Should You Leave a Series Mid-Season?

Gary writes in:

I’ve been a PA for over a year and thankfully have had some long runs on shows. I recently started a show for a 3 month run, but I was just offered a position on a feature film in another state that I have been trying extremely hard to get on. My question is, in your opinion how bad does it look to leave a show early?

Is there a graceful way to leave and still leave a semi good impression? I’m prepared to stick with the show just because my morals know that I should always stick out a show but this is also a once in a lifetime opportunity Id like to take. What do you think?

You leave a show mid-season for a another production, that bridge is well and truly burned.

Pictured above: you.You’ll never work for that AD or coordinator ever again. You’ll be on the shit list for the 2nd AD or APOC, too. If you made any kind of impression on anyone else, they’ll ask where you went; when they hear you quit for another show, they’ll probably not recommend you the next time an opening comes up on another show.

So, the reason you’re leaving better be a darn good one. For instance, if it’s a big promotion. If you don’t want to be in production, and you landed a gig as a costumer or assistant editor or whatever, great! You weren’t planning on going back over that bridge anyway.

But don’t make a lateral move because you think the other show is “cooler” for some reason. Remember, as a PA, you have no real effect on the show, anyway. A shitty show is still a job, and no one think less of you by association.

And, honestly, don’t work on a show you like. It never ends well. Just enjoy watching it after working on your crappy show all day.

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4 Responses

  1. I guess in general, that’s good advice, but it doesn’t always apply. Film gigs are short, and so are people’s memory. Of course no one is going to forget that you left them high and dry, so you have to assess the situation, but if you’re a great worker, regardless of your position, people will want you back. On the other hand, if you’re adequate, average or lame, leaving a show early is just another reason to get skipped over the next time around.

  2. Great advice, I hope Gary reads it and heeds it well. There are only three exceptions to leaving a show early that employers will forgive or even support:
    1.) As stated above a few times; if you are getting a significant promotion. Getting bumped up to AD work, got into the camera union ect.
    2.) The show you are currently on is a shit show, it’s unsafe, and people are treated poorly. Then who cares if the bridge is burned? They burned it with you by treating you so poorly.
    3.) Sudden health changes and/or Important family/personal reasons that can’t be scheduled around. Sometimes life just trumps work.

    But if you’re making a lateral move…no. Finishing out one job strong says a lot about an employee. Jumping ship from a job or ADs “stealing” PAs from one job to another is in bad form.

  3. That is absolutely the correct advice. you NEVER leave a show for another show. The only way people understand (and they won’t like it if you leave a show) is if you’re getting a promotion or a huge bump in pay. Like if you’re a PA but the next show is you’re going to be a 2nd 2nd or an APOC. Otherwise never leave a show. It’s the same way on features, even if Star Wars comes looking for a PA and your working on the latest Friedberg & Seltzer movie, if the position isn’t moving up don’t leave. Word of mouth gets out quick.

  4. I feel like there’s different standards for this depending on who you are/who you work for. I was on an indie feature last month filling in for a guy who had taken some days off to go work a MUCH better paying commercial job, but would be returning the following week. Granted, the fact that he was returning may have played a factor, but no one seemed to harbor any ill will towards him, rather commending him for going after the pay day.

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