While sifting through Production Assistant job openings on craigslist, our very own Second AC here on Raising Hope, Dale Vance Jr, stumbled upon a particularly peculiar entry. This ad requested an unusual submission: a video reel. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the position, production assistants don’t usually perform tasks that would render any kind of video applicable to a job submission. Dearest Dale lost his shit. He wrote this letter in response to said ad. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
At this moment I am in the process of ripping 100 copies of my “PA” reel to DVD…… Until it is thru though, here is a sample of what your in for:
Close your eyes if you will, and envision this…….
It opens with a close up of my face, as the song “Oh Yeah” by Yellow kicks in….. The camera cranes back to reveal a birds eye view of me standing in line at starbucks, 20 people back. Checking and rechecking my list of drinks that the 1st AD has forbidden me to screw up. This opening shot is followed with a few quick cuts of me successfully doling out coffee to first team, etc.
As the tempo of the song progresses, there are shots of me passing out walkies, sides, grabbing lunch, and other useful things.
In case this is non union, I have included some shots of me driving a cube van from Galpin, as well as a slo-mo shot of me taking a corner in a loaded up stake bed. Nailed it.
I can only hope you take the time to watch a lock up I do on the corner of alameda and 7th….. It’s “real time” and runs about 45 minutes right in the middle of my reel. No one, NO ONE, gets by me. Period.
After this exciting bit, I thought it would be fitting to include a 40 frame montage of me collecting time cards, returning equipment, doing office runs, getting MORE Starbucks, and even cleaning shit and dirty needles from an alleyway downtown.
I am learned in the ways of confidentiality agreements, and never has a cast photo, nor a script ended up on my Facebook page or twitter acct.
And between you and me, I have a clip of me socking a TMZ camera Papparazzi right in the kisser for hassling the talent……. I can send you in a QuickTime file, but thought it prudent to leave off the actual reel.
So anyway, I hope you like what you heard, because unfortunately my computer just crashed, and it does not look like I’m gonna get this reel off in time.
Let me know.
When Dale didn’t receive a response, he sent yet another email. Why the hell not.
After not hearing back from you, I really felt like I had did you an injustice by not going into further detail of my PROFESSIONAL Production Assistant highlights. You did after all point out that you not only wanted a Demo Reel, but also a Resume, and you had mentioned checking references. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since my reel is coming in at just under an hour, (let’s see, that’s 30 fps = 1800 images a minute….. that’s just over 100,000 pictures), I figure I better give you more than the 10 minutes of words I threw together earlier, you deserve it.
I have gone deep into the vault, and pulled some of my PA highlight clips that I feel will really dazzle you. I was saving these for the directors cut, but the thought of 18 hour days, and $125 has made me pull out all the stops. I had better act quickly.
The opening shot of my reel has now been replaced with another birds eye view shot, but this one starts up high from a STRADA CRANE, looking down on me as I exit a nondescript white van, and head for the Starbucks door. The camera swoops down, (and this is the real treat!), as the lens catches up to me, you discover that the shot is actually a LOWMODE steadicam WALKOFF!!! Yowzers. Hows that for F-in sweet! Anyway, the camera follows me into Starbucks, right up to the counter, and pushes in tight on my coffee list……. for the entire crew PLUS the writing staff! (hey, they hook us up with the coffee truck too sometimes). I decided to leave in the previous portion of the video where I successfully dole out the coffees. That after all is the point of my PROFESSIONAL PA reel, to show off my skillz.
Just in case I had lost you early on with my last letter regarding the music by Yellow, well I have changed it up just a bit. I have decided to go with “I’ve had the time of my life”…… I feel it punctuates the fact that my whole livelihood is tied to the many opportunities I have been given as a PROFESSIONAL PA.
In order to fill your request for a “resume”, I have decided to give you something special. In lieu of the traditional bullet points, etc. I am gonna give you a little something that I feel is neat-O, and a real money saver. On a recent film I worked on as a PROFESSIONAL Production Assistant, the Producers had a novel idea to hire only PA’s…….. The KEY PA (very professional) would tell the actors where to stand, and tell the other PA’s where to put the camera. The other PA’s performed various duties such as script supervisor, or run craft service (mostly gum), some of the PA’s would even push dolly, or set flags and lights. I should point out that this type of ingenuity only works on non union stuff. But it is a brilliant way to get people to work for free, or deferred pay, or maybe $50 a day. On this particular job I was able to get some great footage that you will see in my reel. I was asked to hit the clapper board before we rolled…….. this resulted in some great in focus shots of my arm and wrist, (easily identifiable by my green RoadID bracelet, and my yellow Livestrong band). Occasionally my face would be in frame, but I only pulled the Slo-Mo bits for the reel, I added them to the montage!
Speaking of the montage, you will see in the new reel (well you never really viewed the first cut), anyway, I have decided to include some clips of me holding an umbrella over an actor. In order to show my versatility, I have included some dreamlike sequences from Mojave Desert where I am holding TWO umbrellas over multiple actors in 115 degree temperatures!! This series of shots is starkly contrasted by some night exteriors of me shielding actors from the rain.
As demo reels go, I really think I nailed it on the head with this one. I was also able to pull some old clips of me balancing about 15 breakfast burritos on my forearm, as I hiked from base camp to the end of the santa monica pier with them. I edited it down some, but rest assured I did not drop any.
If your not at the edge of your seat by this point of the video, then I’m not sure what your looking for. I fly call sheets, I call out audible rollings, I’ve included some gratuitous close ups, I had that tricky steadicam walkoff (also available on the Steadicam Op’s youtube page).
Oh yeah, about the ACTUAL video……. well its still burning copies. I’ll get it to you.
Let’s hear it for Dale, ladies and gents. Expect to see him promoted to a writing position any minute.