Each month we showcase an individual who participated in the "Made in NY" PA Training Program. Click
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Rahsaan Bennett has worked on numerous productions, including a Lady Gaga music video. Photo courtesy of BWI.
May 1, 2013 - Rahsaan Bennett always carried around a video camera in school, filming his friends as they went about their day. He never thought much about it, “much less getting a career out of it,” but today he’s a “Made in NY” PA, working with the likes of Lady Gaga and John Legend.
A few years ago, Bennett was majoring in entertainment management at college, but had to leave before graduating due to finances. While looking for jobs in the entertainment industry and getting discouraged, he came across the “Made in NY” PA Training Program, which was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.
Bennett remembered the rigors of the program, which prepares New Yorkers for entry-level positions in film and television, describing it “almost feeling like a film boot camp.” Early morning starts and being punctual were key parts of the training. “In the end it paid off because in film production if you're late for your call time, you will get fired with no warnings,” he said.
“Everything I've learned since day one of this program, I still use and apply it every day and on every job I work.”
Known as ‘Rocka’ on set, Bennett completed the program in the summer of 2009 and has been busy ever since. He’s worked on numerous feature films like The Other Guys as well as dozens of reality shows and commercials. His interest now lies in music videos, and he’s an aspiring music video director.
“I’ve worked on Lady Gaga's HBO documentary The Monster Ball and her biggest video ‘Born This Way,’” he said with pride. “On one of my Lady Gaga jobs, she herself was the director so I was literally assisting her. It was great to hear Lady Gaga talk to me on walkie-talkie.” He’s also had the pleasure to assist directors and work with John Legend, Nas, 50 Cent and Rick Ross to name a few.
He recently finished filming a music video in Miami where he was able to direct his own project and add it to his reel, and he’s on the verge of starting his own production team. He’s constantly learning new things on set from new equipment and techniques to new ways to film.
Bennett, who now lives in Queens, is constantly on the go and kept busy with work. “I finally feel like I'm doing something positive with my life,” he said. “It is also a positive change for the lives of my friends who may have been on wrong paths. Film has opened the door for me to start my own company and not only help myself but my friends and family to prosper.”
He’s also got the support and encouragement of his friends and family. “They stand behind me no matter what I want to do in life,” he said. “Plus, I think my mom gets a kick out of it. She gets to brag to her friends at work that her son is working with their favorite Atlanta Housewife.”
As he continues to PA and work his way up in the industry, he also has his eye on the director’s chair. “I would love to have my own production company Rockasa Film Club on a large scale where I can make blockbuster films that will top Titanic!” he said.
“Nothing comes easy in this industry; there is a lot of blood sweat and tears behind the camera,” he said. “What you see on TV is not all glitz and glamour. But it’s all worth it in the end.”
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Read more about previous "Made in NY" PAs of the Month here.