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How I Got Hired Onto The Lone Ranger Film.

Updated on March 20, 2017

My Lone Ranger Interview

My job interview to work on The Lone Ranger consisted of a text message from the Key Set PA.

KEY SET PA: You free to work tomorrow on Lone Ranger?
ME: Yes I am.
KEY SET PA: Ok putting you on hold.
ME: 10-4.

2 HOURS LATER

KEY SET PA: Set is on XX west exit XXX you make a right at the gas station up the dirt road to Crew Parking. 6:00AM Call.
ME: 10-4.

My very first hollywood movie

Ok so maybe Jerry Bruckheimer's movie, The Lone Ranger, wasn't the biggest success in the box office. In fact it was an outright flop. A $250,000,000 blunder that completely changed the way Disney will produce movies in the coming decades. Yet my experience could be considered one of the best of my young life. In 2012, fresh out of college, I got the opportunity of a lifetime, to work on a real Hollywood movie set. It would prove to be the coveted icebreaker in a career that is based on relationships and trust. This is my story of working on The Lone Ranger.


The Assistant Director Department or AD's are responsible for managing the set during production. Aside from the Teamsters, they are the first on set each morning and the last to leave 12 to 20 hours later.

Right Place, Right Time

The timing couldn't be better. Here I was in May 2012 fresh out of college with a degree in film and eager to break into the industry. Of course, one would immediately think, 'film degree', that was a waste of time. Maybe. Yet New Mexico's Hollywood movie boom has made such degrees a worthwhile pursuit. Yet the old staying is still very true, “You need to know someone in order to break in.” Luckily for me, I wouldn’t have to seek out that person, they would come to me.

The Lone Ranger was well underway in its production. Having set up offices at Albuquerque Studios in December of 2011, their principle photography began in late March, scheduled for 122 days in the states of New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and California. The scale of the production was as one of its crew members described 'ridiculous.' With a 500 member crew, a fleet of production trucks and the most remote filming locations possible, Lone Ranger spent in one day what most films would in a week.

Gearing up for what would be several months worth of railroad shooting, the production was desperate for extra manpower. In the interest of safety, an army of production assistants was being recruited. Since Lone Ranger was not the only film production currently underway in New Mexico, it quickly became apparent that the AD staff would have to resort to very clever and in some cases desperate measures to insure they would have the manpower they would need for the shoots. It is because of this circumstance, did I get my chance to break into the industry.

An email was sent out by the Film Program I just graduated from. The Lone Ranger was seeking PAs to work the New Mexico railroad shoot for the next couple months. They were be hired on a day-to-day basis and that the Key Set PA needed names and numbers ASAP. Excited I, sent him a text stating I was available. Four days later, the following happened:

KEY SET PA: You free to work tomorrow on Lone Ranger?
ME: Yes I am.
KEY SET PA: Ok putting you on hold.
ME: 10-4.

2 hours later:

KEY SET PA: Set is on XX west exit XXX you make a right at the gas station up the dirt road to Crew Parking. 6:00AM Call.
ME: 10-4.

And with that, I was hired onto the Lone Ranger.

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 months ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! Thanks for sharing! We all have such fantasies, but never get to live them. Hope you can care some more stories!! ;-)