Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: Marissa Rascon negotiates a raise and a new title!
“I went to school for TV/Film Production, and after a lot of hard work, I landed a job as a production assistant (the starting position for anyone in the industry). I worked as a PA for about four years, until I was offered a job as a script supervisor. Since I'm only a little over a year into my new title, a lot of line producers feel they can give me a PA job title, yet still demand that I do script supervisor work, since I haven't been doing it long.
That is, until recently. I was offered a gig, and like every other show, I have to talk rate and title with the line producer. He asked what I thought was fair. I was shaking inside, because I wanted to be humble, but I knew how much a male co-worker made doing the same job. I took a deep breath, stood up straight, looked him in the eye, and told him what I wanted with confidence. He looked at me and said, 'I never do this, but we will give you all of that.'
Honestly, I was shocked that I even stood up for myself like that, let alone actually win. It was a true #girlbossmoment for me, and I'm going to continue to stand strong and ask for equal pay.”
Three pieces of advice for girls looking to break into TV and film:
I’m not rich. And I don’t claim to have my life together, but I do have a lot of experience, and I went from selling shoes at an outlet to building scripts for Chrissy Teigen in the matter of three years. In no particular order, this is what I’ve learned:
Have fun learning what you’re good at.
It still plays back in my head, the moment during my internship that I told my supervisor that I’m too good to be a production assistant because I have a college degree. He looked at me and said, “Well, good luck, because that’s where we all started.” I thought because I was “educated” that the world owed me a job, that for some reason I could go from 0 to 100 and have it all together. Yeah I worked REALLY hard, by being the first one to show up and the last one to leave. But it wasn’t enough. I needed to change my way of thinking.
If you have little to no experience, take the time to invest in this journey. Soak up the shitty, mundane tasks and have fun! Always be the one that takes initiative to stand out and help the staff even if that means organizing chips in the kitchen. The truth is, someone is always watching. People notice your attitude and measure the quality of your character based on your performance. If you’re a boss-ass chip organizer, you just might become the next production coordinator; if you’re a boss at steaming table cloths, you just might become an art director; if you unjam the copier every day, you just might be the next IT girl. There’s always a lesson or skill to be learned during the grind. Don’t take it for granted; the only way to get to the rooftop party is to start at ground level.
Have a trade and create a home base where people can view your work.
Let me tell you right now, 90% of the jobs in the field are filled by word of mouth, occasional Facebook posts or union rosters. People hire who they know, who they like, and who they trust. There is no secret place where you can go to apply for jobs. Executive producers are generally not surfing the internet and going through resumes; they’re asking people for recommendations. So go and network. The key to networking is conversation, confidence and clarity.
There should be a clear understanding of your craft and agenda. The purpose of networking is being unforgettable, so make sure once you’ve honed in on your craft (art direction, editing, writing, producing, directing) that people know what it is you do or want to do. Create a website with your contact information and your portfolio. This industry moves way too fast to slow down for you; you must speed up to the flow of traffic to get in. And it starts with creating your own content and connecting with people.
Be the best nerd.
Educate yourself with current trends and content. Simply put: watch TV and films, read, listen to more music. All the best producers I’ve worked knew how to do their job because they knew their market. You can only IMDB or google so much. You’re more convincing and passionate about what you actually binge watch at night after a long day at work. Knowing content helps you make better content.