Hayley Mellish

2015 Film Alumna

  • Program: Film
  • Employer: NBC Universal
  • Position: Office Production Assistant

Hayley’s Story

Hayley is a 2015 Film graduate who is currently an Office Production Assistant at NBC Universal. We asked Hayley a few questions and here’s what she had to say!

What do you like most about working in Chicago’s TV Production industry?

I like having a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to go very far very quickly. It’s not easy, but you learn a lot in a short amount of time and meet a ton of people. From an office PA perspective, I love watching each episode go from an outline of a script to a finished product and getting to watch each member of the office and crew give 100% to their craft.

What advice do you have for TFC candidates interested in joining Chicago TV Productions?

Network and self-educate. You need to get used to being thrown into a room of adults you’ve never met and introducing yourself, because as a PA you will be thrown into a crew of 150 strangers and you will have to confidently navigate that. Also, when it comes time to find your next gig, being social, positive, and outgoing is key. I also recommend self-educating about whatever you want to do. There are tons of websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and podcasts about industry topics. Entry level film industry jobs don’t come with very much training, so in order to set yourself apart from the dozens of other people clamoring for work, seek out information that will prepare you and set you apart.

How did your experience at TFC help your professional development path?

TFC helped me most in the sense that it got me used to working hard under tight deadlines. It gave me all of the resources to network and get involved in film organizations outside of school. The schooling was great and very informative, but TFC was very upfront that graduation itself wouldn’t get us everything. They really encouraged us to take advantage of the school and faculty’s resources while we could.

What would you look for if you were in the position to hire new graduates from TFC?

Personality-wise, I would look for someone who is enthusiastic about learning, inquisitive, and not a complainer. Work in this industry can be physically and mentally challenging and anyone who has looked into it should know that. I would look for someone who knows this and is up for the challenge. Resume-wise, it needs to be perfect (no typos, consistent formatting, easy to skim, etc). That piece of paper is sometimes the only thing you have to represent yourself, so make it look nice.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would take more advantage of the free equipment and try to learn more about cameras. I would do more passion projects outside of schoolwork.

What piece of advice do you have for TFC candidates actively job searching?

Go to networking events, screenings, attend or volunteer at local film festivals, see who’s who on IMDB and the DGA website, and cold message industry folks on LinkedIn and email based on your research. Do not be afraid to reach out. Sooner or later you will run into the same people and they will know your face, then your name, then the next time they hear of a gig they’ll put your name into the pot. Everyone in this industry relies on word of mouth recommendations when hiring, so you must relentlessly self-promote and follow up with people in order to obtain and sustain employment.

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