Equal Parts Hard Work and Pure Luck

MV5BZTJjYTBiMDYtNzhlNC00Mzg2LWJjZDQtYTM0YWQ3YWZjYzg2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjQwMDg0Ng@@._V1_UY317_CR51,0,214,317_AL_Everyone dreams of going to Hollywood and making it big at one point in their lives. It’s hard not to; seeing stars on silver screens and directors accepting trophies at awards ceremonies, it all looks very lavish. But behind the glamour and opulence there is a level of hard work and determination that would deter any slacker. “My end goal is to be a showrunner of scripted television… I want to create the story, write the pilot script, sell the concept, and run the writer’s room and the entire show.” That’s Andrew Daily, a production manager down in Los Angeles. If you were to look at the film industry as a well oiled machine, a production manager would be the one that makes sure it stays well oiled. Daily is responsible for making sure things like the catering and hiring of production assistants all goes well. “So that’s very difficult to get into. There’s probably only less than three hundred of those jobs in the world.” That’s a pretty staggering number when  you consider that, according to the Bureau of Labor, there are just under 400,000 people working in the film industry. That means that only around 0.08% of the people that work in the film industry work as showrunners. So how does one get such a job? “The typical route that people go through is through becoming a writer’s assistant and then a writer and then, you know, producing writer, and so on moving up to the writing side, but I’m actually going a different route…” He was. When Daily made the decision to move to LA, he didn’t know anyone there. He was diving in headfirst, and he wasn’t sure if he was headed for water or asphalt. Luckily, his old youth pastor had a connection in the industry, his sister was the VP of Sony Pictures, Leah Weil. The pastor set Daily up with a meeting in which Weil showed him the studio, walked on the set of the popular show, Ray Donovan, all the while they talked about his skills. By the end of the meeting, Weil had set Daily up with a job as an art production assistant, and since then he’s worked in almost every avenue of the film industry, from producer to floral arrangement. “From there, you know, I just impressed the right people, and it eventually led to work, but I only probably work fifty days out of my first year in LA.” That threw me off. Here was an experienced and well connected industry professional that only managed to find work fifty days out of the year. “I wasn’t interested in making friends and partying and messing around. I was interested in ‘Alright, let’s work, let’s grind, move up cause you’re too old to be a PA forever.’ You know?”  Time was, of course, growing short and I decided it was time to bring the interview to a close, so I asked Andrew to provide some tips for students looking to get into the industry. “My number one tip is just save money in advance, because like I said I only worked fifty days out of the year. I was fortunate to have that connection, but you might be surprised by who you know, like a friend of a friend that might lead to a job, but when you start out you have to do a lot of free work and you have to be available, because you’re gonna get a call and they’ll be like ‘Hey we need you tomorrow to come in.’ and you have to be able to be able to say yes in order to meet the right people. I was fortunate enough where I flipped a house, and I had a bunch of money saved up to where I could commit a year to not having to work consistently, but you have to move to LA. You have to meet people, and you will, you know? There’s always someone in film or TV who can be an in for you, because when I’m hiring PA’s I ask my good PA’s ‘Hey, do you know any friends that want work?… You have to be in LA, talking to people communicating your interest, and something will come up.” Becoming a part of the industry is, by all means, equal part hard work and pure luck. Your entire career could ride on whether or not that friend of a friend thinks of you when they’re hiring for their project. So keep an eye out, and your ears to the ground, because that opportunity could be right around the corner, or right under your nose.

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