PDA

View Full Version : Questions about Working as Agency/Studio/Production Company Intern/Assistant


J Linc
06-02-2013, 02:57 AM
For someone who may be finally making the move down to L.A. in the near(er) future and would like to try and go out for a job as in intern, assistant or production assistant for/at an agency, studio or production company, I have a few questions I'm hoping someone here with experience or solid knowledge can answer.

- Does one have to be in college or a college graduate to apply for an internship or assistant position at an agency/studio/production company? What are the requirements/prerequisites for one to be able to apply? If someone's resume is not chalk full of previous experience with interning or assistance positions (or even a whole lot of varied work/job experience), is that a big detriment to one's chances of being hired?

- Generally speaking, is the dress code at most places strictly professional (i.e. suit and tie), or are some more business casual with a pair of dress slacks and a sports jacket/blazer sufficing?

- Do any of them require that one has their own car/is able to drive themselves out and about?

- Generally speaking, around how much does an intern or assistant make starting out?

Also, mentioning any agencies/studios/production companies in particular that you know offer paid internship/assistant positions would be awesome (and also how one applies if there's specific URLs to head to acquire applications).

Madbandit
06-02-2013, 09:57 AM
Answers (not concrete, just common sense):

-If it's an internship you're after, it's expected that you're attending college to get credit (unless it's something like the upcoming "The Internship", but that's far from likely). If it's a production assistant job, you need the internship to be considered for the job. It's very hard to be a job, if you don't have experience, and the only way to get the experience is to get a job. You might not know anybody and vice versa in the industry. Jobhunting's a f***ing joke, in my humble view.

-Depends on the atmosphere. A-list agency: power business wear. Middle and lower: dress neat, but not like you're still in junior high school.

-Los Angeles's a car town.

-Depends on the agency. Also, most interships don't pay squat. Only college credit and, if you're lucky, travel money.

Brice
06-02-2013, 11:35 AM
Coming from someone who has been a production company intern and assistant:

No you donít have to be in college for an internship. Some require it, others require it but never bother checking, and others donít care. As far as requisites for being able to apply, read the posting and see what they say. With past experience, obviously the better the resume the better your chances, but thereís no harm in applying. The worst that happens is they ignore you. I will say that when Iíve hired interns, I only chose people with script coverage experience. But thatís just me.

Assistant gigs are different. You would never be in college and an assistant, unless I suppose you were taking night classes (though that would be insanity). Typically they want a college graduate, but again you have to check the posting. Previous experience in the industry is more important for becoming an assistant than an intern, though networking also plays a huge role. Having someone put in a good word for you is often what gets you the gig ahead of a person with a resume as strong as yours (if not stronger).

The dress code varies by the place. Agencies, Iím sure youíve seen ENTOURAGE. Production companies are much more laid back. Many people wear jeans (at least guys).

You should have a car regardless if youíre living in LA. Most internships require them since youíll be going on runs. But again, in LA you pretty much have to get a car.

Most internships are unpaid. Assistant gigs vary by the place and your experience. Around $10 an hour seems to be the norm for first-time assistants, though it just varies.

Check the UTA list, entertainment careers, studio websites, etc. A lot of jobs are also circulated internally, so knowing people helps.

J Linc
06-02-2013, 05:54 PM
Coming from someone who has been a production company intern and assistant:

No you donít have to be in college for an internship. Some require it, others require it but never bother checking, and others donít care. As far as requisites for being able to apply, read the posting and see what they say. With past experience, obviously the better the resume the better your chances, but thereís no harm in applying. The worst that happens is they ignore you. I will say that when Iíve hired interns, I only chose people with script coverage experience. But thatís just me.

Assistant gigs are different. You would never be in college and an assistant, unless I suppose you were taking night classes (though that would be insanity). Typically they want a college graduate, but again you have to check the posting. Previous experience in the industry is more important for becoming an assistant than an intern, though networking also plays a huge role. Having someone put in a good word for you is often what gets you the gig ahead of a person with a resume as strong as yours (if not stronger).

The dress code varies by the place. Agencies, Iím sure youíve seen ENTOURAGE. Production companies are much more laid back. Many people wear jeans (at least guys).

You should have a car regardless if youíre living in LA. Most internships require them since youíll be going on runs. But again, in LA you pretty much have to get a car.

