Picking up from last time –
On my first gig, I certainly had people in my corner. I was liked well enough by a producer to make me one of his “must-hires.”
(My understanding of a must-hire is when an important person has a family member or friend or mentee etc. that they submit as someone the production basically must hire…)
This whole must-hire thing is why it seems so impossible to me to get your first PA job. It’s hard (or at least I find it hard) to break in when you basically need an extended invitation from someone on a show. And if you don’t start by knowing anyone on a show, it can be tough to meet them.
Now, I don’t want to paint a bleak picture of the entertainment industry. I’m sure moms and dads in every industry get their sons and daughters jobs. Also, not every show has must-hires.
Also, it’s not like I was actually part of the hiring process. a “must-hire” might not even be a real thing, and just something I heard about. What do I know?
But at the time, the only thing I understood was the inner-workings-ish of the one show I’d worked on. And I knew that while I was complimented and trusted by some, and good enough to get a spot as a PA, I just seemed to not be able to get in with the “right” people (or at least the ones responsible for hiring the spots above mine).
Plus the logical next-step positions for me didn’t seem to open up when I needed them. I was kind of just tired of sort of floundering, I suppose – which is why I worked to move shows. Even though I wanted to be on a huge juggernaut, I didn’t want to be a PA forever.
Aaanyway, getting back to the main point here – that sitcom and sacrificing more.
Ultimately, the reason I didn’t take the internship was because I’d heard there was something like 3 or 4 interns each semester. And if you were lucky, one or two spots would open up on the show for the year (though quite possibly not even that).
I am confident (though hopefully not conceited) enough to believe that I could’ve worked hard enough, smart enough, and well enough to be in the top 1 or 2 of 8 PAs for the year.
But, as I said, I was already getting a little jaded in this world of must-hires (which I hadn’t even known existed before… even though ultimately that idea benefited me), and of having to fight just to get work in random cities – when I was already known by the show and paying my own way to go there (and was being requested by the person with whom I’d work) and such… Some of it just kind of seemed hard-y and fight-y for no reason.
Well, from the outside it seemed like no reason. On the inside, I’m sure they had their reasons about how it’s easier to hire locals and things. But from my selfish little perspective of my world, I just kept thinking, “Please don’t fight me on trying to work. I want to do a great job for you, and you know me…”
So I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m attacking my first gig – for which I am grateful – oh so, oh so grateful. But I was just learning the ins-and-outs and sometimes complicated-ness of this crazy world of television.
I’d always heard this business is about who you know, but until seeing it up close, I had a stronger sense of willful ignorance. Once I got the internship offer, I convinced myself that someone’s kid, or niece, or who knows who, would get the staff job if one became available.
And I know that’s not necessarily what would’ve happened. So, reading that last paragraph, it’s a little ridiculous to me how jaded I became after one job. But I guess I had. (Though, note: I don’t feel nearly that jaded anymore.)
And this is where I’ll pick up next time.