What I actually do
So far in these blog posts I’ve talked a lot about life in Hollywood and all the things that take place outside of the office, but for today I’m going to talk about what goes on during the workday. As an assistant, there are three main things (among a million other small things) that I am responsible for: phones, submissions, and scheduling. Put together, these three things give a good overview of how a writer or director books a job.
Phones are simple but very important. If my boss needs to call someone, I make the call. If someone calls him, I answer. I listen in on every call, and it’s my job to know what each call we make is regarding. If we call someone and they are not available, the industry term is to say we “left word.” If they call back a few days later, I have to be able to tell my boss what the call was about, where the person works, and any other information that might be useful. I also take notes on every single phone call, and it’s crucial that these are very thorough and detailed. Today my boss asked me the name of a writer who had been hired on a certain project. We had been given this information over a month ago on a call, but I had it in my notes and was able to tell him. Most of our calls are to pitch writers for projects. Once we connect with an executive and pitch the client, the next step is a submission.
Let’s say we call an executive about a super hero project the are developing. It just so happens that our client has a great super hero screenplay they wrote, and so we say we want to send it as a sample. My job is to draft the submission letter, which is usually a paragraph or two about the screenplay and the writer. I then send the screenplay to the executive, and keep track of what we have sent out in a grid for my boss. Every Monday (and throughout the week) we go through our outgoing submissions and follow up with the executives to see if they have looked at the material yet. If they read the screenplay and liked it, the third step is setting a meeting.
To go back to the super hero example, if the executive liked our client’s super hero script, then I would set a time for our client to meet with the executive about their super hero project. If this meeting goes well, there will probably be a series of other meetings (all of which I will set) that will hopefully culminate in our client getting hired and paid to write a screenplay.
Those three things are the basis of my day to day, and that’s what goes on all day everyday, but for several different clients on a multitude of different projects. There’s no individual task that’s very difficult, but the challenge comes from the sheer volume or calls, meetings, and submissions that I handle on a daily basis.