How Far Would You Go For a Job?

Hoosier PA writes in–

I love the blog. I am a P.A working almost exclusively on reality tv shows. I started my first gig in February and have now worked on 7 shows since then. Recently I applied for a 3 month gig that is taking place in Orlando. I was asked by the coordinator if I was able to work as a local and if I knew the area, etc. etc.

Of course I’ve never been to Florida, but I’m not going to share that info because that’s a guaranteed no thanks. Plus with Google Maps, do you really need to be THAT familiar with the location? I’m operating under the philosophy of get the job first, ask questions later regarding housing and what not. My real plan is to drive my van out and park it for 3 months and just use that as my “home base”.

It has a bed in the back, and while I’ve not camped out in it for three months, I have for a few weekends. So I’m fairly confident I can ‘swing it”.

As a P.A. have you ever over-sold yourself to some extent to get the job?

Well, I’ve never gone that far. I did know a sound guy who slept in the back of his van,1 parked on the road outside the ranch where we were filming. We didn’t talk to him much.

I’m not saying Hoosier is a creepy dude sleeping because you sleep in a van, but I wouldn’t recommend advertising those sleeping habits, you know?

I’m all for going the extra mile to get the job, but I also worry about losing money just to get a PA gig. Obviously, you’re not flying yourself down to Florida, but it’s still a long drive, which will cost gas, if nothing else. Do the math and make sure you’re still coming out ahead.

I agree, though, that local knowledge isn’t super relevant for a PA. Google maps will do most of the work for you. This isn’t true for production coordinators or department heads, necessarily. They need to know the best rental places to use, and the vendors to avoid.

To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend Hoosier’s plan for everyone, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it on the reg, but if he thinks it sounds like a fun adventure one time? Sure, why not? It’ll be a funny story to tell on the Daily Show when you’re a big time director.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I considered linking to this video, instead, but c’mon, Chris Farley.
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One Response

  1. When I first came to Hollywood, a friend of mine borrowed a two-man tent from me, then drove out to Arizona and camped out near the location where a Peter Fonda movie called “Wanda Nevada” was filming. He showed up one morning on set claiming to be a PA. Granted, he had talked to the UPM in LA before going, but received no assurances that he’d be employed — which means he UPM was probably just blowing him off. Once he got on set, he looked around and noticed the lighting crew working very hard, then just pitched in as a gopher, running to the truck for equipment. He ended up getting $500/week (roughy $1800 in today’s dollars) working for the electric dept, and had the time of his life.

    So you never know what might happen when you show some serious initiative and drive.

    Then again, that guy left the biz to go to law school a couple of years later, which goes to show that some people just aren’t cut out for Hollywood…

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