This is How You Don’t Get a Job as an Assistant on ‘Ghostbusters’


This post is by Grant Vance from No Film School

Once, not long ago, in a time before filmmakers were stalled for work from the Big C, then stalled again once more for striking against The Man and their attempt to take our jobs more permanently with Artificial Intelligence, Jason Reitman was in pre-production for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

It was early 2019. A simple time. I was a boy, desperate for work, not but a year-and-some-change in from moving to Los Angeles. Very broke. Very, very broke.

A good friend of mine was working consistently as a PA on big movies and connected me to a producer who knew some other producers who eventually got me an interview to be Jason Reitman’s personal assistant on his upcoming revamp of his Dear Ol’ Dad’s beloved Ghostbuster franchise.

This was a huge break for me. Jason Reitman? The guy that directed the soundtrack of my angsty childhood (Juno, but Thank You For Smoking is a good guess).

The interview was on the Sony lot, for crying out loud! Security let me in there! For an interview! On the Sony lot!

Well, as the headline suggests, I did not land the gig. And, now happily on a new career path, I’d like to use this outlet to help youngins like myself avoid the same mistakes.

Here is an experimental anecdote of failure. Enjoy….!

Editor’s note: I have shamefully worked up the courage to write this in alignment with the release of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire to hide behind relevancy. Viewer Discretion Advised.


An Obvious But Important Lesson To Avoid Bombing an Interview

Now, this is going to seem obvious. And, for all intents and purposes, it is. But I think it’s important to put out there none-the-less. So here it goes.

For one, I went into the interview not knowing exactly what a personal assistant to talent does. From my perspective, it was something of a glorified PA. Not that this isn’t somewhat true, but my previous experience as a below the line PA is a very different gig.

I wouldn’t be running BNC cables through the woods or working anywhere near set—I’d be scheduling, managing paperwork, getting lunches, et cetera ad nauseam (see link above).

Another (much more embarrassing lesson), keep your personal life out of it. Yes, dear reader, this seems obvious. But I had a best friends wedding I was flying back for I was a groomsman in and girl I had a crush on said maybe to being my date. And of course this conflict was right around when they needed me to start.

Don’t you see? There were stakes! Should I have earnestly mentioned the wedding conflict in an interview in hopes they would understand and still hire me when I openly told them I would more-or-less be unavailable?

Big nope.

Why Share This Embarrassing Tale? Publicly Online?

To reiterate, this is fairly basic interview etiquette.

One reason I tell this tale is to highlight how finicky an interview for any job can be. What seems obvious to a more interview savvy candidate (with their life together) may be less obvious to an anxiety prone, emotional candidate. And that’s okay! Sometimes we flop. Sometimes we fall, or whatever.

But that isn’t the end. Like Alfred says.

I did not get that job and it was totally devastating. Really sucked—and sucked even more to be able to pinpoint some precise reasons why. But, hey. What a lesson. A lesson you can sometimes only really learn through brutal, clumsy experience.

Since then my career has taken a much more successful turn in post production, and honestly? Am all the better for it. As devastating as it was, I don’t think I would have much liked or been very good as Jason Reitman’s personal assistant. But there’s always hope in this big scary industry, no matter how big and scary it can be.

So take that, Jason Reitman!

Editor’s note: Jason Reitman had nothing to do with my failure to acquire the role of his personal assistant.