Best way to transition into production after years in post

After almost 16 years in post-production, I am looking to transition into production. Thus far, it is proving to be a difficult feat. Any suggestions on how to make it happen? I feel as though I've exhausted all avenues.


  • I am in the IDENTICAL position you are. Done with Post, want to move on to something new - cannot get in anywhere. You are not alone!

  • Nicole and Dan,

    I've spent the last year and a half doing the same thing- post was making my eyes bleed out of my sockets. My best advice is to start PA'ing (I know it's a farfegnugen rate in comparison but you'll pretty much have to) once you've done one or two gigs you have a great chance to land DIT, which will give you the opportunity to shoot production stills and learn grip (if you don't already know it). I've moved from PA to DIT to Feild Coordinator in less than a year. It's fun, but you'll need to hussle if you're still in the "sit all day for work" mentality- it doesn't work in production! Good luck!

  • Thank you both for taking the time out to respond. Matthew, I have no problem with hussling or starting as a PA, but those jobs seem few and far between. I'm keeping the faith. I know it's just a matter of time before I get my break!

  • Look into casting call depending on what city you live in there are multiple shows that have casting call year round.

  • Thank you, Candice. I will look into it.

  • Good luck with that search. I've been having a hard time finding work as a Production Assistant after work working/ applying for make up for 13 years.

  • Wow. Ok, thanks, William.

  • Where are you located Nicole?

  • Nickolas, I'm located in LA.

  • What was your job in post? There may be a way to translate that into production work.

  • If your position was in story in post I would think you would have such an advantage working in the field knowing what is important in post when putting together the footage and the story. It's important to know if this is a creative / story situation or a production management type of position.

  • I was an online editor. I've applied for everything in production. PA, AP (field and post), and everything in between. Haven't gotten one bite.

  • Okay. Where have you been networking?

  • I have looked for and applied to jobs on Staff Me Up, Indeed, LinkedIn, Ladders, Film and TV Pro, Media Match, Velvet Jobs, and Get Video Film Editing Jobs. I've applied for corporate jobs, as well as reaching out to everyone I know in this industry. Scripted and non-scripted.

  • That's a good, broad approach. It will be smart to stay on top of that a couple times a week. I'm talking about face-to-face networking. Where are you "pressing the flesh"

  • That I haven't done. Honestly, I don't know where to begin.

  • Contact every Production Manager, Production Coordinator, Coordinating Producer, or Line Producer you've worked with and let them know what you'd like to transition into.

  • I'm having the same issue, but I'm in Chicago. Anyone got any advice?

  • I was an assistant re-recording mixer for several years in the 80s and 90s and transitioned into being a post supervisor. If you want to get completely out of post I would try to get a job as an AP on a court show like Judge Judy, Divorce Court, etc... I saw people go from being an AP to a segment producer and then move on to other shows as producers and even co-EPs.

  • Or you might try to be a booth p.a. and then a booth AD which could lead you into being a director.

  • Sounds good. Thank you Michael.

  • Bit of an old discussion but so I don't know if the thread is cold or not, but if not, Nicole, what is your ultimate goal in production? I guess you are tried of being tied up "behind the box", but it might help to know what you see yourself doing down the road in production. Directing? Producing? Grip/gaffing?

  • Naveen, my ultimate goal is to produce and become a showrunner.

  • I would reach out to the local film schools and inquire about PA positions there. I'm an AFI alum, and in our first year there are a total of about 124 projects that get made throughout the school. During our second year, there are around 56 projects that get made so that's nearly 200 student projects made per year. Obviously not every student will go on to an illustrious career, but it's a starting point to pad the production side of the résumé.

  • Thanks Ken! I will definitely check into that.

  • I second what Ken said. Reach out to film programs at places like AFI, USC, UCLA. You really are in the town for it. Also look for low/no-budget indie films that are looking for PAs, at least for the experience. Though honestly, if your ultimate goal is to be a showrunner I'd be writing as much as possible (if you're not already).

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