"Made in NY" PA of the Month

James Adames

Each month we showcase an individual who participated in the "Made in NY" PA Training Program. Click here for information on the free, month-long program developed in conjunction with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and designed to create job opportunities for New Yorkers, connect New Yorkers with employers in the industry, and educate production assistants on how to work collaboratively with the communities in which they shoot.

James Adames June 1, 2011 - James Adames had to go through a lot before he was able to get where he is today. Growing up in Washington Heights, he was surrounded by negativity and a drug-infested environment. “It was hard to express my creative side,” he said. “I didn’t make it to college. I have two kids. I got in trouble with the law. I did some time. I was guilty by association because of the group of friends I hung out with.”

After getting out of prison early because of good behavior after serving only two months, Adames found himself at a loss. “I didn’t know where my life was headed,” he said. A fortuitous meeting with Mara Prater, the associate program manager for the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program, started him off on the right track. “It was heaven sent when I met Mara.”

After an intensive interview process, Adames joined Cycle 20 and became a certified “Made in NY” PA in October 2010. He was determined to take full advantage of the opportunity he was given, learning the skills to become a PA on films and TV shows. “I wanted to learn everything,” he said. “The program has changed my whole life and perspective.”

His first job after finishing the program was interning on the independent film Fugly. “No words can express how I felt [when I got on set],” he said. Wanting to prove his dedication, he asked if he could come in early and stay until the production wrapped for the day. The production manager was so impressed with Adames’ initiative that he kept him on for the rest of the shoot and continues to recommend him for other jobs.

Adames always makes sure to remember the important tips he picked up during training, like sending follow-up thank you emails to the crew and arriving on set a half hour before his call time. More recently, while working on his latest project as a unit truck PA, he heard that the director suddenly needed someone who knew how to apply for film permits. Adames remembered a visit to the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting during his “Made in NY” PA training where they learned about the permit application process. Through his quick thinking, he volunteered and went from being the unit truck PA to working on locations for the project.

As he continues to test out different areas of production, Adames hopes to one day become an assistant director and join the DGA. “My long term goal is to be a producer,” he added.

In the meantime, he’s happy to keep climbing the production ladder. “I have to focus on my life and where I’m heading,” he said. “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Interested in learning more about the “Made in NY” PA Training Program? Click here.

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