Two Reader Questions: Looking for a Job & Cold Calling

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

Here is a reader question:

Hi,

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.

Hello,

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?
Production: blackholeofdeathforever@still.gmail.com
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.

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