So I put an ad on Craigslist (and I wonder if "Craig" even owns that thing anymore or if AOL bought it by now- they buy everything that takes off) the other day stating that I'm looking to ad some new assistants. Just the usual info asking potential applicants to email over their age, availability, experience if any and interest in production photography- mainly fashion. I thought that maybe two guys at most would respond, you know, just weirdos who know nothing about cameras just looking to get around models. But boy was I wrong! That Craigslist is some powerful stuff! Within a day I had received on average 3 emails an hour from everyone from older experienced guys to 18 year olds with no experience just wanting a cool job. Some of these people were writing in from Cali and listed some pretty prestigious photographers that they had assisted for and said that they were moving to NM for better work. Say what! But what cracks me up is when you put down a job description that describes the need to be able to follow direction, and some people don't even follow the direction of sending what info I'm requesting. Some of my favorite (well, least favorite) emails included nothing more than how good of a photographer they are and a link to their photo website. That's great, if I were looking for a photographer! Others only mentioned that they had written several screen plays and I should call them to find out more. Ummm, ok. Also, I need to know their age because that tells me whether or not when the time comes to haul 400 lbs of lighting gear up to the top of a rocky hill if they are going to start describing their lower back pains and just stand there while I haul it all myself. It's a physically demanding job at times and I have to have people who can rock. Most of the applicants didn't include their age so I'm left wondering, "Are you 15 or 55?"
On the other hand, some of these folks are probably a little over-qualified for this gig. I never thought that there was such a thing, but when people are sending you resumes of years of working as an assistant and are looking for a new job that can provide for their families...well, this isn't it, man! I mean we don't do full-scale fashion shoots every day. I stay plenty busy; but it's a whole other level when you talk about some 60K a year job with benefits and vacation and everything. That's a real job! Photo assistants are usually more like interns- it's a way to learn how to do stuff that you can later use to help in your own photography. It's not to say that you can't make living at it, but I don't know who does or how many people choose it as their career. If I'm wrong then comment in and let me know- I might go apply there!
Hopefully I can come out of this with some good helpers who are more focused on having fun traveling around to locations, experiencing more than a cubicle will get them, having their expenses paid and being around a fun and professional bunch of blokes- not so much on their resume.