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.
Jessica Mayfield has been working
in production for three years. Photo courtesy of BWI.
June 3, 2013 - Jessica Mayfield now feels like she’s able to live her dream, working with actors, producers and directors that she’s admired since she was a teen. “Sometimes I wake up and think this life I chose is just a dream,” she said of her time working in the industry since becoming a “Made in NY” PA in May 2010.
A few years ago, she stumbled upon “Ugly Betty” filming at the South Street Seaport and decided to ask a PA how to get into that type of work. He told her to look up the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program, which was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.
Her friends and family thought she was courageous for taking the chance on working freelance and pursuing her passion. “My little brother who is 15 years old really looks up to me, and he can’t wait until he’s old enough to get into this field,” she said.
She remembers her experience in the program early on, questioning her trainers, thinking school had taught her everything about media. Describing her experience, she said, “I realized school hadn’t taught me what I needed to survive in this industry.” Overall she considers the training was a “great experience,” giving her the tools necessary to really thrive.
“I love the fact that production is very fast paced,” she said. “It keeps me on my toes, and there’s never a dull moment.”
Mayfield has now worked in the industry for three years and has worked on a range of projects, like reality shows, including “All American Handyman” and “Four Weddings,” as well as TV series like “Blue Bloods” and most recently on a new pilot “The Blacklist.” Additionally she has worked on feature films including Winter’s Tale and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well as productions for Al Roker Entertainment.
She’s making her way up the ladder, too. Starting as a PA, on her most recent project she served as production secretary. “I like the fact that every department depends on the production office,” she said. “It’s like we’re the center of everything.”
Despite the challenges of working with different personalities, Mayfield has grown a thick skin and learned to never take anything personally. She knows that it is all for the sake of her career, and the passion that she brings to her work helps her stay focused. She understands that “everyone has to start somewhere” and keeps that in mind as she works her way up.
Ultimately, Mayfield would love to produce her own projects and start her own business. “I would like to own a studio space where productions rent from me to use commercial space and photo shoots.”
Having learned by her experiences in the industry, her advice to future “Made in NY” PAs is simple: “Make sure you are head strong before entering the field. Don’t let the small things bother you and don’t take anything personal.”
- Michael Avila
Interested in learning more about the “Made in NY” PA Training Program? Click
Read more about previous "Made in NY" PAs of the Month here.