Turning Down Work

On my last show, I was bumped up to Production Secretary during wrap. The bump was largely nominal (although I did also receive a raise), since I was performing essentially the same duties I had already been performing. As we were winding down, I was told, “TAPA, you shouldn’t have to PA again. After this, you should turn down work until someone hires you as a secretary.”

I had never turned down work before. This was uncharted territory for me.

There are two schools of thought. One: Take every job that comes your way and if something better comes along, quit and then take that. Two: Pass on jobs until the right one comes along. The “right one” is the position you want for the rate you want on the show you want.

I’ve always thought the second route – passing today for a job tomorrow – was more my style. The thought of leaving a horse mid-stream leaves my hands wringing in a full-sweat anxiety attack. I passed on two jobs. Re-shoots, both of them.

Now, in my fifth month of unemployment, I’m wondering if maybe the first route would’ve been smarter.

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6 Responses

  1. Or move to Atlanta. Lotssssssss of TV Shows and Movies. Not just louisiana…

    1. I know I’m 2 years too late….but Atlanta is booming!!! They cast everything in L.A as always, but if you want to be in the crew, Atlanta and New Orleans are the places to be. Price of living a whole lot lower than L.A and NY too. 🙂 All the best everyone!

  2. Pride is a bitch. I’ve done the same thing. Turned down jobs because I had in fact gotten work several levels above the job on offer… I’ve also taken work well below on jobs where I wouldn’t run into people who may have seem me grow or in a higher position. It’s pride. It’s painful. Its’ poker. It’s in line with the saying “you have to spend money to make money.” There comes a time where you have to at least try hang on hard work you’ve put in. There might be the job you want and deserve just around the corner. So sometimes you wait.
    *Yes, if you’re inexperienced, take any job you can take.

    As horrible as it sounds. It’s a bit of a relief to hear that it’s just terrible out there now for everyone. What I think the best thing to do now (mainly speaking to those who’ve been here for a bit and worked)… since there is no right or wrong way to do it, is ask yourself “What the hell do I REALLY want? Why have I tortured myself in this sometimes mean shitty (but great) town?” I have a REALLY good resume, I’ve kicked ass, people like me but all that was doing nothing for me. Finally I came to the realization that all I want to do is be a writer. I don’t love development, I don’t love assisting people, I like production but I don’t love it. So, after a year + unemployed I just got a gig waiting tables and I’m pumped! Sure, if I slip into the wrong mindset my pride whales me in the gut until I want to vomit, but I’m working on that. I do think I’m on the right path now. The industry is changing. It’s time to be honest with yourself which isn’t easy. Ask what your goals are and focus with everything on that.

  3. I asked myself the same question and my mentor, a producer of a big show said, take whatever job you can get. It’s hard to find work, but, when you are working, you are putting yourself out there and people are seeing you. The more people you know, the more chances you get of getting better work. Remember, you can’t just twiddle your thumbs waiting for the day to end.

  4. I’m on my last month of Unemployment. Yes, last month. Exhausted even the two extensions. I’d take a job as a janitor on a set if I could, but even that probably would go to someone’s nephew. My redone resume through TAPA got me nothing. My even more redone stand out fancy resume has got me nothing. I’m considering changing the name on my resume to Danielle to see if that actually gets me a call back, and then go the Tootsie route. I don’t know you, but having been unemployed for over a year, constantly begging people for just the littlest of an opportunity, I kind of hate you for turning down those jobs. You could have at least recommended me in your place.

  5. Get out of Los Angeles. 5 Months with no work? When the Michigan movies dried up, I didn’t linger and hope that work would one day return. I ran with the work. Come to NOLA already.

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