Cycle 34 of the "Made in NY" PA Training Program celebrate their certification. Photo courtesy of MOME.
March 6, 2014 - A festive atmosphere pervaded the room at Building 92 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as Cylce 34 prepared to become certified “Made in NY” Production Assistants. With noisemakers in hand, the 21 individuals who had just undergone five weeks of training were ready to embark on careers in the film and television production industry. The new “Made in NY” PAs were joined at the ceremony on February 21 by their family and friends as well as staffers from Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
“It’s such a privilege to have everyone with us,” said Anna Novick, the program director, adding how much the support of loved ones means to the PAs. “High fives to everyone!” Novick went on to describe how many of the PAs, came from NY Drives, another program offered by BWI that helps New Yorkers get their driver’s licenses.
“This class had a lot of challenges – snow, floods, ice,” she noted and referenced their collective sense of humor and teamwork as key tools that have helped them along the way. “I’m incredibly proud of this group.”
“Out of 300 people who applied, the 21 of you understand how special this is,” said Mara Prater, the associate program manager. “You will make yourself stand out in your career.”
“The good will outweigh the bad,” said Venus Anderson, the program administrator, acknowledging the challenges that come with a career in production.
Training coordinator Jason “Rowdy” Rody pulled out a bag of marbles, now a familiar sight at PA graduations. Before sharing a marble with each PA, he told them that when they’re on set and dealing with snow and cold temperatures to remember their marble and all the hopes and aspirations they’ve placed inside it.
Jennifer Lenihan, director of client relations and community outreach at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, addressed the PAs and emphasized how important it is for them to interact politely with residents when they’re out in the field. “You want to be welcomed back in the neighborhood,” she said.
Before handing out the certificates, a heartfelt video produced by the PAs was played, highlighting the past few weeks of training and how grateful the PAs are for the opportunities they’ve been given.
“You guys are like a second family to me,” said Diandra Diaz.
“I moved to New York City to work in film and TV, and I thought the dream was dead,” said Forest Viola, proudly displaying his “Made in NY” certificate.
As the PAs settled back in their seats, the celebrations continued as they, echoing other graduation ceremonies, threw their newly earned “Made in NY” hats up in the air.