A production assistant, also known as a PA, is a key member of a production team who provides support to the crew and helps ensure that the production runs smoothly. Being a PA is a great way to get started in film and production and find what part of production interests you. PAs get to dabble in many areas of the production process. They perform a wide range of tasks such as running errands, setting up equipment, and ensuring that everyone has what they need to carry out their job. PA is an entry level role that can propel you into your career in the film industry. Here are a few tips that will set you up for success as a PA:
1.) Be Punctual: Arrive on time, or even better, arrive early. In the fast-paced world of film production, time is of the essence, and every minute counts. A delay caused by a late arrival can cause a ripple effect throughout the entire production, potentially affecting the shooting schedule and creating additional stress for everyone involved. Therefore, it is essential to plan ahead, factor in any potential delays, and arrive at the set early to allow time for any unforeseen circumstances.
2.) Dress appropriately: Heels should probably stay in your closet on shoot days. As a PA, you’re probably going to be on your feet a lot, so it’s important you’re dressed comfortably. Closed-toed shoes are a must. On most sets, you want to dress both professionally and practically.
3.) Ask questions: If you’re given a task that leaves you scratching your head, don’t just wing it and hope for the best. Speak up and ask for clarity when needed. Plus, you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of making a mistake because you assumed you knew what to do.
4.) Be flexible: Production can be crazy. Embrace the chaos of constantly changing schedules and new challenges. Who needs a boring, predictable 9-to-5 job anyway?
5.) Be proactive: Look for ways to help out and make things run more smoothly. Offer to help with tasks that need to be done, and anticipate what might be needed next.
6.) Be Respectful: As a production assistant, it’s incredibly important to be respectful to everyone you encounter on set. This includes your fellow crew members, talent, and anyone else involved in the production process. Your reputation as a professional, respectful, and dependable crew member can go a long way in helping you land future jobs.
7.) Learn as much as you can: Starting out as a PA could be your ticket to the big leagues! Think of it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from your colleagues and observe the masters in action. And don’t be shy! Strike up a conversation during breaks and ask other crew members about their position. You never know where your shared passion for film will take you!