Cycle 35 gets ready to start their careers in the entertainment industry. Photo courtesy of MOME.
May 5, 2014 - Excitement and anticipation filled Building 92 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the next cycle of the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program prepared to become certified “Made in NY” PAs. Twelve young woman and three young men gathered with their friends and families to celebrate.
The graduation, which took place on April 18, was the culmination of five weeks of training that readies unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers for entry level positions on film sets and in production offices. The program, which was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, also provides two years of job placement assistance.
As part of their training, Cycle 35 heard from a variety of guest instructors, including a line producer and a location manager. From Film Biz Recycling, the PAs learned about sustainable on-sets practices, and a visit to Eastern Effects gave the PAs the opportunity to get hands-on experience with grip and electric equipment. Cycle 35 also included graduates from New York Drives, another program run by BWI that helps New Yorkers obtain driver’s licenses.
“I’m so proud of you,” program director Anna Novick told the graduates. “Your sense of humor will carry you far.”
“You’re representing all that came before you,” said training coordinator Jason “Rowdy” Rody, before bestowing a marble on each of the graduates to remind them of all the hard work that comes with the job and their hopes for the future.
Jennifer Lenihan, director of client relations and community outreach with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, emphasized the important role PAs play while interacting with the community as productions film on location. “We’re so happy to have you represent the City as ‘Made in NY’ PAs,” she said.
As the PAs took their moment in the spotlight to accept their certificates, they shared words of gratitude to the program and their instructors. “Thank you for the opportunity,” said Erica Davis.
Others like Elder Iskandarov and Natasha Kettrles spoke about how their fellow PAs had become friends and even family to them. “You’ll be living in my heart forever,” said Tatyanna Lovett.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” said Lisa Cheung. “I’m glad to have made friends, and I hope to see you on set.”
Samantha Francis said she was glad the instructors didn’t sugarcoat the realities and challenges of working in production. “Thank you for being real,” she said.
“Thank you, Cycle 35,” said Sophie Hertzberg. “You’ve changed my life.”