Monday, October 15, 2007

More Janey Jane and her friend Marcia

Yesterday Jane posted the rest of Marcia's reflections on being a writer's assistant. You can read all of Marcia's thoughts here.

If you've been following along with me, I decided to comment on Marcia's thoughts and share my own experiences. You can read those here. (Or just scroll down, you lazy reader.)

Regarding Marcia's most recent (and final) post, I don't have as much to say, besides highly recommending that you click on the above link yourself and read her thoughts yourself. There's really not the same hierarchy where I work in terms of writer's PA, writer's assistant, script coordinator, etc. At least not one that I'm aware of.

I do absolutely agree with her about the lucking into it part... But as with everything, it's luck+hard work. My personal journey to getting this position started more than 18 months ago, when I was working as a subtitle editor. (You could probably even argue that that job was preparation, which adds another two years to that 18 months, and that before that my intern gig doing coverage--and more--for indie producers gave me a leg up. But let's not go there.)

While working fulltime as a subtitle editor, I applied like crazy for all kinds of assistant jobs for six straight months. It was horrifying and disheartening and left me downtrodden. I'm sure every single one of you looking for entertainment jobs in LA has a story like this. But something good happened.

A month or two into my job search, I applied for a producer's assistant job. Since this is a big company, their recruiter called me and talked to me about it. She even offered me the choice of two positions for which to interview: one was working as an assistant on an animated TV show; the other would be assisting two producers on an animated feature. It was made clear to me that the feature job was better and would offer more opportunities, but I did question it since my interests lie in TV. Did I make the wrong call? We'll never know. I also found out that the recruiter's brother and I had gone to the same university and we talked about that for a few minutes. The interview didn't pan out, but she was extremely nice.

Another month or so passed and I saw a posting for an assistant in the Story department and naturally jumped on it. As luck would have it, the job was with the same company and I dealt with the same recruiter. Just like before, she was really nice. Also just like before, the interview didn't get me anywhere. I later discovered that I didn't get it because the project had been put on hold.

More months passed and I applied for job after job, but no luck. Then one day I got an email from the recruiter. Their VP's assistant was going out on longterm maternity leave. Something like 6 months. They really needed someone ASAP and she thought of me. Could I come in that day to interview? I hemmed and hawed. A temp job? Hmm. Also, I was in shorts and a t-shirt--was that a problem? The recruiter went to check and I called my fiancee to talk to her about it. We thought it was too much of an opportunity to pass up. So I went on the interview, shorts and all, and immediately clicked with the VP. Got the job. Her old assistant never came back, so I became permanent.

After literally a year on her desk, the writer's assistant on one of our features decided to leave, and both the VP and the recruiter told me I should apply. I did, which you can read about in my first few posts on this blog. Exciting, scary times. But eventually I got the job... And got the praise of two professional writers, since the main part of my application was letting them read my pilot.

So there you have it. Persistence+contacts+luck...+talent, since there was a guy they liked before me, but when they read his script they decided he wasn't a good fit.

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