Adam writes in with another age-related question:
How old are most office and set production assistants? I mean, ignoring the happenstance of Hollywood, not to mention just finding those first few jobs, isn’t one looking at a commitment of several years just as PA before even the possibility of moving to a position higher up shows on the horizon?
And speaking of finding those first few jobs–I doubt any tv show or movie will hire someone with no volunteer-PA experience, correct? Or is that at all plausible? Of all my questions this is the worst.
Have you befriended any other PAs or is there really no opportunity to?
How much has networking on the set helped you find other jobs?
Lotsa questions there.
Almost all PAs are in their twenties. I’ve met a few older ones, and they were either people who waited a long time to decide on their path in life, or people who just failed at life generally. A thirty-five year old PA is a sad sight.
That being said, it can (and does, in my case) require years of work to be promoted.
Due to various labor laws, you can’t work on a show for free. You can, however, intern in exchange for school credit.
Of course I’ve made friends with other PAs. It’d be kinda weird if you didn’t make friends at work, right?
But that kind of networking doesn’t tend to lead to jobs. Since just about anybody can be a PA, just about everybody knows someone who wants to do it. When a set PA spot opened recently on my show, I asked the AD if I recommend a friend. He said, “Sure, but there are about thirty other people who also have recommendations.”
And all thirty of those people outranked me.
You’re not going to get a job by networking with your peers. (At least, not anytime soon. If I make it as a writer, and one of my friends becomes a studio executive, then I suppose he can get me a job.) You also need to network with your superiors– ADs, coordinators, even producers. They’re the ones who make the decisions that actually affect your job.