Reader (and aspiring identity thief) Anonymous PA writes:
From a PA perspective, what are your thoughts on the DGA Training Program? Have you ever worked with a DGA Trainee?
I’ve worked with many DGA trainees. All kind, good-hearted people who have not yet had their souls crushed under the oppressive weight of ADdom.
I’ve made my feelings about assistant directors well known in the past, so I won’t reiterate them here. Suffice it to say that it’s a job I wouldn’t enjoy, nor would I be any good at.
That being said, if you actually want to be an AD, whether because you’re a misanthrope or you just hate people, the DGA Trainee Program sounds like a pretty good deal, from what I’ve heard.
Like most unions, the DGA requires that you work a certain number of hours before you can join. I don’t remember the specifics, but you have to work some ridiculous number of days as a PA (something on the order of 300) before you can be a 2nd 2nd AD. On top of that, a certain number of those days (maybe 50?) must be worked outside of New York and Los Angeles.
The trainee program allows you to circumvent all that. Once you’re accepted into the program, you are instantly a DGA member. Of course, the Guild takes over your life.
You work on every kind of shoot– feature, TV, commercial, industrial, big budgets, small budgets, budgets that climb on rocks. I think you work up to fifty days on any single project (assuming it lasts that long). Then, on weekends, you take classes. This goes on for two years.
And when you’re done, you get to be a 2nd 2nd!