PAs come in many flavors: Set PA, Truck PA, Locations PA, Office PA, or just plain PA or, back in my day, the Gopher.
Best and worst job I ever held, often on the same day, when I started out in LA after leaving ASU. A job where you are able to shine, or not, with every task you are assigned, or better yet, take on because it needed doing before being assigned (as long as the policies and politics of the gig allow for self-starters).
This is a job YOU can get. Really. It is there if you want it, in some form or fashion, depending on your strengths and area of interests, today.
And thankfully, there are numerous places to find out about and get into this critical part of the Industry, at such sites as Indeed (and Entertainment Careers and Monster other sites like it that combine many jobs available) where I found this gig moments ago:
DreamWorks – Glendale, CA. Provides overall general Production Assistance to the Prod Coord, TV, Prod Sup, TV and/or Production Manager, TV and crew…
Or this job at HBO for someone with a bit more experience who is looking for an Executive Assistant reporting to Vice President, HBO Films.
And then their are websites offering places to network, discuss and complain about PA work, too, sites like Anonymous Production Assistant Blog that I would have loved to have available when I was first starting out.
And you have all this and more to get your career started.
Sites you need to be checking out now. Daily. Part of your routine.
Yes, you likely already know this and may already be doing this.
And in addition to networking (a future post to come) you have no reason NOT to use these tools, apply often for jobs of interest, and to read stories like…
CLIMBING THE HOLLYWOOD LADDER, ONE COFFEE OR SCRIPT DELIVERY AT A TIME
Just before midnight, as 25-year-old JP Erickson was getting ready to go to bed, his phone buzzed. “Are you available tomorrow at 5:30 a.m.?” The text was from the production coordinator of a low-budget movie offering a day’s work as an unpaid production assistant. First thought: Unpaid and early — still worth going?
Then he looked up the address: A 45-minute drive from my apartment. Not too far. Not close, either. But as a production assistant, commonly known as a PA, Erickson is used to late-night texts, early wake-up calls, low and occasionally no pay as well as the not-so-glamorous tasks of getting coffee and delivering scripts.
Still, PA gigs are resume builders and opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to network. He set his alarm. All right — five hours of sleep. Here we go. Armed with “walkies” — used to listen to conversations between most people on set — production assistants do the necessary but oftentimes overlooked grunt work on TV and film sets. “We’re kind of like the ghosts of the industry,” Erickson said. Production assistants, a step up from film crew interns or extras, are responsible for providing support in almost all areas of production.
The hours are long (12-hour days are the norm), the wages are low (either an hourly minimum-wage rate or daily rate that can be as little as $100, depending on the project) or sometimes nonexistent, the tasks are trivial, and there’s little job security because many PAs are hired as “day pay” freelancers. Continue reading Production Assistants – The Backbone of the Industry.