Most internships are unpaid. Assistant gigs vary by the place and your experience. Around $10 an hour seems to be the norm for first-time assistants, though it just varies.

Check the UTA list, entertainment careers, studio websites, etc. A lot of jobs are also circulated internally, so knowing people helps.

Thanks so much for all of that, Brice -- really do appreciate it! Any tips on any sites in particular that I should check out regularly for possible open positions/job opportunities for assistant, production assistant and intern gigs?

CameronAlexander
06-02-2013, 06:34 PM
If you sign up for www.tracking-board.com they will send you internship and job postings weekly. I see them all the time.

Once you move here and get your first job, then you will start meeting people in the same situation. Then you can all start climbing your way up together.

If you can show up on time and are fine with being over worked and under paid, you will do great here.

Bunker
06-02-2013, 10:06 PM
If you don't have any industry contacts or a kick-ass resume, you're going to have a hard time rising to the top of the blind-resume pile. The UTA job list takes on a life of its own. A job posting will have a hundred applicants in the first day, and the assistant will just sift out 90% arbitrarily.

A couple routes you could take:

1. Try to get a production assistant gig on a show. You can check out the Mercury Report for shows that are staffing up. Depending on the project, a PA will make $500-650/week. And yes, you will need a car because you'll be doing runs and picking up coffee. But shows need PAs for every department, and multiple PAs for the production office and set. It's a 3-6 month gig, and you'll get to see how show/features are made. You'll meet a LOT of people, including the assistants at the studio and production companies.

When you start working, don't pander or self-promote (it turns a lot of people off). Just show that you're a hard worker with common sense.


2. Sign up for temp staffing agencies. The studios and production companies will often hire temps whenever the regular assistant goes on vacation. This is a good way to get inside the door blindly. You can suddenly find yourself as the receptionist for New Line for a week, meeting all the regular assistants who work there. Again, don't pander or self-promote, just do the job. If they like you, they'll request you specifically next time. Eventually, someone might move out of the company and they'll hire you.

J Linc
06-02-2013, 11:46 PM
If you sign up for www.tracking-board.com they will send you internship and job postings weekly. I see them all the time.

Once you move here and get your first job, then you will start meeting people in the same situation. Then you can all start climbing your way up together.

If you can show up on time and are fine with being over worked and under paid, you will do great here.

If you don't have any industry contacts or a kick-ass resume, you're going to have a hard time rising to the top of the blind-resume pile. The UTA job list takes on a life of its own. A job posting will have a hundred applicants in the first day, and the assistant will just sift out 90% arbitrarily.

A couple routes you could take:

1. Try to get a production assistant gig on a show. You can check out the Mercury Report for shows that are staffing up. Depending on the project, a PA will make $500-650/week. And yes, you will need a car because you'll be doing runs and picking up coffee. But shows need PAs for every department, and multiple PAs for the production office and set. It's a 3-6 month gig, and you'll get to see how show/features are made. You'll meet a LOT of people, including the assistants at the studio and production companies.

When you start working, don't pander or self-promote (it turns a lot of people off). Just show that you're a hard worker with common sense.


2. Sign up for temp staffing agencies. The studios and production companies will often hire temps whenever the regular assistant goes on vacation. This is a good way to get inside the door blindly. You can suddenly find yourself as the receptionist for New Line for a week, meeting all the regular assistants who work there. Again, don't pander or self-promote, just do the job. If they like you, they'll request you specifically next time. Eventually, someone might move out of the company and they'll hire you.

Thanks very much for all of that, guys. It seems insurmountable, but I know that's how it is for many. I have been friendly with a few screenwriters and a producer via online for a long while now, but I doubt they'll be able to help much for someone inexperienced in most aspects of the industry (or having much in the way of hands-on experience, anyway).

Everyone has to start somewhere, but how can one get their start if all anyone wants is people with prior experience? :|

If anyone else has any tips or advice, please say so!

Brice
06-03-2013, 08:49 AM
Thanks so much for all of that, Brice -- really do appreciate it! Any tips on any sites in particular that I should check out regularly for possible open positions/job opportunities for assistant, production assistant and intern gigs?

I gave you some sites but those are mainly for assistants and interns. Your best bet for PA at this point in the year is probably sending your resume to shows that just got picked up and seeing if you get any bites.

killertv
06-03-2013, 02:01 PM
I gave you some sites but those are mainly for assistants and interns. Your best bet for PA at this point in the year is probably sending your resume to shows that just got picked up and seeing if you get any bites.

