Where do writers find day jobs? I’m not talking about bartending jobs. Or the dog walking jobs. I’m talking about the gigs that give you a foot in the door. These are the jobs that get you inside the writer’s room. They’re the jobs that get you on the set working with directors.
The big three are 1) story analyst, 2) production assistant, and 3) –the best day job –writing assistant on a Tv show. (Because you might get a writing job out of it. Happens all the time). Where do you find these jobs?
There is a group of websites. Some advertise for personal assistants to help actors, directors, producers, and some screenwriters. Some advertise for crew jobs. Some of them pay, some are non-paid internships. Of course, you want to get paid.
However, interning with a producer, or a writer, or a talent agency can be a valuable experience if you’re taking film classes. Internships generally award you school credit instead of money. If you’re in a writing program at film school, you might be interested in the networking opportunities.
Websites known for advertising these types of jobs include; Craigslist, Indeed, Mandy, Entertainment Careers, Screenwriting Staffing, Upwork, and Hubstaff Talent, International Screenwriting Association, The Anonymous Production assistant, Crewjobs, Internship.com, Monster, and Glassdoor.
Whether you’re looking to just make a few bucks or to get on a film crew to meet directors, actors, and producers, you might want to look at these ads. All of these ads appeared on various sites recently.
“INTERN – SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT (Beverly Hills)
Compensation: Un-Paid. Employment type: Part Time. We are a Beverly Hills-based production company with several feature films, scripted TV series, and reality show productions in development looking for an excitable script development intern. Individuals must be punctual, creative, and self-motivated, and most importantly ready to learn and hit the ground running in an open environment where they will be exposed to all aspects of script development. Although the intern will learn about the script development process, candidates must ALREADY have a strong understanding of narrative structure and the essence of a good script.”
The key phrase here is “Un-Paid.” You might be able to network. However, the whole point of the day job is to make money. True, you’ll get experience which may lead to a similar position that pays.
You’ll get experience writing script coverage which is good preparation for a job at a studio. It’s also good preparation for writing scripts. You’ll begin to recognize what a script looks like that will get a “Recommend” and possibly green-lit. You’ll also learn to recognize all the “don’ts” in screenwriting.
“Paid Production Assistant – $100/day – Part time (Manhattan Beach)
We are hiring production assistants to work in our studio offices/production facilities on computer and on set for an ongoing web series. No heavy lifting is involved. You will be given opportunities to take on larger responsibilities with production. You will get IMDB credits on the series. We are seeking friendly people with a pleasant demeanor who will be happy to help out at the studio office and on set with a smile.
This job pays. They offer IMDB credits. It will probably be a Production Assistant credit. But you need to start somewhere. Notice the emphasis on “friendly,” and “pleasant demeanor.” You get the feeling that their last PA was a jerk.
On ads like this, where they don’t list the production company, I’d do a little research. Find the name of the production company and make sure they’re legit. You might save yourself some heartache and/or some bounced checks down the line.
“Actor and actress couple seeking qualified part-time Assistant in LA.
Responsibilities include heavy scheduling, travel arrangements, and personal errands. They would like someone to be able to cat sit as well, but not required. Salary depending on experience.”
Personal assistant jobs are tricky. You might end up just running errands for these actors. However, you might also establish a personal relationship with them. That could lead to meeting other actors, writers, directors, and producers. These assistants tend to get to know their employers on a very personal level.
“IMMEDIATE OPENING FOR PERSONAL ASSISTANT – MODEL/ACTRESS (BASED IN WEST HOLLYWOOD)
Great fit for someone interested in production, PR and management. You should be a quick learner, energetic, speak fluent English, be well spoken, friendly, organized, discreet and solution oriented, have happy attitude toward work, very engaged and productive. Duties include, but are not limited to: managing the time and being able to PRIORITIZE, getting coffee in the morning, light home organization, research, daily errands, and managing social media.
When they ask for models, be careful. You will really need to be up for anything. Who knows – it sounds like it could pay well – and might be a lot of fun – if you go in for that kind of thing. Use your best judgment when considering these jobs – and remember Hollywood attracts its share of sleazy producers, as well as legit ones.
The jobs or gigs you find on websites like these generally fall into the “entry-level positions” category. They are just a means to an end. You get this experience, put in a year (or even less) and apply for better jobs. Of course, these aren’t your dream jobs. They’ll pay the bills until you make enough money from writing to pay the bills.