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"Made in NY" Production Crafts Trainee Advancing in the Industry

Deshawne Jackson recently completed the “Made in NY” Production Crafts Training Program. Photo courtesy of Deshawne Jackson.
July 1, 2011 - The latest cycle of the “Made in NY” Production Crafts Training Program, focusing on film and digital loaders in the camera department, has wrapped, and one of its graduates is already advancing in his career.

Deshawne Jackson had been working as a PA on various reality shows like “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “Foodography,” following his participation in the “Made in NY” PA Training Program in 2008. Previously, he had served in the US Marines until 2005, achieving the rank of corporal.

“[Film] loading was the field I wanted,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this cycle to start up, ever since I heard about the first cohort that concentrated on the grip department.”

After completing the program, Jackson returned to his position with “Foodography” and told a producer about everything that he learned during his training. His salary then nearly doubled, and he was hired by the production as an assistant cameraman.

He described the “Made in NY” Production Crafts Training Program as intense from beginning to end, and there was a lot to learn. Participants in the program, which aims to help women, minorities and struggling New Yorkers prepare for advanced careers in film and television production, were taught technical skills associated with Film and Digital Loaders by members of Local 600 and taught production basics and job readiness skills by Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, the non-profit organization that administers the program. The trainees visited various sets including Men in Black 3 and “Sesame Street” to see film loaders working in action.

Having access to the instructors was particularly inspiring to Jackson. “These are people who have already done it and who are paving the way for us.”

For the next few months, Jackson plans to keep working and learning everything he can. He’ll be building up his resume so that he can prepare to take the test needed to enter the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 IATSE. He’s already booked for a project in July where he’ll learn how to use a new kind of camera.

“I want to climb the ladder and pay my dues,” he said. “This is where I want to be.”
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