Keep doin' what you're doin' (advice he would give to his younger self).

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NAME

Stuart

JOB TITLE

Writer's Assistant

LOCATION

Los Angeles, California

SALARY

Undisclosed

NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE FIELD

4+

Career Bio

The profession

We make, like, movies and TV and anything that comes out of that little light box picture frame thing on your wall. It takes a lot of people to make those things happen -- both practically and bureaucratically -- so the field has a wide ranging swath of jobs for people of all educations, backgrounds, interests, etc.

How I got here

I was a media studies major in undergrand and got my MFA in film producing, but by the time I was in graduate school I was already firmly entrenched in the film industry. I started as an intern at a TV network two days a week the first semester of my sophomore year of college. Second semester that year, I interned two days a week for a studio, and one day a week for a writer/director. I continued to intern for that writer/director on and off through my senior year of college, and took other internships along the way. Had I not gone to graduate school, I most likely would have taken a full-time assistant job with that writer/director's company, or one of his colleagues' companies. Most of my internships, save the first, were due directly to experiences I had at other internships, and my jobs since graduate school are all tied to the internships I had -- either directly or indirectly, both because of contacts and experiences. It's much easier to get an assistant job in Hollywood if you've had internships, because you speak the language and have learned the basics of the job already. If not, the simplest and most direct way is to get a mailroom job at one of the big agencies, which act as an entry-level crash-course on Hollywood.

A typical day

I work for writer John August, known for writing the movies Big Fish and Charlie's Angels and my days vary a lot. Besides just being a screenwriter, John makes apps and does a podcast for budding writers, so a lot of my job consists of editing and producing work for the podcast, customer support and troubleshooting for the apps, tracking sales and maintaining records, etc. Then there's basic office support stuff, like keeping paper stocked, getting lunch for everyone, answering the phones. And when my boss is actively writing, there's a lot of idea-bouncing, proof reading, typing hand-written pages into the computer... A typical day is some combination of all of the above.

The hardest parts

It's a pretty low-stress job. Customer support can get overwhelming at times, as can answering podcast-listener emails, but in general my job doesn't have too many insurmountable challenges.

The best parts

I get to work on projects I love with people I admire, and am privileged to be able to learn from fantastic people very few have intimate access to.

The myths of the profession

I'd say it's a myth that Hollywood assistants are abused, but I don't think that's always a myth. In my experience, though, I've worked for incredibly kind and giving bosses.

The workplace

I wear a tee shirt and pants every day, but that's a dress code I've put on myself. Some of my coworkers wear shorts.

Advice for someone thinking about going into the field

Come to college in Los Angeles and get internships during the semester. The competition and access is so much better. Summer internships are a madhouse.

Advice to my younger self

Keep doin' what you're doin'!