Recently, I have been working on new shows and meeting a lot of new people. Both are equally great things, but meeting new people always comes with the inevitable questions: “Where are you from?” “How long have you been in the industry?” “So, what do you want to do?”
The later is my least favorite question. I have been a production assistant for about a year and a half now, I feel like I should have it all figured out. But the truth is, I don’t. There are so many things I want to do in this industry, but when people ask me that question I freeze up because I feel like I am supposed to have an answer like, “direct” or “write a sitcom.” Something big and looming in the future.
While I don’t know what I want my future job title to be, PA-ing has taught me a few things about myself. I like working on sets where I get to know the lay of the land and with big crews where I get to meet a lot of different people. I don’t want to work with cameras or lighting or anything technical. Anyone who does is a wizard in my eyes because my brain just doesn’t work in that way; I’m not a hands on person and I’ve come to accept that. (Even though I do believe the world needs more female directors and cinematographers, I just sadly will not be one of them).
I like the creative side of the industry. The side where all the parts of the show come together. Award shows are great for that because I have seen firsthand how the work of each department, from production to transportation to art and staging, contributes to one big show. No matter how many times I see it, the process of transforming an empty theater into a televised event always amazes me. I also like seeing how ideas and interviews become stories and episodes in reality television. Recently I worked on the 3rd season of Hollywood Game Night which was not only fun, but eye opening because I never realized everything that went into making each game a reality. Game producing is a position I never knew existed before, and would not have known about if not for being a production assistant on the show.
Another position that interests me is casting. Casting is so important for a project and yet it is so subjective. It takes someone with vision and decisiveness to pick the right person for a part. Like the decision to cast 10 and 11 year olds Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in the Harry Potter series. Like the decision to cast little known Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor (and every other Marvel related casting decision). Like Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire. When I read the book I thought, “This is the worst decision for Lestat, why would they cast Tom Cruise?” Then I watched the movie and understood. Someone knew something I didn’t.
So far everything I moved to L.A. to do has happened. It’s amazing, but true. I worked on the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards and almost every award show in between. I am going to Texas next month for the Academy of Country Music Awards. I have worked on game shows and talk shows and reality shows. It is time for me to make some new career related goals, even if they don’t involve a five year plan.
Some things I want to do:
- Work on a cooking competition show
- Work on a travel show or a show where I get to travel
- Work on a scripted television show
- Become an associate or story producer
- Work on a film
- Be involved in casting for a book to film adaptation
- Do social media for an awards show
- WORK FOR MARVEL (in any capacity)
Hey if I’ve been this lucky so far, the rest will come. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t been all luck. It’ been hard-work-12-plus-hour-days-no-weekends-off-haven’t-seen-my-roommate-in-weeks-even-though-we-live-in-the-same-apartment type stuff.
So I’ve decided when someone asks me, “What do you want to do?” I am going to think of it more as, “What do you want to do next?” not “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” That’s why I’m in this industry and why I don’t have a typical 9-t-5. I work freelance. I have the ability to change my mind (and career path) tomorrow.
I’m ready for whatever comes next.