Don’t Slave Your Resume to IMDb

I’ve noticed a pattern among clients of my resume service. One of the first things I ask people to do is give me a list of every movie, show, commercial, video, or whatever that they’ve ever worked on. Even if it was just for a day, or all you did was deliver some DVDs to the director’s house. Literally EVERYTHING.

Again and again, I get comments like this one:

Oh, and I worked on a show called [Title]. We went on hiatus right before filming, and ultimately the show went under. We had done two months of prep. I was advised by a PA friend of mine, that I should not put it on my resume since it was just prep. It’s only listed as under development on IMDB now.

No. No, no, no, no, no.

Whether you use my service or not, heed this advice: IMDb is not your resume. You worked on the show, it’s a line on your resume.

In this particular case, two months of preproduction is a lot of work, and very good experience. It is not your fault, nor does it reflect badly on you, that the show fell apart. Unless they lost their funding because you were a crappy PA, don’t lose any sleep over it.

Nothing is too small to put on your resume. If you’re just out of film school, you can even put student films on there.

A resume is just a list of shows you worked on. Don’t be too proud to put a day playing gig on there. Don’t be too proud to add a shitty, straight-to-Netflix movie. Don’t be too proud to put anything on there.

The only case where I would not include something on your resume is if your time there ended exceedingly badly.1 Even then, you better have enough credits that losing one isn’t going to significantly reduce your resume.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Like if they show lost its funding because you were a crappy PA.
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6 Responses

  1. Great advice, I’m always unsure what to put on a resume because everyone gives different advice, but I do think that this is good advice. It shows your not afraid to admit that yes I worked on a couple crappy shows.

  2. Could not agree with this advice more! Did a single day as a PA (just 12 hours) on a big network reality show and years after that single day of work I still got questions about it on job interviews.

    Experience is experience is experience.

    Also, if you’re applying for an office-based gig (post PA, Office PA, Reception, Assistant) good idea to put any office/phone experience you have on there as well. ANY relevant experience is experience.

  3. I agree with that! I put everything on my resume even if it’s a one day shoot. I have a question though. I’m moving to LA in 3 months from Miami and currently my resume says Director/Producer all over it but I’m looking to start off getting PA jobs in LA on bigger sets. Do you think it will hurt me that everything says Director/Producer on it instead of PA?

    1. What I’ve done is designate a section of the resume for non-professional work. My personal projects where I was Director/DP/Producer usually fall there and are listed below my paid PA/AC work. I figure it shows that I know the process but that I understand that my paid PA work carries more weight.

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