No iPhone, No Job

David writes:
I’m fresh out of college, I’ve worked a few unpaid PA gigs here and there, but today I almost got a five day gig at Day Rate! The problem came when I was asked if I had a smart phone. I said I have a older cell phone, I have a GPS, and I have an ipod touch with WI-Fi. I lost the gig because they wanted me to be able to get onto the internet at any time.

Will I have to look forward to losing a lot of jobs because I don’t have a smart phone? I don’t understand why a PA needs a smart phone.
Besides E-Mail, isn’t everything on the internet just a phone call away? I could call 411, I could text one of those services, or I could call a friend who is on a computer. I was willing to drive 2 hours each way for this gig, but not having a smart phone lost me the job. I can’t really afford a smart phone yet…

Am I screwed because I don’t have a smart phone?

I’ve never heard of that, but it doesn’t surprise me. There was a time when having even a regular cell phone was a luxury, then a novelty. Now, it’s a necessity, and has been as long as I’ve been a PA.
Apparently, smart phones are making that transition as well. I’d be willing to bet owning a car went through the same process around the time Norma Desmond was declaring it was the pictures that got small.
This is one of those lines you've heard long before you knew the movie existed.
"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my... What is that, an iPhone? What kind of cheap production is this?"
Everything you’re talking about is technically feasible, but not necessarily the most efficient methods. Look at it from their perspective: why would they hire you instead of your friend, who can look things up directly?

As I said, I’ve never heard of this happening. It will likely be a while before this happens to you again. I wouldn’t stress too much about not having the phone, but I would also make the smart phone your next big purchase. You definitely don’t want this to happen again.

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7 Responses

  1. I once lost my cell phone in a cab on the first day of shooting, I had to run to a wallgreens that night and get a cheap flip phone replacement. Over the next few weeks I spent 40 dollars on 411 so I could figure out where the closest starbucks was…now I keep a spare 4 year old smart phone in my backpack, just in case.

  2. The way I see it, if you get paid standard day rate, you could be paying that smart phone of in a couple days of work (vs. never getting one if you can’t get the jobs to start with). So get the cheapest iPhone or whatever you can, either in store or off Craigslist, and call it an investment in your career.

  3. I’m always running around as a PA, often times in these way off locations. I recommend sprint w/ roaming (you’ll roam on Verizon’s network). That way you almost always have service, and you have the cost benefit of being on Sprint with acceptable coverage from Verizon. Besides that, a smartphone is 100% necessary. If you’re that broke and can’t afford a formal plan, get on a pay as you go with Virgin Mobile and buy a cheap Android handset.

  4. This has happened to me before, but in my favor.

    I got a single day PA job on a reality TV show because I had an iPhone. They made me download an app that could scan those square barcodes, since all the contestants had print-at-home tickets with those barcodes on it. It was very efficient with all of us PAs scanning people in using just our phones.

  5. Most PA jobs I’ve gotten they haven’t even asked if I had a smartphone, not because they didn’t care, but because they assumed I had one.

    It’s a constantly changing world. We don’t have to carry around rolls of quarters in our pockets, but we do need recent technology to keep up with the demands of our higher ups.

    It’s very likely that David could utilize one of his alternative methods and be just as or more efficient than many PA’s, but as you noted, that’s not the point. There are less chances of something going wrong when you cut out all the extra steps. If that means one less headache for a POC, then why not require it?

    1. Yes you can. As long as you have email set up on the phone. And it downloads dirtlecy. But I prefer to use the web base mail application to download the files. So if you use Yahoo, Google, or Hotmail, use the applications that are from the mobile Internet, not the mail app integrated into the phone. But truth be told, I’m not sure if Google or Hotmail does it because I use Yahoo. But I’m almost certain they work.Sorry I get off the topic down here/ / /And as much as I love the iPhone. It doesn’t download ANYTHING dirtlecy from Safari (unless you jailbreak it, which I did XD), except for images. Everything is through App Store, Mobile iTunes, or iTunes on a computer, and it isn’t even free! Except for Apps and Podcasts. I’m not hating on the iPhone, I’m just pointing out the flaws.Hope this helps

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