The entertainment industry is a hard field to navigate, and I am excited to be a part of The Media Chronicles to assist others along the way!
Andrea Pasquettin is a freelance production coordinator located in Los Angeles. Originally from just outside Venice, Italy, Andrea came to LA to pursue a career in film production and fell in love with Hollywood. Here he shares his own experiences in working internationally and breaking into the biz.
You were originally interested in becoming an actor; is that how your interest in film production started out?
When I started training and then working as an actor, I immediately realized that I needed to have a complete understanding of what was going on around me on a set or on a stage. I wanted to know what everyone’s task was and what I could learn to make my job easier. Also I wanted to spend as much time as possible on a movie set and the easiest way to do it was to work behind the scenes. The more I worked behind the camera the more I liked it, and slowly changed my focus towards being behind the scenes.
What sort of opportunities for those interested in film are available in Venice, and Italy as a whole? What did you work on while you were there?
The Italian movie industry is very small. There are very few companies who have money to invest in movies, so most productions are funded through the government. Rome can be considered the Los Angeles of Italy where most production companies are located, and that’s where I lived for a couple of years. However, as you can imagine, given the tiny amount of movies that are shot every year, the number of people working in the industry is very small, and it’s hard to break through. Occasionally there are foreign productions that shoot in Italy and that’s how I got the chance to work on the movie The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. They shot the movie entirely in Venice, and I happened to be there and know one of the people in charge of the background actors. I worked with them throughout the shoot, but productions like that one are rare. So there are not that many opportunities, unless you know someone, even though in the past few years I’ve noticed that a few young filmmakers were able to stand out and make a name for themselves, making movies on their own rather than trying to make them within the system.
So was your move to Los Angeles completely career driven, or were you also looking for a change of scenery? What do you think of LA so far?
I’ve always been fascinated with the USA and never pictured myself settling down in Italy. I moved to pursue a career in the movie industry but I also needed a change of scenery. I didn’t always like the way Italians made movies and also the cultural and political climate in Italy was making me feel uncomfortable. I am glad I was born and raised in Italy—it’s a beautiful country—but I feel sometimes we are too attached to our glorious past and we fail to concentrate on the future, and that’s why I wanted to move to America. I have fallen in love with Los Angeles. It just clicked. There are many beautiful cities in the world, but LA feels like home. I understand why some people don’t like it, but I also know why so many love it. It has a lot to offer, especially the near perfect weather that makes life easier. LA is like a beautiful woman: there are many out there and she has her pros and cons, but once you fall in love with her, you accept all the good and the bad.
What are some of the extra challenges for you in the industry working without citizenship? What do you do to confront these extra challenges?
Working in the US is extremely hard, in almost any industry. If I were a doctor, or a computer genius, I’d have no problems. But being a young man with lots of dreams and a willingness to work hard is not enough to get a work permit around here. It has been frustrating because I have always had limitations due to my work visa. I was never able to be free to work wherever I wanted or needed. The movie industry is not always a steady gig—there are plenty of days of downtime where work is scarce. Americans have the luxury of being able to work somewhere else to supplement their income. Us foreigners have to rely on our savings or the support of ourselves. I would have never been able to survive if it wasn’t for the help and support of my parents and my older brother. I am still fighting this battle, so all I can do is keep an optimistic spirit and hope that my hard work will pay off at the end. I have encountered many people from around the world in my same situation and I have also met many Americans who