Angie writes in about how to approach a production office:
I have a friend who’s well connected in the local industry (not Hollywood, but there are noteworthy productions around) They have kindly provided me with the phone numbers and addresses of the production offices for those shows. Understandably, they do not want me sharing how I got the information, but since I’m just starting out, the information is invaluable and I’d be a fool to not use it.
So my question is this: Do production offices mind people stopping by and inquiring politely about PA and other on-set entry-level jobs, or would it be smarter to call and set up an appointment (if they do that) even though I run the risk of being ignored or waved off?
Here’s the thing– productions need PAs when they need PAs. The odds that they need a PA on the day you decide to contact them are fairly slim.
This is why networking is so important. When an AD does need a new PA, you want them to think of you all on their own. And this is why breaking in is so difficult. You need to take internships, on set and in the office, to prove your worth.
What I don’t recommend doing is walking into the production office and asking for a job. There are a lot of weirdos trying to get into this business; heck, there are a lot of weirdos already in this business. There’s not much one can do about the former group, but everyone tries to avoid the latter group. If you walk in unannounced, you’ll look like a nut.
Calls and emails are the only way to start a conversation. It’s a good idea to mention who gave you the contact information. Again, this is so you don’t look like a stalker.
Good morning [name],
I’m a production assistant with [x] years of experience. [mutual friend] suggested I get in contact with you, in case you’re looking for PAs. My resume is attached for your reference, too.
Keep it short and simple.