Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tips for Beginner Production Assistants

-Whenever someone addresses you over the walkie, respond with “Copy” or “Copy That” to let them know that you heard them and understood. Some ADs get upset if their PAs don’t copy.

-Don’t talk excessively over the walkies. Make it short and to the point because other people may be waiting to use the channel.

-If you do need to have a longer talk, take it to channel 2.

-If someone gives you a task, do your best to accomplish it even if you face obstacles.

-Good things to have on you are pads of paper, pens, sharpies, multi-tool/leatherman, and gaffer tape. A smartphone is also a very good idea to have as a PA.

-Get used to standing for a long time. Film shoots are usually 12 hour days at minimum. On many shoots, PAs aren’t supposed to sit. At the very least, it looks unprofessional for PA to be sitting often, especially by set.

-Get used to doing a wide variety of tasks. The duties of a PA vary greatly depending on the type and size of production you are working on. On smaller productions, PAs often have to drive. PAs sometimes get to do tasks normally assigned to other positions. I’ve seen PAs do B camera, script supervising, assistant camera work, lighting, and many other tasks. On bigger productions, PAs are usually relegated to lockup, getting waters and coffee, or dealing with extras.

- Don’t give an opinion that isn’t asked for.

-Observe as much as possible. This is the best way to learn.

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