On Set Crew : best place to obtain 1st/2nd AD & PA gigs by Denice Riddle

Denice Riddle

best place to obtain 1st/2nd AD & PA gigs

I am an experienced !st /2nd Ad, And PA looking for the most successful places to get gigs. Mandy has not worked, facebook is oversaturated with billions of the same issue, searching for gigs. I have several references and letters of recommendations. curious where the most successful place to start would be.

David Trotti

So much of this business is just knowing people and timing. Beyond that it's research and reaching out. The resource I find most useful when the phone stops ringing is Production Weekly. They compile a weekly list of almost all the shows prepping and shooting with staffing and contact info. It does require a subscription but if you land just one job off it you've more than paid back your investment. And that's how you have to think of it when you spend money on it - it's an investment in your career. But it only gives you the information. You still have to have to reach out and put in the commitment. It's most useful for Department heads, 2nd ADs, PA's and Office staff. Jobs like DP, UPM, 1st AD are much more relationship driven hires. An example of how I use it is if I see a Producer or UPM I know on a show, I send a congratulations email. Sometimes they're still crewing up and they ask my availability. Mostly they're all crewed up but my name is in the back of their head if anybody gets fired or backs out. In the long game, it keeps my name in their memory for the future. Aside from that, go to LA411 and look up all the little studios in your area (particularly LA, New York and Atlanta) and see if they have a resource list of local crew-for-hire they can put you on. You'd be surprised how many low budget films need people and can't find them and are asking people like those who rent stage spaces for anyone they know.

Dan MaxXx

Join the DGA 1AD training program. I think it is a 2 year commitment and 0 guarantee of work.

David Trotti

I'm glad you mentioned that program, Dan. By coincidence, I'm a graduate of the DGA-Producers Training program. It does indeed take about two years to go through. 400 working days to be exact. You are paid for your working days during that time but not your idle days. Trainees typically have 50 Day assignments on TV shows and generally the entire run on features and pilots. I was assigned to shows like Star Trek TNG, Hunter, the feature Hook and lots of others. The rotation is intended to give you a broad depth of experience on different kinds of projects and learn from (and connect with) many different AD teams. When you come out you are placed on either the Southern California Qualification List or East Coast QL as a 2nd AD in the Guild (you do have to pay your own initiation dues). Health care during the program is covered under the DGA-Producers Health plan. It is very competitive. I seem to recall there are around 3000 applicants for the approximately 12 slots in the West. It's definitely worth looking into for anyone who wants to be an AD as a career. As Dan mentioned, there's no guarantee of work afterward, but it's definitely a leg up.

Denice Riddle

Fantastic advice, thank you David and Dan. I will sign up and keep you posted on my progress and success.

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