Fake Address

Erica writes in:

First, I want to thank you for all of your awesome advice– I know it’s greatly appreciated by your readers and once-blind-wanderers like myself.

Secondly, I want to ask about getting work before moving down to LA. I know that in previous posts you’ve said you need to be in LA to even be considered. I graduated college last May and am giving myself one more month to get a job in the industry before throwing in the towel to just get a better paying job than one I have now (nice for getting gigs, but not REALLY for sustaining yourself). I completely support myself and simply can’t move from the Bay Area without something lined up.

I’m wondering what your feelings are about using a friend’s address to get jobs and then, if after finally getting a bite, giving myself a couple of days to get down there or let them know that I am in the process of moving.

I little white lie, like, “Yes, of course I know Movie Magic1 never hurt anyone. Giving a fake address, however, is borderline.

Side note: Why are you giving them your address? It’s not like they’re going to write you a letter. It’s just taking up space on your resume. /endaside

But if it somehow comes up, I think it’s fine to say you live in Los Angeles, as long as you can get there (or wherever the production is) within a day.

But don’t tell them that.

You want to make this process as easy as possible for them. Any indication that hiring you will cause a headache for them, means they’ll just move on to the next PA. Don’t tell them you’re moving, and don’t ask for several days’ notice.

Generally speaking, ADs and coordinators want you to interview the following day (or the day they call), and they want you to start working within a week. The moment you get an interview, you need to pack your bag, get in your car, and head down the five. Worry about moving your stuff later.

You’ll almost never get offered a job from a phone interview. You really do have to be there for that. If you don’t land the first gig, it’s back to San Francisco for you. It’s up to you if you can take that kind of commute.

As I said, sometimes they want to hire you the same day that they call. Another white lie can fix that. “Oh, I’m on set, right now. Can I come by tomorrow?” If they ask when you wrap, give them a time like “Probably 11:00pm, but that’s being optimistic.” Everyone understands the vagaries of production; they’ll accept that.

Are you cool with all that lying? Maybe you should be an agent, instead.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. As opposed to, say, “Yes, I speak Urdu.”
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5 Responses

  1. Eli Roth was a production assistant who made connections and found success as a writer/director/producer. Bill Hader was a production assistant who went on to be a regular on SNL. The list goes on… it all seems so easy.

    1. The path to Hollywood success starting as a PA might seem “easy” from the outside — to someone who’s never done it, or is in some other business — but it’s not. Whatever your career goal might be — writer, director, producer, or just a humble juicer — you’ll have to work your ass off and enjoy a little (or a lot) of luck to get there. There’s always a crowd of driven, talented people striving for the same job, which means no matter how brilliant you might be, it’ll take a serious effort to succeed. Even those born into the business (and there are more than you might think) have to prove themselves capable and worthy of respect, or else they’ll spend their sad little careers in the brackish backwaters of the industry.

  2. It blows my mind how bad people want to get their foot in the door with a PA job. It’s just about minimum wage stretched out over a 60 hour week. The idea of traveling such great distances to land of these jobs seems so ridiculous. To quote my current production coordinator, “There’s two types of people in this world. Those trying to get into production and those trying to get out.”

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