Yup. Cold call lots and have them transfer you to production offices for shows.

Also, Craigslist. You probably won't get anything great, but it's better to be a PA on a music video or a commercial (and hopefully get paid doing it) than to not do anything.

mikejc
06-03-2013, 05:24 PM
My brother worked at CAA as a grunt and then worked his way up to assistant to one of the partners before leaving for greener pastures (he hopes).

His wife was also a grunt at CAA, how they met, and she came in a different route.

He came in by a very unusual route. He got an assignment at CAA as a temp. from a temp agency. He worked his ass off and impressed them so much, they took him on in the mail room--even though they had initially told him there was no chance whatsoever he would ever get hired. No one had ever done that.

The point; if you can get your foot in the door, by whatever method, if you prove to be stellar, you can make your way.

He was a college graduate. I don't remember what he made once in the mail room, but $400 or $500 a week sticks in my mind.

Bunker
06-03-2013, 05:41 PM
I know a studio EVP who always tells the story about how he started in the mailroom and worked his way up.

A friend of mine went from network page to assistant to junior exec.

Another friend went from PA to office assistant to executive assistant to the company co-founder (a name director).

Companies like to hire from within. When an assistant goes on vacation, they'll look to the office assistants and mail room guys to cover their phones. If they don't screw up, they'll get asked again next time. When an opening comes up, their butt's already warmed the seat.

The reason it's not a more common story is that 95% of people are either stupid, lazy, or giant D-bags. If you're not one of those three, you'll go far (or at least as far as an assistant).

J Linc
06-03-2013, 06:32 PM
Thanks again for all the advice, tips and info, DDers. In the end, I suppose the most difficult part of all of this will be trying to get my foot in "the door" or any "door" considering my near-complete lack of experience within the industry (outside of a few extra-ing gigs for indies or TV shows shot not in southern California).

With an almost empty resume like that, one can feel like why even bother or who would even take a chance on such an individual? :(

CameronAlexander
06-04-2013, 11:08 AM
Thanks again for all the advice, tips and info, DDers. In the end, I suppose the most difficult part of all of this will be trying to get my foot in "the door" or any "door" considering my near-complete lack of experience within the industry (outside of a few extra-ing gigs for indies or TV shows shot not in southern California).

With an almost empty resume like that, one can feel like why even bother or who would even take a chance on such an individual? :(


Not to sound like a dick--and I agree that it is an overwhelming situation--but you gotta change your attitude! Someone will take a chance on you. Believe in yourself or no one else will. You can do this.

Geoff Alexander
06-04-2013, 11:13 AM
Resolution is looking for Interns. Maybe you can enroll in a film class at City College.


For someone who may be finally making the move down to L.A. in the near(er) future and would like to try and go out for a job as in intern, assistant or production assistant for/at an agency, studio or production company, I have a few questions I'm hoping someone here with experience or solid knowledge can answer.

- Does one have to be in college or a college graduate to apply for an internship or assistant position at an agency/studio/production company? What are the requirements/prerequisites for one to be able to apply? If someone's resume is not chalk full of previous experience with interning or assistance positions (or even a whole lot of varied work/job experience), is that a big detriment to one's chances of being hired?

- Generally speaking, is the dress code at most places strictly professional (i.e. suit and tie), or are some more business casual with a pair of dress slacks and a sports jacket/blazer sufficing?

- Do any of them require that one has their own car/is able to drive themselves out and about?

- Generally speaking, around how much does an intern or assistant make starting out?

Also, mentioning any agencies/studios/production companies in particular that you know offer paid internship/assistant positions would be awesome (and also how one applies if there's specific URLs to head to acquire applications).

mikejc
06-04-2013, 02:13 PM
Thanks again for all the advice, tips and info, DDers. In the end, I suppose the most difficult part of all of this will be trying to get my foot in "the door" or any "door" considering my near-complete lack of experience within the industry (outside of a few extra-ing gigs for indies or TV shows shot not in southern California).

With an almost empty resume like that, one can feel like why even bother or who would even take a chance on such an individual? :(

It is possible that you and Laurie D can get together and discuss the relative odds of anybody getting anywhere.

