Film production assistant program emerges in NYC

August 19, 2010 3:08:42 PM PDT
New York City is a popular backdrop for movies and TV shows, with film crews always popping up around the city.Some of those workers are part of a unique training program that helps young people break into the biz. They are training to become movie production assistants.

Training volunteer Jordan Alport states, "You can't shoot without them. I mean, you can't control the city enough to make a scene work without production assistants."

The training program is collaboration between the mayor's office of film, theater and broadcasting, and a not-for-profit called Brooklyn workforce innovation. They target young New Yorkers who are unemployed or low income, but qualified.

Trainee Ashley Wiggins responds, "I'm learning a lot. Every day you learn at least five new things."

Since this production assistant training program began in 2006, those who have graduated from the program have done very well for themselves in the film industry.

Julianne Cho, associate NYC commissioner, comments, "Cumulatively, the group that has graduated from this program, over 4 million dollars in wages and they've worked on over a thousand productions in the city."

Bryant Donohue is one of two program graduates, currently working on the upcoming film, "Premium Rush".

Now production assistant, Bryant Donohue informs, "They prepared me very well. It's very informative and every bit of information I received, I've utilized in the field."

Jennifer Santos was with the film's second unit.

"The first day I got onto a movie set, I knew where everything was, I knew what I was doing, I was familiar with all of the equipment and who everybody was."

Program director Katie Finch says, "Most of the time, our graduates, the first job they work on, they are often mistaken for someone who has been working in the industry for a while."

Apparently, the graduates are very much in demand.