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Aiming for a Specific Company

Krithika writes in:

I am based in India. At this point, I do not have a US work permit. But I really want to work with a few specific companies in the US, Shondaland being the top of the wishlist.

How should I go about this?

I have no more experience than previous TAPAs when it comes to immigration. To quote an earlier post:

The US limits work visas to people who bring skills that can’t otherwise be found in America. (There might be other ways to get a visa, but again, I’m not an expert.)

Unfortunately, for you (and me, honestly), finding PAs in America isn’t hard. Hell, a lot of shows won’t hire PAs from out of state, much less outside the country.

Granted, the immigration situation in the US is kinda messed up right now, so who knows?

But there’s another issue Krithika brings up that will apply to most of my readers– she wants to work at a particular company.

While I agree that working at Shondaland would be awesome, you need to be careful about focusing your goals quite so tightly. Most (good) assistants stick around for a couple of years. The producers at Shondaland can’t go without their assistant for very long; they won’t spend more than a couple weeks looking for a replacement.

That’s a very narrow window of opportunity. You basically have to hope that they need an assistant at the same time you need a job.

The same goes for any PAs who want to land a specific series. It’s so hard to know if and when they’ll need a PA, and what specific qualifications they’re looking for. Sometimes they want an experienced PA, sometimes they want someone they can train. Sometimes they want eye-candy to hang around they office while the other PAs do all the work.1

When looking for work, you gotta go with the shotgun approach. Apply to any and all jobs that you’re qualified for and can tolerate for the length of employment. Otherwise, you’ll spend a long time in the unemployment office.

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  1. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…
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3 Responses

  1. Hey Guys! I know this is a few weeks after the fact, but I thought I’d chime in with a bit of (what I hope will be) helpful information on the immigration subject. I’ve worked in production, casting and recruiting. Most recently, I was helping a friend look at candidates for an animated feature she’s staffing in Canada. She came down here to LA with her head of Recruiting and Head of Animation. What I learned was basically this: It’s much easier to bring artists/directors/actors outside of their home countries on visas . Hopefully you knew this already. To add to the bit about having to have a specific skill set, even to be sponsored as an animator/artist/VFX person, you have to have a minimum of 2 years full-time, relevant, in-industry experience. And it really is pretty much just for artist or IT types. My friend and her boss looked at brining me up to Montreal for a few weeks to help with Recruiting efforts up there, and even though I have way more than 2 years of experience, being on the Production Staff side of things, or HR, it’s basically impossible to get sponsorship, because there are so many folks in country who can do those jobs. The only real Production level people who can get visas are Producers. If you’re looking to go outside your home country for production, look at companies that have home base offices in your country. In India, there’s tons of Animation stuff that gets outsourced. If you make yourself an asset, there’s the potential that they would let you transfer offices (at least short term) as you climb the ladder. Not ideal – in that it takes a lot of time, but a much more practical and feasible approach. Also, get into fields that are easier to get visas for, largely IT and digital graphics/VFX/Animation. Good luck!

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