Two Reader Questions: Looking for a Job & Cold Calling

I’ve been busy, blah blah blah, excuses…

Here is a reader question:


I been looking for a PA job for months and I am using a production listing to look as well. When is the best time to contact production offices and how  do I use the production listing properly? I call and they usually tell me they are already full or  that they have not set up yet.

Thank You

Hello person,

First of all, cold calling production offices usually results in a black hole email address. The absolute best way to get a job in the industry is to know someone already working in the industry. I know… this doesn’t help you. But think… really think. Who do I know that maybe knows someone who knows someone in the industry? Reach as far as you can go. I once met a guy at a bar that ended up getting me work. He worked for a division of a record label that produced music videos. So when they were shooting a music video, he told the production company to hire me… and they did. Not because they wanted to (they have their own PAs) but because their client asked them to. You have to really hustle your way in there.

BUT to answer your questions. The phone number you’re looking for on those production listings is the “PRODUCTION OFFICE”. Sometimes when you call those numbers it’s not the production office, but the office of the production company… or a network office. This may be confusing. The PRODUCTION OFFICE is a temporary office opened up when production starts. Then after the show is over the PRODUCTION OFFICE is closed. The PRODUCTION COMPANY will have their own office. That is always open. Because the producers work there. And they sometimes work on multiple shows at the same time which all have their own respective PRODUCTION OFFICES.

Anyway, if it is the production office someone will usually answer the phone with, “Production”. If it’s not the production office just ask if you could be transferred to the production office of said show, or ask if there is a production office open yet. If there is no production office open yet, ask when they expect to open a production office. Then call back around that time.

Once you get the production office, ask if they’re hiring PAs. They’re probably not. If they say, “yes”. Hooray! Send them your résumé and ask for an interview. If they’re not, STILL ask if there is an email address you can send your résumé to. 99% of the time, your résumé will never be looked at. But it does happen sometimes.

Ultimately you want to get in contact with the production coordinator or the assistant production coordinator. They hire office PAs. The earlier you can get to them the better because all office PAs are usually hired before production starts.

If you want to work on set you NEED TO KNOW ADs. All ADs have their own list of PAs they like to work with. But sometimes their normal PAs are busy, which means they need fresh blood. So, again, call the production office. Ask if they’re hiring set PAs and try to get your résumé into the hands of the 1st or 2nd AD (2nd ADs usually hires the PAs).

The window for hiring PAs is very small. And most PAs are personally called and hired because they’ve already worked with someone on the crew. So most of the time it will be too early (they haven’t started hiring PAs yet) and then there is a small window when they do hire and that is usually filled up with other people and then when you call they’re not hiring any more.

I know. It sucks. I’ve never gotten a job from cold calling. Ever. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Keep trying. But more importantly get out there and try to meet some people who work in the industry.

Good luck!

Okay, on to the next one. It’s kind of similar.


In reference to your 2011 your post about cold calling, what is the best/simplest way to ask if hiring and not be another annoying 45 second phone call? I’m a very literal person, so my intro is usually:
Me: Hi, my name is _______ . I was calling to see if you were hiring any set PA’s? (I also have an interest in editing asst., but I feel that’s too wordy?)
Production: Not right now
Me: Okay, could I send you my resume? What’s your name?
Me: Okay thank you (do I say I’ll follow up?)

I’m noticing this trend I’m doing and I feel like it’s not working well. Also, is it creepy or pushy to ask to speak directly to the POC?

I’ve already touched on this in my response to the first question.  I’m not sure of any way not to be that annoying 45 second phone call. I guess just be nice. ALWAYS BE NICE. And… this might not be good advice… but maybe sound like someone the person you’re talking to on the phone wants to work with. Because that person is another PA. And you’re encroaching on their PAness. Ha..haha. But if you sound friendly and like a cool person then they’ll probably be more likely to go to bat for you when it’s time to hire you. Be friends with that person on the phone. How you ask? I have no idea. But it can’t hurt because you’re probably not going to get the job anyway. So try it out.

As far as the Post PA/Editorial PA goes (they’re the same thing)… if it is a movie, ask if you can get your résumé to the Editor or Assistant Editor. This can be tricky because the person on the phone might not have that information. So keep pressing them on how to get that information. An editor may have not even been hired yet.  If it’s TV it is a little weirder… I’m not exactly sure how Post works in the TV world. But I know there is usually a post-house or something. Sometimes there is also a post coordinator your can get your résumé to, or a co-producer who is in charge of overseeing post-production. The production coordinator will know this information. So if the PA you’re speaking with doesn’t want to transfer you over to the POC than just ask said PA if he/she minds asking the POC if there is someone you can send your résumé to in post. They’ll help you out.

As far as following up. I would just ask when they think they’ll be hiring. And then call back around that time and follow-up. Or if they don’t know, just give them a ring ever 7 days or so until they say they’re not hiring anymore. After that move on.

If they say their hiring. Maybe call back every 2-3 days and just check-in to see if they’ve hired PAs yet. And try to score an interview.

