MxCC’s PA Boot Camp Success Story

Dec 6, 2013 – Jackson Gibbon was one of the first participants in any Center for New Media program. What he calls “an unhealthy obsession with film,” along with bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in film studies led him to enroll in MxCC’s Production Assistant Boot Camp in early summer 2013. He found the program on the web – on the New England Film website – and ended up in Professor Greg White’s class with three other students on four Saturdays in June.

Jackson believes White gave him and others in the class an experience he never got in a film studies classroom – hands-on experience – as well as a look into the production business from a working director’s perspective.

“He shared lots of good info on what to expect, what filming was really like, what it meant to be on the set. It was a nice preview and also a nice warning just in case someone was confused about what a PA does.”

The class started out with basic skills; Jackson entered the class without any hands-on knowledge. White was laid-back, but structured, with an easy teaching style that met the needs of the small group.

“It was a nice change of pace to have a class that small; it allowed for a lot of checking in,” Jackson suggested. “White brought in his own experiences in the industry which made the class more personalized and made him more accessible to us.”

In addition to an introduction to the activities that make up the day in the life of a PA, White offered Jackson and his classmates career information including how to format resumes; shared information about which websites would be useful when searching for jobs in the industry; described what to say in emails to executive producers; and, for Jackson, a chance to intern on his film. This was an eye-opener for Jackson, and may have helped him distill his ambition to pursue a career in the business end of filmmaking.

“The networking was so helpful. From that movie (Gibbon’s intern experience on White’s film), I met a couple of producers that were working on marketing on another film and got to work with them.”

One classroom experience stood out for Jackson. “One day, Greg White brought in one of the DVDs of a film he worked on. We read the screenplay and then watched the specific scenes we had just read. We all had a picture in our heads of how it would be interpreted, but then we were able to see how the director interpreted it.”

Jackson Gibbon has just relocated from Connecticut to Los Angeles where he hopes to get work as a PA, gain experience on films, and leverage his degrees in marketing and his on-set experiences into a career at a studio. He is new to Los Angeles, but has already connected with the contacts he met while at MxCC.