How to become a PA Production Assistant at 30 Rock

Interview: Marc Carusiello, Production Assistant at 30 Rock

Marc Carusiello was a Production Assistant on Seasons 5 and 6 of 30 Rock. He now lives in Los Angeles and has worked on productions like True Blood, The Dark Knight Rises, Argo, and This is 40

What was your first media job out of college and how did you get it?
My first “media” job out of college was playing bass guitar in The Matt Mackelcan Band, touring throughout the Southeast. We opened for Rick Springfield, Matt Nathanson, The BoDeans, and Sister Hazel. We also played our fair share of hot wing restaurants. One of the most important things I learned is that you should stay away from any motel with some sort of “royalty” in its name: “King’s Motel,” “Regal Inn,”  “Monarch Inn,” etc. They will, without fail, be really, really bad.  I met a lot of great people and have a lot of great memories from going town to town playing music and eating BBQ.

After that, a friend from college got me a job at Pink Sneakers Productions, a reality TV company in Apopka, Florida, close to my hometown of Orlando. My first job was transcribing raw footage of Brooke Knows Best, a spinoff of Hulk Hogan’s Hogan Knows Best. As I transcribed these tapes I could actually, physically feel my IQ dropping by the minute. But, I worked hard and made a lot of good friends there. From there I was an assistant to Tom Arnold on My Big Redneck Wedding, which was very educational. Finally, I started working in casting and development, where I would pitch shows and ideas to the executive producer. A producer from Redneck Wedding recommended me to the Late Show with David Letterman, which brought me to New York, where I met even more great people, and told myself I was really going to give this television thing a shot.

You’ve had a chance to work on a number of TV shows. Was each show different or were there similarities that made it easy to jump from show to show? 
Just like watching different shows is sort of the same but different, working on different shows is kind of the same but different. There’s always some sort of camera involved, for example.  Reality shows are made much differently than scripted ones. In reality, the crews are much smaller, you’re usually always on location, and there is more of a sense of unpredictability. With scripted shows, you are either on a big soundstage on a studio lot or at a location secured by the location department, surrounded by seven or eight different departments. Every scripted show I have worked on has been a little bit different as well; there’s a sort of unique culture to each set. For all shows when you’re starting out, you just have to be willing to do anything you’re asked, and to do it with a sense of urgency.