Asking to speak with the POC is okay… but they don’t want to speak with you. So maybe ask if you can speak with APOC (assistant production coordinator) because they’re way more likely to speak with you. Be super friendly with the APOC and try to score an interview.  If neither of them will speak with you, ask the PA on the phone if they’ll hand them your résumé for you. And always be nice. Because if you sound like a prick that PA will not do anything for you. No matter what they say.

OKAY! Have fun out there.


2015 sounds so futuristic to me. A distant place where cars drive themselves and humans explore Mars. And here we are. 2015.

In my resolution post of 2014 I wanted to write more, read more, and save more. How did I do…

WRITE MORE: My goal was to have two polished pilots finished by the end of 2014, and I’m happy to say that I have THREE! I have done a lot of writing this year and it feels good. My new goal for 2015 is to finish a feature I’m working on. 

READ MORE: I read 12 books in 2014 — this year I read… 13! Still didn’t hit my 15 mark, but I’m pleased with what I did.  My goal for 2015… again 15 books. One day I’ll get there.

SAVE MORE: I saved a total of $0.00 in 2014. So I completely failed on that resolution. BUT! I did make a budget and I paid off a lot of debt. So that is still a win in my book. I’m changing my goal for this year. I want to curb spending and clear a lot of my smaller debts so that I can focus on saving more next year.

And my last resolution for 2015 is to get an agent and shop my pilots. Casual.

So there it is. Finish a feature. Read 15 books. Pay off some debt. Get an Agent.

What are your resolutions?

12ptCourier’s Top Posts of 2014

Here are the top 10 posts on the site in order of views for 2014:

#10: Tips for a PA: Downtime and Cold Calling [UPDATED]

#9: Production Assistant Resume Template

#8: TIPS FOR A PA: How to Roll Calls aka Answering Phones for Newbs

#7: What Kind of Jobs Do You Get From Being a PA?

#6: Tips for a PA: Clothing and Accessories [UPDATED]

#5: Production Assistant Pay [Updated]

#4: Tips for a PA: Walkie Talkie Lingo

#3: Tips for a Production Assistant: Set Lingo

#2: Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (For the PA)

#1: Production Assistant Job Description and Duties [Updated]

12ptCourier’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2015


There are a lot of movies coming out next year that didn’t make this list. A few that deserve a mention are Mission Impossible 5, Ant Man, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. I really enjoy those franchises, but I feel like I’ve already seen what they have to offer, and I’m excited for something a little different in 2015.



I love Pixar movies and the trailer looks really cute.

I am excited about anything Guillermo del Toro is directing.

I know nothing about this film except that it’s directed by Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks, and is about a cold war spy. ‘Nuff Said.


I am very scared of being let down by this movie. But it still hits my top 10. Because Jurassic Park.

Because Quentin Tarantino.


Neill Blomkamp is one of my favorite new directors. District 9 is one of the best Sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. I also really enjoyed Elysium despite unfavorable reviews. I’m very excited to see his next film.

I still have faith in Ridley Scott despite his recent string of movies. I haven’t read this book yet, but it is rated one of the best of the year. Also — Matt Damon.

#3: 007: SPECTRE
I love James Bond. I grew up watching these movies with my grandparents. I’m in the Daniel Craig camp. I think this new era of James Bond movies are fantastic — with Casino Royale being one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t know a whole lot of details about Spectre, but it’s #3 on this list because — James Bond.


I really love the original Mad Max movies. The fact this new one is from the same creator and an all-star cast has me really excited. But perhaps the most exciting thing about it was the trailer. Which is probably not only the best trailer of the year, but maybe the best trailer I have ever seen.


I have never felt more anticipation for a movie in my life. Maybe that statement isn’t totally true. But that is how I feel right now. My entire childhood evolved around the original three films, and the trailer brought back those feelings. Not the prequel feels… but the original feels. I can not wait to see this movie opening night.

12pt’s Best Movies of 2014

Not going to go into detail. Just a quick list. Also — there are a ton of movies I haven’t seen this year. This is just a list of what I was able to see!

1 – Guardians of the Galaxy (A)

2 – Edge of Tomorrow (A)

3 – The Raid 2 (A)

4 – The Lego Movie (A)

5 – Gone Girl (A-)

6 – 22 Jump Street (A-)

7 – X-Men: Days of Future Past (A-)

8 – The Grand Budapest Hotel (B+)

9 – The Hobbit (B+)

10 – Snowpiercer (B+)

11 – Night Crawler (B)

12 – American Sniper (B)

13 – Whiplash (B)

14 – Unbroken (C)

15 – Into the Woods (D+)

Still haven’t seen:

Jodorowski’s Dune

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


The Purge: Anarchy

How to Train your Dragon 2

A Walk Among the Tombstones


The Babadook


Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Big Hero 6


John Wick

The Unknown Known


Creamy, Spicy, FUCKING AMAZING, Butternut Squash Soup

I made some soup from scratch last night. It was so damn good I need to share it with all of you. It’s so easy. I took a couple recipes off the internet — ditched some ingredients, added some others. It turned out so fucking good.  Some of the best soup of my life.

Portions: Made 4 good sized bowls of soup.


