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

I had three jobs last week.  Two of them were for a producer I did a free gig for (she’s awesome), and the other was a small commercial shoot, for a friend of a friend.  How many shoots do I have this week?  A big fat ZERO.  I guess that’s just how the industry goes sometimes.  Slammed one week, nothing the next.  Now that I’m not working, what am I doing?  Feverishly checking my inbox every 5 minutes, and looking for more work.

As I sit down and write this, I’m already working on my third cup of coffee, and I’m taking a much needed break from the horrible process of cold calling random productions.  Before taking up this wretched task, I sent everyone that I worked with last week an email, and thanked them for giving me the opportunity to work my ass off.  I also let them know what my availability is (which at the moment is, ANY TIME!!).  So, now that I’m fresh out of contacts… here is where the cold calling begins.

Basically, this process involves finding every single production in town, tracking down the number for each of their production offices, calling said offices to ask if they’re currently hiring PAs, and then sending my résumé off to some black hole email address, that will more then likely never be checked.  I can’t help but feel like this is a lost cause.  The people I’ve spoken with, always sound like they have no idea what is going on.

Me:  “Hi, my name is _______.  I was wondering if you were hiring PAs?”

Them:  “Umm… I think we’re all staffed up, but you can send your resume to BLACKHOLEOFRESUMEDEATH@usuallygmail.com.”

So, who can help me in this situation?  Do I try and force the person on the phone to get me in contact with the 2nd A.D. or the Production Coord?  I need a cold calling master to train me in the ways of artificial sweetness and unflinching persuasion.

What’s the best method you’ve found for obtaining info about the productions in town and their respective office numbers?  Right now, my process consists of vigorous google searching, followed by determining whether or not they’re shooting in LA, followed by IMDB Pro research, followed by telephoning the main production office, and asking for the show’s specific production office number.

In the meantime, I’ve created a google docs spreadsheet to keep track of every production I call, as well as;  when I called, the office number and email, who I actually spoke with, and when I should follow up.  This will help me keep track of the madness I am currently throwing myself into.

[Updated: 10/24/13]

I’m going through some of my old posts cause I’m sitting at the production office at 10:00pm bored out of my mind and I couldn’t help but laugh at this post.  I am now that person on the other end who sounds like they have no idea whats going on that directs you to the black hole email address… and it really is that simple. Either I’m going to say we’re all crewed up, but feel free and send us your resume, or I’m going to say something along the lines of “I THINK we’re all crewed up” because I really don’t know the needs of people until the minute they’re brought to my attention. If someone is suddenly like “WE NEED A PA!” Then I’ll be like, “Great! I have a black hole email address filled with PA resumes.” Then I SCAN through them quickly, pick out some winners, and give them to whoever asked.

Irony.

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