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Yeah hoss it’s a tough choice.
The production co’ gig sounds pretty good, but you’ve already got a steady gig that seems to be paying the bills which these days is uber importante! PA gigs are a good way to ‘get a foot in the door’ within the industry. Many of the people I work with regularly started as PA’s on my company projects. Questions you better be asking are; Will the PA gig last longer than my day gig? Will the PA gig cover my living expenses? What are the odds the Production Co. will pick me up as a ‘regular’ after this gig is over? I mention this because production companies are notorious for ‘flushing’ their pa’s once a project is done.
As it was suggested by yourself and another poster, keep your day gig and go to school. Don’t bother with an AS because it’s designed for getting basic college level courses out of the way and you won’t get to the course work you need until you go to a four-year institution (I know for certain as there are many college professors in my immediate family.) Either get a 4-year degree in Communications (cheaper) or one in Film & TV (tres’ expensioso) or take option ‘B’ and get certifications from a trade school or training seminars like those offered by The Sony Training Institute. STI courses are very good and you can tailor them to your needs. The courses go from two to five days so you could plan your vacation days to attend seminars. Prices are reasonable and you may have to travel to another city to attend (still cheaper than college.)
No matter what you do, you will have to augment your education/training with experience. Check with the production company and see if they have openings for part-time work and look for indy projects that have need for the skills you already possess. They probably won’t pay much (or at all) but, you’ll build your credit list. Lastly, you say you already possess some editing gear, so if you don’t already have one, pick up a no frills DV camera and start shooting and editing. There are metric tons worth of books on both subjects and becoming competent as a shooter will improve your skills as an editor.
Don’t sweat it. If you are truly serious about doing this kind of work, take small manageble steps first and you’ll be running before you know it! Good luck!