The Movie Next Door

Will writes in with a story that comes up quite a bit in Los Angeles:

A movie is currently filming literally down the street from me. It’s a Hollywood film being produced by Paramount, as that was stamped on one of their vehicles. I know they are all staffed up since they are already filming. I’d like to get involved in film as a PA or anything entry-level where I can learn from, meet, and work with people in the business.

Is there anything I could or should do to take advantage of a movie being filmed right by my house? I feel like I’ll just get shut down, especially since I have no experience in the business. What do you think?

First off, the fact that the trucks are from Paramount doesn’t mean that’s who’s producing the film. Most of the studios, along with producing films, actually rent things– props, costumes, stages (why do you think they’re called studios?), and, yes, trucks.

The easiest way to distinguish a big studio feature (or network show) from an indie is the number of trucks. Specifically, is the grip and electric gear stored on two separate trucks, or one?

As to your actual question, the best you can do is meet and befriend a PA or two. No one else will give you the time of day.1 From there, just maintain that friendship, and maybe they’ll let you know about a job opportunity in the future.

Just don’t expect to get a job on the show tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Except crafty; he’s nice to everyone.
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2 Responses

  1. Don’t expect it, but certainly be open for it. I forget the details, but a friend of mine was living in New York while a big blockbuster was shooting there (one of the Batman movies I think). He saw the filming, found a PA and asked where he could find one of the ADs. They pointed him to the 2nd AD I think and he walked up and said, “Hey, I want to work in the industry. Do you need any PAs?” The AD asked if he was available that day and he said yes. He took his info and said we’ll call if we need you. He didn’t work that day, but was called in two days later and worked a few days as a lockup PA. Locking up is the bottom rung, but he got some experience from just going for it.

  2. Super advice! I’ve worked on sets as a PA and I’ve talked to neighbors nearby. Few have been interested in film jobs. Can’t say I’ve actually referred any of them yet, but they’re on my radar.

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