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MFJF Academy

PA Workshop

PA Training Workshop - Get Set Ready!

Join us Sunday 5th February 2023 at Pearl Studios NYC, 500 8th Avenue from 10.45am until 3pm

Tickets are open to all for just $25

The MFJF Academy



A PA Training Workshop - Get Set Ready!


Join us Sunday 5th February 2023 at Pearl Studios NYC, 500 8th Avenue from 10.45am until 3pm

Tickets open to all for just $25

Full Address: Pearl Studios NYC, 500 8th Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018


Buy your ticket now!

PA Workshop

If you are taking your first steps towards a career in the film industry, discovering the who, what and why of feature film production is essential to your career journey.

The PA Workshop is an informal course, giving you the confidence and information you need to start your production career, with a particular focus on the role of Set PA, part of the Assistant Director department.

The first three hours are going to be a workshop going over everything from the basics of your first day on set, to how to network and make a resume.

You will then have the opportunity to meet and chat 1-1 with a host of current ADs and each other for that matter. Networking, it really isn't that scary!

We are very fortunate and grateful to these industry professionals for volunteering their time, to pass on their knowledge and possibly recruit a few PAs to their teams, so be polite, ask questions and impress!


The day will focus on Set PAs, who are more in demand than ever. The role of the Set PA can be the gateway into the industry for many aspiring filmmakers, but understanding the job, department and the career path are vital to finding success.

During this event you will learn:

  • Introduction​ to what a Set Production Assistant does

  • Introduction to Assistant Director positions

  • Different Types of Staff Production Assistant roles

  • The role of an Additional Set Production Assistant

  • What you need to know for your first day on set

  • How to read a call sheet

  • The types of paperwork needed on and off set

  • How we work during COVID-19

  • How to use/manage walkies

  • How to do a successful lock-up

  • How to gaff a crew van

  • How to make a resume for Production Assistant work

  • How to network with other PAs & ADs

Course Leaders

Nicole Payson - Assistant Director, DGA

She started her media career working as a production assistant in live events in early 2013 before switching full-time to scripted shows in the fall of 2013 beginning with Broad City Season 1. Nicole joined the Directors Guild of America in 2019 and is currently a member of DGA East 2nd AD Committee.

Nicole has worked on notable productions and garnered 5 Directors Guild of America Award nominations for her work on Succession and What the Constitution Means to Me. Notable directors she has worked with as a PA/AD include; Noah Baumbach, Barry Levinson, Marielle Heller, Chris Storer, Steven Soderbergh, Mark Mylod, Paul Schrader, Lucia Aniello, Alan Yang, Thomas Kail, Ramy Youssef, Cherien Dabis, Desiree Akhavan

Nicole is particularly proud of her work helping PAs start their film careers; she has organized three PA workshops/networking events since 2018 that have helped launch people's careers, specifically in the AD dept.

She is now Head of the MFJF Film Academy, running PA workshops and helping early-career filmmakers find work.


Forrest Viola - Assistant Director, DGA

After dropping out of college and moving to NYC in 2011, Forrest began working on small productions for Adult Swim in 2013. He attended the Made in New York training program in early 2014. Upon completion of MiNY, he began working on larger scripted union projects.

Forrest was a Production Assistant for 4 years on many television shows such as ABCs Quantico, Netflix’s The OA, MARVEL’s Defenders, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil. He also worked on movies like Jody Foster directed, Money Monster (2016) starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson (2016) starring Adam Driver.

Forrest entered the DGA in late 2017, and has since worked on several productions for Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Sony and more. Some of these include Academy Award winner, Charlie Kaufman’s, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Academy Award winner, Mark Boal’s, Echo 3, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and Extrapolations, Written and Directed by Scott Z. Burns. Forrest is working hard toward becoming a 1st AD and maybe, one day, a writer and director.


Tickets are $25 per person.

The MFJF Academy is designed to be an affordable inclusive workshop relying upon volunteers and sponsorship. Tickets are however non-refundable.

Light refreshments including pizza and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided.



Anyone can attend regardless of prior film industry experience or knowledge.

The only strict requirement we have is you must be 18 years of age or older.

This workshop is ideal for:

  • those who may never have been on set

  • career changers interested in knowing more about a potential new start in the film industry

  • those that have had experience on shorts and student films

  • or even those with several professional credits wanting to meet more industry professionals to seek advice

You do NOT need to be a member of My First Job in Film to attend the day. 

Order of the Day

- Please arrive for 10.45 am for a prompt 11 am start.

- From 11am to 2pm it will be coming thick and fast, covering all the content so you can feel 'set ready'!

- From 2pm to the finish at 3pm it will be your chance to mingle, chat, ask lots of questions and enjoy yourselves. Just make sure you snag an industry professional and get all the answers you need - that's what they are there for!


Is this a practical course?

The aim of the day is to provide information and debunk any preconceptions you may have about working in the film industry. Ultimately, if you have questions about getting into film and TV drama, this is an opportunity to find out what is available to you; from the roles on offer to the first steps of getting your foot on the ladder.

What do I need to bring with me?

Just a notebook and pen to take notes. A bottle of water would be sensible. Also think beforehand about the questions you would like answered, write them down so you don't forget them!

Is lunch provided?

We will be providing some basic snacks such as pizza and non-alcohol drinks. We recommend you bring a bottle of water.

Is there parking at Pearl Studios?

Unfortunately, there is no parking. It's midtown Manhattan so we recommend the subway. The nearest subway is 34 St-Penn Station.

What do I come away with?

Our hope is you come away with renewed confidence in establishing your film career, in particular, the basics of what to do as a Set PA and the career paths open to you.  



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