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Students Can’t be Choosers

Emily writes in:

I noticed that you said certain PA jobs can only be found through a certain networking group within the industry. I am still a student, and looking into getting an internship in the area of television development/ Writer’s office.

I have seen certain postings in the common areas such as entertainmentcareers and the UTA list you recently posted. But, is there also an inter network for these types of positions, or mostly for PA jobs?

I am specifically looking for internships with shows on ABC or The CW Network, because I feel I would fit well in these networks, but of course I would really take anything at the moment.

I am really just looking for a quality learning experience with a well established company and it’s hard to choose amongst the listings or to be confident that there aren’t better opportunities that I am missing. I would truly appreciate any advice you could possibly give me.

The Coordinators 911 is a network for production coordinators. You have to know a coordinator to get those emails.

As far as being a writer’s assistant, you, being in school, are several steps away from that. You’re not even qualified to be a PA on a network show, at this stage. When you talk about “choosing” listings, you’ve got it completely backwards. At your age, and with your level of experience, you should be applying to everything. 90% of your emails won’t even get a response, and most that do will be “No, thank you.”

You can, however, intern. Don’t wait for internships to be listed. That’s not how shows work, anyway. What you should do is email every production office you can find (not just the shows you like), tell them you’re a film student, and you were hoping they needed an intern. You’ll be lucky if this gets a 10% success rate, too.

Calling is okay, too, and probably more useful. It’s harder to ignore a phone call than an email. Just ask to speak to the APOC, and use their name, if you can.

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Post Script for anytime you ask someone for a favor and get a less than positive response, whether you’re writing TAPA for advice or asking a producer to read your script. This was Emily’s response to the above email:

Thank you for your honest response.  The advice is very useful and I am looking to get an internship.  I wouldn’t have even known that emailing the production offices directly would be appropriate, so this is helpful.

Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Emily

Do you see? Emily recognizes that I didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear; I told her what she needed to hear. Not everyone understands that.

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5 Responses

    1. Totally understandable reaction (I might have chortled, too), but to be fair, we weren’t born knowing all this stuff, either. This blog exists to pass our knowledge on to those who need it.

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