  • 2x butternut squash
  • 1x Chopped White Onion
  • A stick of Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt (as needed)
  • Ground Pepper (I used White peppercorn for more flavor as needed)
  • Honey (A couple big squirts)
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp or so of Fresh chopped/grated ginger
  • 4 cups of Vegetable stock/broth
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Sour Cream for Garnish


THE SQUASH: Set your stove to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off the squash. Half them length-wise. Scoop out the seeds and gross shit with a spoon.  Lather those fuckers with melted butter. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet with some tin foil. Pop those fuckers (4 halves in total) into the oven. Set timer for 55 minutes (or until they’re soft as fuck. Just don’t burn them).

THE BROTH: Wait until the clock on the squash has about 10-15 min or so left. Throw some olive oil in a sauce pan on low heat. Not a lot. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Throw in about 4 TBS of butter.  Let that butter melt a little. Throw in the chopped onion, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and chopped ginger. Squirt in a couple good goblets of honey. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. And stir all the shit together until the onions are soft (NOT BROWNED). Add in the 4 cups of vegetable broth and then stir until hot and add that 1 cup of whipping cream.

By now your squash should be done and out of the oven — cooling off. Take a spoon and scrape all the meat out of that squash and put it in the broth. Stirring at you do so. Try no to get any of the squash skin in there.  Mix all of it in together and let the flavors fuck each other for a bit.

Dump all of it into a blender and purée that shit. Instead of using the blender lid, tightly hold a dish towel over the top to let the heat escape easily.

After the soup is pureed, give it a taste and adjust salt, pepper, and cayenne to your preference.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Fuck yes.

(For Extra points — You can also butter and bake some sliced baguette. Take it out of the oven after about 10 min or so and add some shredded cheese, put it back in for 5 min, take out and serve with the soup.)

Tips for a PA: On Set for the First Time?

I haven’t answered any reader questions in a while. Sorry. Here’s one —

I just got my first pa job on a tv show and it’s coming up this weekend. It’ll be my first time on a “real” set and though i’m excited, I really nervous as well! I’ve been reading through your posts and they’re super helpful, but is there anything I should know going into this for the first time? I’ve only ever been on set in film school, unfortunately, and I really scared I’m going to look like and idiot! – Jessica

I got this email a while ago — so I hope it all ended up okay. For the sake of this post, I’m going to act like I just got this email.


Well, Jessica — here’s the thing. You are going to look like an idiot. BUT THAT IS OKAY! Because you’re new. Unless you lied to the person who hired you, they know you’re new as well. So, Relax, it will be fine. Just keep your ears open, always pay attention, and be willing to learn and do anything.

You WILL be put into positions where you have no idea how to proceed.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find another PA who looks like he/she knows what they’re doing, introduce yourself, and take their lead.  You’ll pick it up fast. If you screw up and the AD yells at you over the walkie — you’re not alone. Happens to everyone at least once.

Don’t, however, ask questions over the walkie. If someone tells you to do something and you have no idea what they’re talking about, say “copy that!” and then run to your closest PA buddy and ask them what the hell the AD was talking about.

Quick tip: ALWAYS know where the actors in the scene are. They tend to wander off set. If the A.D. asks something along the lines of  “Anyone have eyes on ACTOR X” — a quick response from you could mean brownie points.  (I had an A.D. who would randomly ask me where a certain actor was even if she knew where he was, just to make sure I knew where he was…. )

Hopefully you aren’t put in charge of locking up the area where the grips hang out. They will most likely not listen to you when you’re telling them to be quiet. And then you just feel like an asshole.

If the A.D. yells cut — YOU YELL CUT. If the A.D. yells rolling — YOU YELL ROLLING. That’s one of the P.A.s main jobs. It’s called “echoing” and you do it during “lock-up”. This is so EVERYONE on set knows to shut the fuck up.  If you don’t do this, any respectable AD will yell at you.  And the grip who just walked into the shot will yell at you because the A.D. just yelled at him for walking in the shot.

I’m sure there are a million other things I could tell you, but they’re not coming to me.

Anyway — I hope you enjoyed your first day on set. If you read this, leave a comment on how it went! And share your tips!

2014 Award Season PDF Screenplay Downloads: For Your Consideration

It’s the beginning of award season and studios are already putting screenplays online.  I’ll update this list periodically. Be sure to check out GITS’s list for any you cannot find here. Good reading!

[UPDATED 12/09/14]

Cool Stuff! Writer Emergency Pack!

Hey Guys. Check out this cool deck of cards that the crew over at are making.

Writer Emergency Pack is a deck full of useful ideas to help get your story back on track.

Go grab yourself one! Or two… like I did. They make good gifts!

Quote from Stephen King’s “On Writing”

I’m reading Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, and I stumbled across this motivational quote I wanted to share:

I had written three other novels before Carrie — Rage, The Long Walk, and The Running Man were later published. Rage is the most troubling of them. The Long Walk may be the best of them. But none of them taught me the things I learned from Carrie White. The most important is that the writer’s original perception of a character may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.

I am very familiar with the feeling of shoveling shit. It’s nice to hear a big time author like Stephen King feels the same.

A blog for aspiring screenwriters and those seeking to break into the film industry.