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.
May 2, 2011 -
After working for four years at a bar in the West Village, Anna Wong decided it was time for a change. Ever since she was a little girl, Wong dreamed of becoming a world-renowned screenwriter, but fears of falling short in the competitive industry prevented her from pursuing her passion. It took years of what Wong called a “mundane life of every day being the same” paired with a convincing recommendation from a coworker to get her to apply to the “Made in NY” PA Training Program, which trains diverse New Yorkers in entry-level jobs in the entertainment industry and was developed in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.
Since graduating in February 2010, Wong has worked as the associate producer on the sets of many successful reality TV shows. Wong recalled her “Made in NY” training as an eye-opening experience that consisted of long days filled with detailed lessons and hands on training. “[It was] a priceless opportunity to learn about production and build your confidence in going after your dreams,” Wong explained. “The program teaches you how to actualize your achievements.”
“I realized that behind all the great films and television shows I grew up loving were large crews of people working long, hard hours to create magic,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to be one of those people.”
After having graduated a little more than a year ago, the Lower East Side resident has already achieved great success in the production field. “Immediately after graduating, I was offered an office PA position at a small production company called Boy Wonder Productions in Brooklyn,” she explained. “For nearly a year, I learned everything I could about making reality television, and was promoted quickly to production coordinator and finally associate producer.”
Wong has helped produce over 40 episodes of the home improvement reality show “10 Grand in Your Hand” as well as working on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Season 8 All Stars.” Also included in her impressive repertoire is Showtime’s “The Real L Word: Season 2,” in which she worked as an associate producer. Currently, Wong works as an associate field producer on the reality show “Work of Art: Season 2” and continues to write her own personal films and documentary projects on the side.
Achieving her dreams, however, hasn’t been easy for Wong, who admitted to working 18 hour days, which have often left her mentally and physically exhausted. “Insecurity and doubt can sometimes creep up on you, causing you to question why you have given up 90% of your personal life—missing birthdays, weddings, anniversaries—to work very long days for months at a time,” Wong confessed. To stay strong Wong reminds herself that “success doesn’t come without complete devotion to your craft” and that she’s one of the lucky ones who actually gets to say she’s living her dream.
Wong’s dreams don’t stop there. She hopes to one day start her own production company that will help out aspiring filmmakers, who, like herself, never dreamed of being able to work in the industry. Wong’s advice for future “Made in NY” PAs: “Remember success comes with sacrifice; it doesn’t happen overnight.”
Interested in learning more about the “Made in NY” PA Training Program? Click