"Made in NY" PA of the Month

Willie Leon

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.

Willie Leon December 1, 2009 - The unexpected loss of a parent is a difficult situation for anyone to come to terms with, and for Wille Leon, it took the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program to help him rebuild his life and start over again.

Leon’s mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. She had suffered from a brain aneurysm that had developed into a blood clot, which ultimately caused her to have a stroke. The experience sent Leon into a foggy existence of confusion, an existence he was fortunately able to break free of with help from the PA Training Program.

“I became a different person,” said the cycle 13 graduate. Before enrolling in the four-week-intensive program that trains young New Yorkers for entry level jobs in the film industry, Leon lacked motivation and ambition in his life “I had no goals for myself,” he remembered. He was in a regressive state until his uncle forwarded him an email about the program. It took him a year to finally make the decision to apply.

Through enrolling in the program, Leon was not only able to gain knowledge about the production industry, but also a clearer insight into his own life and aspirations. Learning about productions and dealing with different types of people and situations enabled Leon to achieve both professional and personal growth. “I didn’t take life seriously before… but now I see the opportunities in life,” said Leon, who’s twenty-three.

Living in Corona, Queens, Leon is always busy, sometimes working six days a week. Among the productions he’s worked on are the feature film Morning Glory, where he was hired as a staff PA, and various television commercials. Currently he is working as a staff PA on the production team for the medical drama “Mercy.”

For Leon, one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is not the perks or the pay but being able to show his family and program coordinators the success he has achieved. Leon is very appreciative of the support he has received and works hard not to disappoint them. “I want to show them that their effort is not is vain.”

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


2014
Jermaine Cameron
Tanesha Hartfield
Gabriel McCabe
Angela Persico
Erica Solano
Denzil Thomas


2013
Julian Montoya
Jasmine Blackmon
Eric Perez
Joëlle Dussek
Caroline Ibarra
Stan Leung
Jessica Mayfield
Rahsaan Bennett
Lance Darrell
Adrian Moron
Maya Elena Thomas
Diana Klein


2012
Sorin Pitu
Klarissa Jackson
Estelle Francois
Meaghan "Lyric" Perez
Orla Manning
Lee Walker
Chantelle "Telly" Geathers
Jevonne Bowman
Bryant Donohue


2011
Darryl Prevost
Terry Perry
Tashia Valverde
James Adames
Anna Wong
Madeline Kossman
Rodney Byerson
Edgar Velez


2010
Justin Wong
Erick Charles
Teena Marie Delerme-Lugo
Key Soto
Antonio Green
Paulo Marquez
Jennifer Santos
Martin Peterson
Patrick Raphael
Will Mahr
Heyward Thomas


2009
Willie Leon
Shannon Olivaria
Dorothy Hall
Deshawne Jackson
Katiana Noel
Mike Represa
Chastity Thomas
Yancy Rodriguez
Alexander Etseyatse


2008
Nicalena Iovino
Jay Scala
Brian Hightower
Jonathan Wu
Alma Bruderman
Coleridge (Ahsaan) Mitchell
Nelson Quinones
Paul Hernandez
Crystal Jackson


2007
Tsahai Wilson
JC Mendoza
Myo Campbell
Gabrielle Rivera
Yves Wilson