July 2, 2008 - Congratulations are in order for “Made in NY” PA Nelson Quinones. Quinones has been accepted into the DGA’s Assistant Director Training Program as a 2008 Commercial Trainee.
The New York Assistant Director Training Program is designed to provide opportunities for a limited number of individuals to become Assistant Directors of Motion Pictures. This is a two year program consisting of up to 350 days of on-the-job training combined with seminars and special assignments. A rotation system places Trainees on the sets of various features, television series and commercials shooting primarily in the New York City vicinity. There they work under the supervision of DGA members - Second Assistant Directors, First Assistant Directors and Unit Production Managers until graduation. Upon completion of the program, graduates are qualified to join the DGA (Directors Guild of America) as Second Assistant Directors. The following is a recent profile of Quinones that ran on the MOFTB website last fall:
Nelson Quinones doesn't like to limit himself to anything. A self-described Jack of All Trades, Quinones is a graduate of the "Made in NY" PA Training Program, and an enthusiastic member of New York City's entertainment production community. "I figure the sky is the limit," said Quinones. "The Program has given me the opportunity to become a student of the industry." And Nelson intends to continue studying. "I will continue to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge of the business I can.”
The “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program is a collaboration between Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI), a nonprofit organization, and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. After four weeks of training, BWI assists graduates with job placement and career advancement for two years.
Nelson found out about the program through sheer channel surfing. "I meant to watch the Mets game and I turned to New York 1. There was a segment about the program. That must have been a sign," he remembered. But upon entering the program, he realized that it "became more than a PA training program to me. I was grouped with 13 individuals who shared the same goals and aspirations as me. The biggest thing would have to be a bond that I share with my fellow classmates."
Nelson's been a part of productions ranging from commercials to film to television. He's worked on "The Tyra Banks Show," the Adam Sandler feature You Don't Mess With the Zohan and the upcoming feature On the Hook. Quinones has also "been involved in shorts featured in festivals like Sundance and Tribeca. And I have worked on reality shows such as MTV's "Making the Band 4" and Soap TV's 'Who Wants to Be a Soap Star'"
Over time Quinones realized his interests lay in commercials and that he had an aptitude for the work of an Assistant Director. BWI staff encouraged him to apply for the DGA’s program for training commercial ADs. This week Quinones will return to BWI to speak to the current class of “Made in NY” PAs about working on commercials and the road to becoming a DGA trainee.