First of all, my apologies: I have a full inbox of emails and reader questions from you all, and I apologize I haven’t been able to get them more quickly. The WGA strike developments have kept me pretty busy, but as the smoke clears, I’m able to get back to the mailbag, and I promise to get to all your questions. And for those of you who would like to ask a question, please feel free to email me at WDScriptNotes@FWPubs.com, or simply post them in the comments section below.
Anyway, back to the question at hand– which comes from loyal reader Benjy. Benjy writes:
“I’m hoping to get a PA job once the strike ends. You recently covered getting a PA job with some of the best info I’ve ever personally seen collected in one place (I’ll be referring back to yesterday’s post for months!) but one avenue you mentioned a couple days ago is to ‘contact the shows directly.’ How does one do that? If I were to write an email, send a letter, who would I address it to? How can I find that information?”
You’re right, Benjy– there is an easy answer… although it’s not something you automatically may have known.
One of Hollywood’s best kept secrets is the Hollywood Creative Directory, a regularly updated, multi-book directory that provides contact info, executive rosters, and even credits for virtually every network, studio, production company, agency, management firm, and TV show in the entertainment industry. The books include:
• The Hollywood Creative Directory – info on networks, studios, production companies, and actual TV shows. Benjy– this is probably the most helpful book for you. But they also have…
• The Hollywood Representation Directory – info on agents, managers, publicists, etc.
• The Hollywood Distribution Directory – info on domestic and international financiers, distributors, and mobile & digital media distributors
• The Hollywood Music Directory – info on record execs, music publishers, recording studios, soundtrack engineers, etc.
So, let’s say you want to apply for a PA job at Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. You could snag a copy of the Hollywood Creative Directory, look up the contact info for Terminator, and send them your cover letter and resume.
(You can also sign up to access the Creative Directories online, which costs about $250. This is probably a better way to get more updated info. The books themselves usually run about $60-70 per book. Still, if you don’t want to pony up that kind of money, try a university library in the L.A. area… or even a public library. I used to go to the UCLA library and Xerox the entire Creative Directory, page by page. It was a pain… and I had to pay for copies… [and it was definitely illegal]… but it cost way less than buying the whole damn book.)
Also, a piece of advice: don’t send your letter to the highest person listed on the company food chain. The showrunner, or even the line producer, doesn’t have time to deal with resumes and appliations for entry-level PA’s. Instead, contact the production coordinator or assistant production coordinator… these are the people who run the production office and spend the most time hiring, firing, and dealing with PA’s. If there’s no production coordinator or assistant production coordinator listed, contact the lowest person on the ladder… even if it’s an assistant. This person has the time– and it’s closer to their job duty– to deal with you. They’ll also know where to forward your communication. AND… assistants need to network with other assistants and starter-outers, so many are eager to meet new people. PLUS… many assistants, sometimes even PA’s, are responsible for finding their own replacements when they get promoted or move on– yet another reason they’re often eager to meet other assistants.
If you have no way of getting the Creative Directories, you can usually get snail-mail addresses simply by calling the production office of each show. To do this, simply phone the main switchboard of the network or studio producing the TV show. This info is often find-able with some quick exploring on the company website. Or try the phone book (or online phone book). Or call information. (The point is: the phone numbers for Warner Brothers, FOX, MTV, Sony, or whatever aren’t hard to find.)
Ask to be connected to the production for the show you’re trying to contact. Don’t ask for the phone number– they won’t give it to you. When they connect you to the production office, tell them you just need their mailing address. They’ll probably give it to you, no questions asked, and you’ll be done in 30 seconds. You can also ask for their fax number, which is often a good way to send cover letters or resumes.
Anyway, Benjy– I hope this helps. Good luck with your job hunt… lemme know how it goes!
And for the rest of you with questions, feel free to email me at WDScriptNotes@FWPubs.com.
In the mean time, stay tuned for some upcoming special posts… we’ll be talking to Chelsea Lately producer Brad Wollack and online book author/publisher Mark Nemcoff, and answering more of your great questions and emails.
Talk to you soon…