GET YOUR FOOT IN THE CREW DOOR…
If you’re new to the industry and want to jump in headfirst, your first position will most likely be a Production Assistant (P.A.). A P.A. is an entry-level position where you’ll be expected to get coffee, make copies, run errands, and be prepared to do pretty much anything asked of you.
You’ll need to be resourceful, prompt, reliable, humble, have a strong work ethnic and the ability to work long hours and “take direction” well.
Before you start out, you should learn the basic terminology of the film industry. Take a local course*, research or volunteer on a local student film to gain this knowledge. There aren't any links here because this is your first challenge - to be resourceful and find them.
Create a one-page resume. Be sure it contains all of your contact information, any film knowledge, training or experience, save it as a PDF and label it with your name and position. Example: Jane Smith_P.A.
Now convince someone to hire you. Use the New Mexico State Film Office’s Industry Directory (see button below) and send your resume to the local UPMs, Line Producers and crew members who would hire you – the department heads of the various departments that make up a film crew. In many cases, department heads are willing to give enthusiastic rookies a chance.
Research the hierarchy or "chain of command” of the film industry to determine who your “boss” would be. For example, if you’re interested in working in the Locations Department, send your resume to the Location Managers and Location Scouts. Have a flair for Costumes? Send to the Costume Designers and Wardrobe Supervisors. Stellar office skills? Send to the Production Office Coordinators (POCs) and the Assistant Production Office Coordinators (APOCs).
Many crew members start their careers by working on student films, shorts, and small independent productions. You can find job postings at the local film schools or on the New Mexico Film Office's Bulletin Board under Crew Calls:
Click the button below for information on IATSE Local 480's Overflow List:
When someone gives you your first opportunity, make the most of it. Show up early (never just on time or late), be cheerful and respectful, do what is asked of you, and never be afraid to ask questions. The reputation of a good P.A. gets around and motivated P.A.s move up the ranks quickly.