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You Have to Take Risks

Eric writes:

I’ve been seeing a lot of postings for part time assistant positions. Is this the new wave of employment/new way of business since the economy is still in the crapper (articles writing about how the unemployment level is not at 5.5% more like 9%) and Hollywood tightening the belt everywhere?

That being said, Id like your opinion: I am working as a long term temp (no idea when this assignment ends or if they will hire me as permanent employee). As a full time temp, I am making more than minimum wage BUT its not in the industry. I just got an interview for a part time PA/Admin for a production company…. should I seriously consider these part time positions or wait until its full time… giving up a full time paycheck for the possibility that something could/no guaranteed turn to something further down the road?

There are so many people who desperately want to break into this business, it’s easy for unscrupulous people to abuse them. That could mean having interns do production assistants’ jobs, not paying overtime, or, as with Eric’s question, only hiring you part time.

To be frank, that’s the lesser of three evils. And to be even more honest, this might actually be a good sign.

Think about it. Why aren’t they just hiring interns? Probably because all of the good interns are taken, and to get somebody who can really do the job, they know they have to pay. They don’t have a ton of money, so it’s not full time, but it is pay. A little is better than nothing.

On to Eric’s specific situation. It’s tough, because you can’t buy groceries with “potential growth opportunities.” You can’t pay rent with “connections.”

But on the other hand, every day you spend away from the Industry makes it that much harder to get back into it. You need to stay in touch with people, or they’ll forget about you and move on to the next assistant who’s actually there.

Sometimes, you have to gamble on your future. Can you suffer now in order to make it later on? That’s not really a decision I can make for you. But I am pretty sure you’re not getting anywhere as an assistant in a different industry.

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5 Responses

  1. “But on the other hand, every day you spend away from the Industry makes it that much harder to get back into it. You need to stay in touch with people, or they’ll forget about you and move on to the next assistant who’s actually there.”

    S**t. I’m in a similar position. I currently live nowhere near a production city, but through luck and volunteering at a film festival, I managed to befriend a producer, who would be able to find me work. But in order to do it, I’d have to move. (Which, admittedly, is what I want) but I’d have to drop my current career-job to do it. (which is also what I want) But it’s a big risk, and I’m worried if I don’t act now, my only solid connection in a year of attempted networking will forget about me.

    1. “But on the other hand, every day you spend away from the Industry makes it that much harder to get back into it. You need to stay in touch with people, or they’ll forget about you and move on to the next assistant who’s actually there.”

      I feel like we all need to cool our jets here. Statements like the one above don’t help anyone, and, quite frankly, make people a little panicky. Look, Padawan, it’s called patience and perseverance and putting things in to perspective. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If it isn’t, it won’t make much of a difference in the totality of one’s life. Why? Because, at the end of the day, it’s just entertainment; It doesn’t mean anything. Not really.

      Also, if he really means to help you he won’t forget about you. Your word means a lot in this industry and if he cares about his he’ll keep it.

      Keep your eyes and ears open, and if you have to reinvent yourself while waiting then do it.

      Good luck

  2. Hi I just got my first two PA jobs about two weeks ago. I was wondering when checks are usually delivered. I’ve worked background on sets before and it usually takes about 2 weeks for the check to get to me but obviously PAing is a whole different ball game.

    Btw I love this blog and have been reading it for years.

      1. Thanks for responding! I actually came home to find my check on my bed last night. Apparently it was delivered after I went to work.

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