rate is, and if there’s insurance. (I don’t know why that’s something the coordinators don’t bring up themselves.)
If I really can’t think of anything to ask, I’ll say, “No, this sounds like a pretty standard PA job.” Make it sound like you’ve done this a million times, and there’s no curveball they can throw that you won’t hit.
- The reader will be going on the interview soon, and I don’t want the interviewer to think this reader is just parroting what I wrote here.↩