Cold Calling for Work: Tips for a Production Assistant

I had three production assistant jobs last week.  Two of them were for a producer I did a free gig for (she’s incredible), 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.

SPEND THE TIME YOU’RE NOT WORKING LOOKING FOR 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 on my last job an email thanking them for the opportunity to work and letting them know what my availability is (which at the moment is, ANY TIME!!).  So, now that I’m fresh out of contacts to email… here is where the cold calling begins.

COLD CALLING PRODUCTIONS

Basically, this process involves finding every single production in town (search for the UTA job list, use IMDB pro, etc), tracking down the number for each production company, calling said companies to ask for the “production office” phone number for the specific show, calling said “production office”, and asking if they’re currently hiring production assistants. If they say “yes”, or “i don’t know” then I get their black hole production office email address, which will more then likely never be checked, and I send my resume in.

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 production company 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 10:00 pm 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. I am that person who 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.

In short…. it’s VERY hard to get a PA job this way. And it never worked for me. If you want to know HOW to REALLY get a PA job. Check out the rest of my blog. Click on the “Tips for a PA” category on the side.

Weird being on the other end of things.

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