Korey writes in:
I was curious about how to go about contacting productions directly to be added to their “available list” for PA work. I know that a lot of productions operate under several different companies, and the information available on IMDb Pro isn’t always accurate.
I live in Hollywood and have worked on some reality TV. I am hoping to increase my exposure and get some more regular work as a PA until (hopefully) making it into the DGA AD Training program.
Well, first, don’t call the production company. They don’t know and don’t care who the PAs are on a given show. The producer generally allows the coordinator to hire the office PAs, and the ADs to hire the set PAs.
For the most part, TV shows hire two or three office PAs and two or three set PAs for the season. As far as office PAs go, that’s probably all they need, unless someone gets fired (or goes on vacation).
Now set PAs, they’re another story. On stage, the regular PAs are plenty, but when the production goes on location, they need extra hands, if for no other reason than to stand on set when everyone else is at lunch.
So, the ADs (by which I mean, the AD department, not specifically the 1st ADs) often have a list of PAs they like on the whiteboard in the AD trailer. As is always the case, you get on those lists by having already worked with the second AD. There are thousands of PAs looking for work; the list would be uselessly long if they just included everyone.
The will also add PAs recommended by people they trust, like their permanent set PAs, or other ADs they like. All you can do is keep working on the shitty reality shows, until one of these other people recommends you to the big leagues.