WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FUCKING HELP BRIAN?

As you should have probably guessed, this email comes from Brian, a current resident of Atlanta, GA. Brian has had some pornog…erm, “alternative film industry” experiences trying to lock down PA work in a town where more than a fair amount of real studio (and indie!) movies shoot. The problem is that he doesn’t know where to look for the opportunities. So I was hoping that someone with more hands-on experience in out-of-California physical production could lead him in the right direction, as I feel ill-equipped to give him a decent answer. I’M JUST A KEYBOARD JOCKEY.

Anyway, Brian writes:

“I’m in Atlanta, GA. As you probably know, there are a lot of projects going on in the area. On two occasions, I have replied to ads that were placed on craigslist, and have offered to work for free as a Production Assistant. Without going into detail, I left (on my own) minutes after arriving. I will just say that there was absolutely nothing professional about the people, or the set. It was a craigslist lead. I’m sure you get it.

I consider my Google skills to be above average, but for one reason or another, I can’t seem to locate the companies to contact. I search for production companies and jobs for Production Assistants, but I can’t seem to find anything that seems to be film related. If I read that the feature film “XYZ” begins filming in Atlanta during August, how do I get my name in the hat for something like that? For example, they have been filming INSURGENT in Atlanta. They had the cameras rolling before I knew anything about it. Also, the state has a website and, oh, a “hotline”. Of course, It hasn’t been updated in over a month! In L.A., I’m sure I could get the info at the local Starbucks. But here in Atlanta, it’s still relatively new.

I have zero experience in film, but a ton of interest to gain the experience. Over the last year, I’ve just sort of become fascinated by the entire process – from story concept to film completion and everything in between.

If you have any advice on where I should look, or what approach I should take, I would really appreciate it.”

BTW, let’s step back here for a second and talk again about how to ask for something of someone who’s a professional in this business, because Brian knows what the hell he’s doing. He admits he’s stumped, admits he’s new to the business (or even WANTING to be in it), declares his passion for wanting to learn more, yearns for experience, and just wants to be pointed in the right direction. THAT is how you ask for help. Brian is going to get help now, I promise you. So if you’re trying to get your feet wet, consider jumping into the pool the same way Brian did. I could never stress this enough.

Back to the matter at hand: help Brian. Unfortunately generating this post is the best I can personally do for him, but I know you guys will fill in the gaps for me (the gaps in this case being “literally everything having to do with obtaining a PA gig outside the Greater Los Angeles area and almost literally everything having to do with obtaining a PA gig within the Greater Los Angeles area).

5 thoughts on “WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FUCKING HELP BRIAN?

  1. Krista says:

    The same group of production folks work over and over in GA. Study the credits of The Walking Dead, Halt & Catch Fire, etc. Find the name of the Production Office Coordinator and APOC for these shows. Use Production Weekly to get the production office phone number. Call the production office early-ish — 9:30 — and ask for the APOC (knowing the POC’s name will keep you from embarrassing yourself if the PA who answer says “Dave’s not in, do you want Judy?” If Judy’s the POC, yes, that works just as well.)

    Here’s what you say: Are you hiring office PAs? If the answer is no, then: Could I send in my resume, just in case you end up needing more folks? If the answer is yes, then do so. If the answer is no, politely thank them and hang up.

    Now, here’s why you need a Production Weekly: Call the office back AFTER PRODUCTION WRAPS — don’t wait too long, maybe two days in case there were pick-ups or they had the wrap party on a weeknight and everyone’s still hungover.

    This time you say: I called earlier in the season, but you’d already staffed up. I’m a little green, but I have [some kind of previous experience that has anything to do with production] and I’m really hoping to find a PA spot so I can gain more hands-on experience. If you’re going on to another show and you need an office PA there, I’d love to be considered.

    If the person is at all kind or non-super-rude, you can also ask: Can you think of anything else I could do to help find these kinds of jobs, or get the kind of experience you’re looking for?

    The keys are to a) lay the ground work by calling and sending your resume now, b) follow up when they’ve wrapped, because things will be quieter and the POC or APOC will have time to talk and c) ASK FOR THEIR ADVICE — a POC needs PAs who can follow instructions and want to be good at their jobs, so asking for advice cues them in that you are such a person. Oh and D) Don’t go overboard with naggy follow up emails/phone calls. Once a season is about all you’re allowed, twice if you had reason to think they were getting back to you and suspect a reminder would help. That’s it. No more. And with all the shows shooting in GA, there should be at least four or five folks you can reach out to, so you don’t need to keep bugging the same person over and over.

  2. Brian says:

    Krista,

    Thanks so much for taking your personal time & explaining those steps. I greatly appreciate it. I think, and this is jist my guess, that most of the filming going on in Atlanta is covered by a small circle of people. I just need to wiggle my way in.

    I’m planning my strategy to pursue these leads, and in the way you described. I was not even aware AMCs Halt & Catch Fire was filmed here.

    Thank you, again.
    Brian
    PS… I printed your post!

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