"Made in NY" Graduate of the Month: Julian Montoya
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.
December 4, 2013 - A serendipitous meeting with a “Made in NY” Production Assistant set Julian “Jay” Montoya on the path to the career he always wanted but didn’t know how to obtain. The Queens native shares his journey of joining the “Made in NY” PA Training Program.
What made you decide to pursue a career in entertainment production?
Like many before me, I always had a fascination with TV and movie production. I studied performing arts in college and worked backstage on various productions. After I filled my desire working on stage, I wanted to learn how different it was when cameras are involved.
How did you learn about the “Made in NY” Training Program?
I went to a community college, and after I graduated I wanted to pursue a BA in TV broadcasting. I came to a point in my life where I asked myself, do I really want to go to school for another two years, take out loans, or should I just try and go out and get in the game? I decided to put school on the back burner for the time being and went out to get some on-set experience. The problem was, I had no connections in the industry and didn’t even know where to start. I knew I had to start somewhere; I was desperate to get on set no matter what. So I eventually got booked as [background] on “Person of Interest.” That was my very first set I ever been on so I made sure to be extra polite and introduce myself to any crew I came across. This was in November 2011. I remember a PA was walking us to set, and I made it my business to introduce myself to him. He returned the gesture and shook my hand. At the end of the day I bluntly asked the same PA, “Dude, How did you get this job?” He replied, “‘Made in NY.’” I forgot his name, but to this day I’ve been trying to look for that PA to personally thank him, but I never ran into him on set or saw him again. If you worked on “POI” in November 2011 and are from the program, Thank you, sir!
What was your experience like during the training?
Very strict and disciplined. I personally enjoyed it because I was enjoying what I was learning. Classes are long, but my cycle was filled with pretty cool people which made the training go smoother. Shout out to cycle 26!
What projects have you worked on since graduation? What are you currently working on?
To be very honest, I haven’t stopped working since I graduated: Blood Ties, “Smash,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Blue Bloods,” Birdman, “Sesame Street,” The Amazing Spider-Man 2, “Chopped,” A Walk Among the Tombstones, the list goes on. I’m currently working on a new Adam Sandler film The Cobbler.
How has your life changed since the program?
I like the fact that I can say I don’t just have a job; I have a career. I would say I’m more disciplined and responsible than before. I’m more career-orientated and more focused on my work life then my social life. Although somehow I still maintain both, I put my career first.
What do you family and friends think about your new career?
They are very supportive and tell me they’re proud of me all the time. They like that I’m doing something positive with my life, and the fact that they knew I always wanted to get in the business when I was kid makes it that much sweeter knowing I’m doing it now as an adult.
Describe your experience of the industry thus far. What is your favorite part of working in production?
I love that every single day is different from the last. Not to mention I like the fact that I’m interacting with people I don’t think I would see in my regular life and establishing connections that take me on to the next gig. I’ve been very fortunate to be working non-stop and meeting amazing people that have been in the game for a long time. It’s exhilarating to me that I’m part of a new generation working in this industry.
What are your career goals, both short- and long-term?
I managed to complete one of my goals and stop PAing. I mostly work in the locations and camera department. Right now I’m torn between the two but having fun making a living working in them. The idea is to eventually join a union. Locations can lead to being a producer, thus joining the PGA. The camera department also has Local 600. I’m still young so I’m experimenting with both.
What’s your advice for other “Made in NY” PAs or people who might be interested in the program?
If this is you dream, go for it. There is no half trying or just doing it for a check. You have to be 100 percent committed. Relationships will be lost, friends will disappear and family will not understand at first. But the end result justifies the means. Take what you learn from the program and apply it on the field. When people ask me how do you get on the next gig, I go by this motto: “Who you know gets you the job. What you know keeps you the job.”
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.