In a way, Andrew Taylor is following his father’s footsteps.
Taylor’s father, Bob Taylor, hosted the WBTV morning show “Top of the Day” in the 1980s. Taylor, a third generation Charlottean, also is in the TV business – behind the camera.
Taylor, 39, graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1994. He attended Montreat College on a baseball scholarship but decided to transfer to Appalachian State in his sophomore year. He graduated in 1998 with a degree in public relations and marketing.
“I loved it at App,” Taylor said. “My mom would call and ask if I was ever coming home.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
When he returned, he got a job as a production assistant at WBTV.
“It felt like home to be involved with TV,” Taylor said.
When his position did not evolve into a full-time job, Taylor went to work for an event planning company.
“I made very little money,” Taylor said.
So he sought part-time work as a production assistant at a casting agency. There were no production jobs available, but the casting agency needed actors. Taylor auditioned for a UPS commercial, and landed it. The residual checks convinced him to also pursue acting, which he did intermittently for, as he put it, “extra money and for kicks.”
Taylor said his day job switched over the years “from every possible position in the restaurant industry, from dishwasher to waiter to manager.” At age 32, he decided he was done.
“I was miserable. It was long hours and very little pay,” Taylor said.
He decided to try the entertainment industry, where he worked as a production assistant. He had worked with many of them during his part-time gigs as an actor on commercials, and the work seemed exciting and interesting. Taylor approached the production manager of a commercial shoot in which he was an extra and gave her his card. Taylor told her he wanted to be considered as a production assistant on her next shoot.
He has gone on to work as a production assistant, a location production assistant and a location scout and manager.
“I still work really long hours for not a lot of pay,” he said. “But the difference is that the film business is fun and rewarding.”
As a production assistant, Taylor said his duties ran the gamut -- from picking up directors and actors at the airport to finding a barking dog that was disrupting a shoot to making sure no one entered a location.
After three years, Taylor became a location production assistant for the HBO show “Banshee,” which filmed in Charlotte.
Taylor’s duties ranged from finding the source of a light or noise the directors didn’t like to seeking permission from neighboring houses for parking and filming.
He also worked as an assistant location manager on a feature film shot in Charlotte and for the TV show “Outcast” that was shot in Rock Hill. Taylor was responsible for getting contracts, and supervising location assistants. He also has served as location manager and as a location scout for commercials.
“The problem is that they are not being shot in North Carolina any more,” Taylor said, referring to the fact that the tax incentives for filming in this state were not renewed. “I just worked in South Carolina for six months because no one wants to film here. I am being forced to find work someplace else.”
Taylor said he hopes that will change and he will be able to continue doing what he loves in his home state.
He lives in Cotswold with his wife, Allison, 38, and two young children (William, 2 1/2 and Livi, 3 months), but spends a good bit of time away from them.
“But I love that I get to be in control of my schedule,” Taylor said. “It is hard but it is fun and interesting work. It is never the same.”
Katya Lezin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.