Never Quit a Show

Lauren writes in about quitting a show between seasons:

Stumbled upon your blog and website and…thank you. I appreciate what you’re doing and sharing! I would like your advice on something though. So I got my first long-term PAing job on a TV show in Chicago. It’s going great.

However, my dream is living and working in LA. What would be benefits of staying in Chicago longer for more seasons with this show rather than moving right after this season? It is great to finally have something and be working in the industry. But I know from other friends and people I’ve contacted in LA that say they always wish they came out sooner. What would you do?

I would stay.

Regular work is hard to find. It’s especially difficult to find when you’re in a brand new city.

There are so many benefits to sticking around. First of all, there’s stability, which is rare in this industry. You don’t often get to work the same job for years at a time. Plus, you get a pay bump every season, which is nice.

As the seasons wear on, there will be opportunity for advancement. You might be able to move up in your department, or move to a different department. If you’re a good worker, it will be recognized and rewarded.

And when you eventually do move to Los Angeles, you’ll be in a much stronger position to look for work. You’ll have experience and strong recommendations. More to the point, if you leave the show, you won’t get those strong recommendations. It’ll basically be like this season didn’t happen at all.

The only reason to move out sooner is if when the show gets cancelled. Then, there’s nothing holding you back. Your friends’ advice only applies to you if you’re working at a restaurant or an office job in another industry. You can work those survival jobs just as well in LA.

But if you’re on a show, that’s great. Stick with it. You’ll come into Hollywood way ahead of anyone else who just rolled off the turnip truck.

Falling off the turnip truck.
Pictured above: every day in Los Angeles
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2 Responses

  1. I agree that the best thing is to probably stay. It’s a lot easier to come in as a big fish from a little pond than as a little fish.

    I’m not so sure that declining to continue with a show after completing a season is looked down on though. I could be wrong, and it might be different in the office, but in my experience set PA’s bounce around all the time. People are often already working on something else when the next season starts. You gotta take the gigs when you get ’em.

    However: always, always, always finish a movie or TV season that you’re on. Leaving before a project finishes is always bad. Even if they say it’s ok to leave 2 weeks early to start something else, they don’t mean it.

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