Sunday, January 11, 2009

Questions Answered

Amber Posted:

Im moving to LA to become a film set I can learn the industry more and hoepfully after I put my time in, move up. Ive always heard about the UTA list, but no one knows how do you get the list(s) sent to you? how do you become on the list serve? or how does it all work? Im dying to be sent the lists..any advice?

Ah, the infamous UTA list. I posted about it a while back. Basically, the easiest way way to get on the list is to know someone in the industry. Almost anyone in the industry who holds an entry level or higher position either:

a) got their job from the UTA list.

b) gets the UTA list in their mail.

c) posts to the UTA list for interns/positions.

d) knows someone who does any of those things.

The UTA list is the worst kept secret in LA. While no one admits it exists, everyone gets it. Personally, I get it from three different people every time it comes out. Not to talk out of school, but the first UTA list I got from the US_UK_EU_Producersalliance on yahoo groups. They post the executive positions whenever they come out. From there, I talked to some people on the list that got me the list. Then, after I moved to LA, I met several other people who just put me on their listservs, and I ended up getting lists in my inbox in triplicate whenever they came out. Before I moved to LA, I went to both yahoo and google groups and tried to gain entry into every listserv that had anything to do with LA and the industry, LAProducer, TheBudgetingGroup, US_UK_EU_Producersalliance, etc. If you are an aspiring screenwriter, I work with the Scriptwriter's Network and they help young writers. I'm sure there are the same sorts of things for directors, producers, DPs, etc.

However, I would tell you if you wish to be a film set PA, the UTA list is really not helpful at all. For the most part, the positions they post are for office assistants at agencies, production companies, and studios. Since I don't work on sets anymore, I don't know what the best way to get involved with on set productions. I would say try or They were a big source of information when I was working on sets. They also have PA training programs that claim to place you afterwards, but I would be very wary of those. You can try the HCD (Hollywood creative directory) and cold calling production companies to see if they need on-set work, but for the most part the people I know got their jobs by knowing people.

While I love being on set, there came a time when I just couldn't do 13 hour days, so I moved into offices, where the hours are a little more stable, but the work is more boring. Depending on what your aspirations are, you may not need on-set experience. However, I find it invaluable to have both in set and office experience when it comes to writing and esp. directing.

One other thing I might suggest is to try temp agencies. In LA, there are temp agencies like Co-op, Comar, and Friedman, just like other temps agencies, place specifically into entertainment professions. But with the "recession" in entertainment, they are cutting back on their temp pool. But it does happen.

Really, it's about being in LA if you are going to move here, the talent level is so deep, I don't know anyone who has gotten a job out of state. It's almost ALWAYS, they are in LA already. So, my advice is to take the leap, have some money saved up, and if you can do an internship, then another, then another, while working on set. It's all about connections. People want to hire people they know, and the nepotism is RAMPANT in LA. The first year is really, really, really hard. But, the only people who succeed are those who persevere.