Lauren writes in:
I know of two projects specifically that are being produced soon. (One is a feature adapted from a book, one is a new multi-camera sitcom.)
I REALLY want to work on set as a PA for either or both. Is there ANY way to get in with someone and throw my resume on their pile or talk to someone? Except for meeting someone? I try and network excessively but I haven’t met anyone who knows someone who can give me some tips on how to get in with these production companies.
More generally, how do I go after a job I WANT versus applying for whatever jobs get posted on tracking board/UTA?
The short answer is, there isn’t a way. Shows are frequently staffed by people who know people. The producer has a UPM he likes to work with; she has a coordinator she uses all the time; he has a circle of PAs he calls in for every show. (Sometimes, the producer has a nephew he forces on the coordinator, but that’s another issue entirely.)
There’s no reason to think that the show you want to work for is hiring right now, unless you’ve seen a job listing somewhere, or heard it from a friend.
There’s no sense in waiting around for a show you like; you need to get a job now, to pay the bills. You don’t have time to wait around until the “right” show comes along.
Also, the quality of the show has little-to-no bearing on whether it’s a good job. Some great shows are terrible to work for; I’ve had the most fun on some really, really shitty shows. At the PA level, it doesn’t matter what’s on screen.