Try Harder

On my way to interview for my first job in Hollywood (as a PA, natch), I got a flat tire. I was just cruising along Ventura Blvd., listening to KROQ, thinking about how I finally had a chance to put my film schooling to good use, when BAM! Flat. You can imagine my consternation.

I called the show’s coordinator, gave him the situation, and said I’d be there as soon as I could. He was very understanding, and told me to just be there when I could. I set to work changing my tire, and then drove as fast as I safely could to the studio. I arrived at the scheduled appointment time.

I got the job.

What can you learn from this story?

1) If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again, because it’s true. It was only because I had planned on being early that I managed to be on time. My potential employer expected I would be late; by even getting there on schedule, I impressed him.

B) If you’re a grown man, you should know how to change a tire. It’s not hard. This is a bare minimum of manliness, yet somehow people are impressed by it. (The bar has been lowered greatly, I think.) Also, you should know how to jump start a car without electrocuting yourself or melting the car.

Γ) Most importantly, you should try harder. No matter what the situation, you should try as hard as you can to do the job, even if the job is getting a job. There was a good chance I wasn’t going to get that job. Someone who calls ahead to the interview to make an excuse is probably not going to get the job. But if I hadn’t even tried to change the tire, if I’d called AAA and waited around for someone else to take care of my problem, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the job.

It’s not always going to work out, like my story did, but if you don’t try, if you’re lazy, shiftless, or “laid back,” it well never, ever, ever work out.

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7 Responses

  1. Ya wanna job??? Here’s my advice from a guy who’s been working in LA Live Action since 1980; and here’s how I got my first job…

    I saw a low-budget (non-union) film crew shooting in the SF Valley and stopped to watch. Though a small shoot, they had maybe 50+ people working on both side of the street in Vally Village. I also saw a guy (Location Mgr) struggling to set up a bunch of tables & folding chairs in a parking lot. Unemployed & with nothing to do that day, I asked if he wanted some help. “Yeah, sure, but I can’t pay ya anything except some lunch. We’re all crewed up.” “No problem, sounds good. What can I do?” He showed me where he needed to set up the tables & chairs for the crew’s lunch; then he got an emergency call on his Radio (walkie talkie) and ran off. When he came back, I had all the tables up, all chairs set out, and with the help of the caterer, had table cloths on all the tables. Location Mgr came back and said, “Holy shit! You want a job?” “Yeah, sure, but I’ve never worked on a film be…” “Wait right here! Don’t go away!” I saw him go over to the chain-smoking Prod Mgr; point at me; they both looked, the PM nodded, then the LM went over & talked to two guys who were standing next to the set & smoking cigarettes… and he FIRED them both! I got the job and asked the Location Pro what happened; he said “I told the PM you were the best PA I’d ever seen & had pitched in when I was in a jam, so he told me to fire those two dead-beats & hire you!” And I’ve been working ever since… 60+ major features, a bunch of TV & around 1000 TV commercials… Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, DeNiro, Redford… had a lotta fun. Go for it!

  2. So thats right, especially the point 1. You should always plan for some unanticipated things to happen. But I speak easy, because I am german. so its in my genes to be on the point. For everyone else “try harder” is an good advice 🙂

  3. I do apologize if you have mentioned this on here before, but when would be the most opportune/successful time to get a PA job? Around July? I’m debating if I should move out there relatively soon after I graduate or take a summer job I have and move out there in August. Any input would be much appreciated!

    …or am I pretty much just screwed/it’s up to luck no matter which month?

    1. Well, we’re all screwed all the time, until we land that job. Technically, you could be hired at any time, but realistically, January to March are the best times for pilots, and then April through June are the best times for series. The hiring possibilities drop off pretty steeply, falling to near zero by December.

  4. Hey there!
    Just wondering if you could tell me how you got the interview set up.
    I’ve been trying to get an interview for a PA position for 3 months but nothing…
    I emailed, called everyone that I know & don’t know. But nothing yet.
    Please help this fellow out.



    1. You’re doing the right thing, Danny. This is not a good time of year to find a job, especially in TV. But don’t lose hope! Opportunities pop up at the strangest times. You’ll never see them, though, if you stop trying.

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