Since you are embarking on an "impossible" career, you have to get past the impossibility of it. As I remember, David Geffen had nothing to put on a resume either when he started.

J Linc
06-04-2013, 06:12 PM
Not to sound like a dick--and I agree that it is an overwhelming situation--but you gotta change your attitude! Someone will take a chance on you. Believe in yourself or no one else will. You can do this.

Thanks, Cameron. I know my attitude won't help anything, but it's a struggle to think differently when the odds are so stacked and especially so for someone with near-zero experience in the industry, let alone any experience as an intern/assistant/PA.

I mean, what does one even put on a resume for these kinds of jobs/opportunities when they have no real experience? :confused:


Resolution is looking for Interns. Maybe you can enroll in a film class at City College.

Would being in a film class at a college help one's chances of getting hired at Resolution in particular for some reason?


It is possible that you and Laurie D can get together and discuss the relative odds of anybody getting anywhere.

Since you are embarking on an "impossible" career, you have to get past the impossibility of it. As I remember, David Geffen had nothing to put on a resume either when he started.

Again, all good advice and true. It's just a constant struggle is all as I'm sure/hope it is for many others in a similar situation.

jk97301
06-05-2013, 01:36 AM
I was in the same boat you are in when I first moved to LA a year ago. It took a little while, but right now I am interning at both a management company and casting office. Just hang in there and someone will believe in you, but first you have to believe in yourself. One of the great things about this is that I get to see how both sides of casting works. Also I have become friends with a few of the clients and offer to read my work and give feedback.

Geoff Alexander
06-05-2013, 10:35 AM
I know a studio EVP who always tells the story about how he started in the mailroom and worked his way up.

A friend of mine went from network page to assistant to junior exec.

Another friend went from PA to office assistant to executive assistant to the company co-founder (a name director).

Companies like to hire from within. When an assistant goes on vacation, they'll look to the office assistants and mail room guys to cover their phones. If they don't screw up, they'll get asked again next time. When an opening comes up, their butt's already warmed the seat.

The reason it's not a more common story is that 95% of people are either stupid, lazy, or giant D-bags. If you're not one of those three, you'll go far (or at least as far as an assistant).

I met someone who had been in the business, left for ten years, and then came back and started again as a P.A. with a production company.

After two years, she became the president of the company.

Geoff Alexander
06-05-2013, 10:36 AM
Would being in a film class at a college help one's chances of getting hired at Resolution in particular for some reason?<<

I believe they are looking for folks who are in school.

Call them anyway. Figure it out. Be aggressively inquisitive in a polite fashion.

mikejc
06-05-2013, 03:18 PM
Would being in a film class at a college help one's chances of getting hired at Resolution in particular for some reason?<<

I believe they are looking for folks who are in school.

Call them anyway. Figure it out. Be aggressively inquisitive in a polite fashion.

Great perspective and advice.

J Linc
06-05-2013, 04:27 PM
I was in the same boat you are in when I first moved to LA a year ago. It took a little while, but right now I am interning at both a management company and casting office. Just hang in there and someone will believe in you, but first you have to believe in yourself. One of the great things about this is that I get to see how both sides of casting works. Also I have become friends with a few of the clients and offer to read my work and give feedback.

I met someone who had been in the business, left for ten years, and then came back and started again as a P.A. with a production company.

After two years, she became the president of the company.

That's all really awesome (rare, of course, but nonetheless awesome).

Would being in a film class at a college help one's chances of getting hired at Resolution in particular for some reason?<<

I believe they are looking for folks who are in school.

Call them anyway. Figure it out. Be aggressively inquisitive in a polite fashion.

Unfortunately, I'm not a college student/in school -- but, regardless, I suppose giving them a call asking about what they're after won't hurt anything even if the answer for someone in my scenario is a "no."

Geoff Alexander
06-05-2013, 05:38 PM
That's all really awesome (rare, of course, but nonetheless awesome).



Unfortunately, I'm not a college student/in school -- but, regardless, I suppose giving them a call asking about what they're after won't hurt anything even if the answer for someone in my scenario is a "no."

You know what, 98% of what you will hear in Hollywood is "no". You may as well start getting some "no" behind you.

J Linc
06-05-2013, 05:41 PM
You know what, 98% of what you will hear in Hollywood is "no". You may as well start getting some "no" behind you.

More truth, you speak. :sigh: