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How To Apply For Jobs Using Production Listings

I’ve received several emails asking how to apply for assistant positions using production listings. Below are my answers to your questions.

Where do I find production listings?

Here are the sites I recommend:

Below the Line ($10/mo.)
A weekly magazine providing contact information for films and television shows. Includes production office numbers and emails. View a sample listing here.

Production Weekly ($59.95/mo.)
Similar to Below The Line. View a sample listing here.

The Mercury Production Report ($52.00/mo.)
Same as above.

Production Bulletin ($39.95/mo.)
Same as above.

Who do I attention my resume and cover letter to?

Production coordinator.

If a listing provides phone and fax numbers for the production office, production companies and studio, which number do I apply to?

Send your application materials to the PRODUCTION OFFICE, not the production company, studio, or network. If the production office number isn’t listed, call one of the numbers that is listed and ask for the production office number.

Read: PRODUCTION OFFICES VERSES PRODUCTION COMPANIES

Should I apply to shows that are listed as ‘active development’ or ‘preproduction?’

Production listings generally note a project’s start date or status. Apply to shows that are listed as Filming, Preproduction, and Pilot. DO NOT apply to shows listed as Wrapped, Hiatus, Hiatus-Picked Up, Active Development, Development, or Post.

When do shows begin hiring assistants?

Generally, five to six weeks prior to the start date.

Staffing will pick up in the next few weeks as networks begin picking up their pilots to series. While there is a staffing season for assistants (May – July) it’s important to remember that shows hire and fire year-round. And many cable networks are on a completely different schedule than the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, AND CW). I encourage you to apply to every show in production. Even if you only get six weeks of work in before a show wraps, that’s six weeks of pay plus a lot of connections that could lead to your next job.

Should I apply to shows that are not currently staffing?

Yes. When you call a production office, you generally speak to an assistant. Often times, that assistant has no idea he or she (or a fellow assistant) is about to be fired and that the show IS actually staffing. Attention your cover letter and resume to the production coordinator and send it in. If the show is already staffed, they will keep your resume on file in case something comes up at a later date. Also, if your resume is good, the coordinator may pass it along to another show that is staffing. I applied to CSI a few years ago and their coordinator called me personally to say, “I received your resume; we’re not currently staffing but a friend of mine on another show is, and I’d like to send your resume to her.” How kind!

Emailing Resumes

Last but not least, if you’re emailing your resume, ALWAYS ATTACH IT AS A PDF FILE!

For new readers who are curious as to how I broke in:

First, I bought a fax machine. Faxing at Kinkos cost $1 a page and I had to fax three pages to each show (cover sheet, cover letter, and resume). During my first job search, I applied to 68 shows. My fax machine cost $50 and paid for itself the first day.

Most shows now list email addresses. If you email your resume, follow up with a phone call to confirm they received it. You can also call the production office before applying; it’s possible they have an email addy that isn’t listed.

Armed with my resume and cover letter, I called production offices: “I’d like to submit my resume; can you give me the fax number or email I should send it to? Do you happen to know if you’re hiring assistants?” If the person was nice, I chatted with them for a moment. “Is there anyone specific I should attention it to?” If the person on the phone seemed busy or unhelpful, I simply got the fax number and hung up.

I had several call backs, four interviews, and landed a job at According to Jim just four days after arriving in L.A.

Read: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FIND A JOB IN HOLLYWOOD? 

Happy job hunting!

29 thoughts on “How To Apply For Jobs Using Production Listings”

  1. This is the most helpful how-to I’ve read. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Im just about to move to LA and I will certainly do what you advised. Btw if I call production offices can I ask if they’re hiring for a specific job or should I just get the number and email my resume hoping they’d assign me somewhere? thanks!

    1. You can ask. But you can also just say, I’d like to send in my resume. That way, they don’t have the opportunity to say no.

      1. thank you. Another question though, recently I’ve only seen production companies listed and the contact for production offices is nowhere to be found. Is it advisable to call the production companies and ask for the contact of production office or the production coordinator? especially since most of them is in pre-production still… thanks again.

  2. This is a fantastic article, thank you! I am currently non-union, looking to apply to a film in early pre-production, with a $100k budget. The only info I can find is general for the production companies. Should I try calling them to get the production office contact info, or will I look like an idiot? Thanks for any advice.

      1. Thank you!! In my excitement at finding all of this new info, I forgot to mention one rather important detail… I am actually a make-up artist, but I have heard that MU Department Heads sometimes hire PAs as their assistants, and that this might be a good way to start getting work on big projects. I know this is an entirely separate part of production, but do you have any recommendations for finding artist or assisting positions in make-up departments? Would I still be cold calling the Production Office and asking if they know of open positions?

      2. Here’s what I’ve heard so far:

        There really aren’t PAs in the hair and makeup dept. if she wants to get into hair and makeup she should call local 705 and see what she needs to do to get in. She may have to work nonunion for awhile. I suggest that she work in a production office and get to know the department heads. The local may be able to give her more info.

      3. Hi again Jessica,

        Thanks so much for finding that out! It’s just interesting, because I recently read an article where famous make-up artist Ve Neill says that she almost always hires PAs to assist her instead of actual “make-up” assistants – she said that almost every Make-up Department Head in Local 706 does the same, so I’m trying to figure out how that works.

        I’ve been working as a non-union artist for 7 years because I live in a very small market and can’t reach the required amount of days to obtain union membership, but will be making the move to LA in August. Just looking for ways to get film experience before I make the jump!

  3. I’m sure that’s exactly right. Either way, I’ve realized it’s probably a good idea to start applying for other PA jobs, anyway… Any experience on set is worthwhile.

  4. Hi
    I am a recent graduate in London, UK looking to get into the talent management business. I am looking for entry level positions such as assistant/mailroom but would like to atleast get some interviews before actually moving out to LA.

    Do you have any contacts/ advice about trying to get a job offer before moving out? is this possible?

    thanks

  5. Just stumbled upon this website and I am loving all of your advice! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I am about to leave small town Ohio for the big city of Los Angeles. My main question is do you still recommend faxing resumes? I only ask because I know a lot changes in LA and since this article is from 2011 I want to be acting on the most current trend/preference. Again thank you so much for your help!

  6. Jessica – thank you so much for all your helpful advice. One question: I work in postproduction as an editor/assistant editor. Would I still send my resume to the production office?

  7. Jess,

    Okay, I am armed with a Production Weekly subscription and I wonder if it is any different than the other 4 services you recommended. Is there one you would kind of go to more than any other.

    While I have faxed and emailed the production listings i’ve found on PW i am now going to call those I’ve sent my information to and then felt weird about ‘checking in’ because I didnt want to sound like a bug. ‘Hi, I am calling just to make sure my resume has been received.’ Is calling to check in a step too far or should I just leave it to email and fax?

  8. Of the services that you listed, do most of them focus primarily on projects in L.A. and N.Y.C.?

    I want to find a service that lists productions going on throughout the United States. Do most of them do this, or is it almost always the best idea to check with state and local film offices for productions outside of the main hubs?

    Thanks for the article! It is very helpful.

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