You Control the Information

Brianna writes in:

I’ve been hesitant to take anything reality-based work that I am offered. An acquaintance (who is now an AD after earning his PA days) told me that no one will hire a PA on a scripted show if they only have reality on their resume because they’re two different worlds.

My entire resume, save for day-playing on one feature, is in reality/small commercials. Am I wasting my time/shooting myself in the foot by taking reality jobs in order to gain more experience and network with higher-ups in bigger cities?

“No one” is a bit of an exaggeration, but he’s right, it’s hard to move from reality to scripted television. Here’s the thing, though– who’s to say you were only a day player? Or that those shows were only reality TV?

There is no reason whatsoever to write “dayplayer” on your resume. Who cares how long you worked on that show? You were there, it goes on your resume.

And don’t call out the fact that the show is a reality show. There’s plenty of titles that could go either way. Why point out a potential negative?

Don’t lie, of course. If an interviewer asks, “Was this title a reality show or a scripted series?” Tell the truth. They might check later, they might not, but still, better to be safe.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m looking to hire an up and coming “reality” writer to help lay out a plan/”script” for a web content series. Maybe not a glamorous resume builder, but hopefully a lot of fun to work on.

  2. Over the years I’ve worked on the crew end of a lot of “reality” shows and most of them were far from un-scripted, in a range that ran from having vague guide lines to having dialogue force fed to the contestants. This includes day-playing on Bridezilla, a show I refused to return to after my first time with them unless the onscreen talent went through a metal detector first because they went way scary off book too many times. They didn’t make that change, I didn’t return.

    1. As an AD who works on scripted TV and feature films, there is ABSOLUTELY a reason to indicate when you were an additional Set PA. If you put “Background PA” or even just “Set PA” on your resume, ADs will assume you were staff. When they text their AD friends who worked on that show for their opinions about you, they’re going to think you’re a liar when their friend either has no idea who you are or says you were only there for a day. Don’t risk it. I’ve had SO MANY Set PAs exaggerate their experience when trying to get booked and it almost always ends with them never getting asked back.

      1. So would you recommend putting “Additional Set PA” on a resume as opposed to “Day-player?” Right now my resume says “Production Assistant (Day Player).” When asked about it in interviews, I’m always honest and say I just worked one day toward the end.

  3. Yep you were there for one day but chances are they don’t care. Don’t put it on your resume. Plenty of people day played on Inception and Dark Knight Rises and they put it on their resumes and none of us cared. It’s all about how you do that day on the job not in the past.

  4. Is it the same for commercials? Does lots of commercial work reduce your ability to be hired on a scripted show?

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