Why Won’t He Call Me Back?

Ellis writes in:

Newly minted PA here and I need some help with networking. Several crew members have given me their numbers and encouraged me to reach out and stay in touch.

Here is the problem: Some respond and others don’t. For those that don’t respond, do I continue to reach out and stay in touch? Do I take them off my contact list?

Why give me their number if they don’t intend to respond? How do I navigate this?

If you’re a newly minted PA, you’re probably a newly minted adult, too.1 You’re still getting used to the idea that you and everyone you know have a million responsibilities, from child care to paying bills to changing the oil in your car. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed by all of these duties, but don’t worry… that’s perfectly natural and will never go away.

Pictured above: me, right now, forever.

So you should understand that important things come up all the time. They could be on the job, or in the hospital or on vacation in an exotic land where their cell phone doesn’t work. Or maybe they don’t like you.

The other possibility is that you’ve contacted them without giving them any sort of motivation to return the call. Are you asking for a job? If they don’t have one for you, there’s no reason to call/text/email you back.

Instead, maybe try asking if they want to meet for coffee or drinks or lunch. (Make sure this sounds super platonic. (Unless that’s what you’re going for.))

If you’ve texted three times (over the course of three months or so, hopefully), and never heard back, then stop bothering. Whatever the cause is, they’re just not that into you.

That being said, never, ever delete someone from your contacts. You never know when their email or phone number might come in handy. Save every crew list you ever get. I even hang onto cast lists when I get them.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I know you think you became a grown up when you turned 18, but four years of film school suggest otherwise.
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4 Responses

  1. I don’t agree. It sends the wrong message. Simply put, people are busy and PA’s are not a priority. Do not take it personally. When they are in need of a PA hopefully they will remember your text/email asking for work. Keep your message professional and short – “hey it’s blank, we worked on the show awhile ago. Hope all is well. Are you looking for a PA anytime soon? Thanks.”

    1. I agree with what you’re saying if you’re contacting someone out of the blue. But if they specifically said, “Stay in touch,” that’s a different situation.

      1. I kind of agree with Manny. Saying “stay in touch” is sort of like “that was fun, we should do it again” after an average date. You might get a reply, you might not. The important thing is being a blip on their radar. Might not pay off right away but I still get jobs from people that don’t initially reply to “how are you? looking for work in the next few weeks” texts.

      2. I know this response is late but just in case someone sees this I wanted to add what works for me. Whenever I get a new contact in the industry I always try to keep in contact by adding value first. Try to remember something that pertains to them that you connect over or you know they like, for instance, if you see an article about how to improve sound and that is what they did for a living send it to them. Then ask them their thoughts on it or something that engages them to respond. That works best and I almost always get a response. If you don’t want to do that, stay current with their work and and if you like it be sure to tell them. “hey man, you rocked it on last weeks episode I really liked x, y, z, great job!” always add value first and then people generally will return it.

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