What Is a Production Assistant?

A production assistant is the first job to get in the film industry. Production Assistants, or 'PA's, carry out anything nobody else wants to do. It is really an basic level job, this means that - You're in the proverbial mailroom, digging ditches, washing dishes, creating copies, and entering data. And so do not kid yourself, you are at the bottom, baby! Even so the beauty of the bottom is always that there's just one way to go from there: up!
Production assistants are broken into two different types: "office PAs" or "set PAs". Additional variations can be found depending on a show's arrangement or region but those are the main forms. Here is a great write-up on the difference between an office PA and a set PA.
Office PAs usually put in almost all hours within the show's production office dealing with such jobs as phones, deliveries, script copies, lunch pick-ups, along with related tasks in sychronisation with the production manager and also production coordinator. This is generally the route to take if you strive for becoming a coordinator. Additionally, they interact with departments which spend more time around the office, like art, or writers.
Set PAs work on the actual set of the production, be it on location or on a sound stage. They are accountable to the assistant director department (in the US) or the location manager (in Canada), and key set PA if one is so designated. Duties incorporate echoing (calling out) "rolls" and "cuts", locking up (making certain nothing interferes with a shot), wrangling talent and also background, facilitating communication between sections, distributing documents and radios, and related jobs as decided by the ADs. Set PAs generally do the job 12- to 16-hour days with the possibility after a shoot to work in excess of 20 hours just one day and so are regularly the "first to show up as well as the last to leave".
Duties can interchange, for instance an "office PA" working away at location if an extra hand is required, or perhaps a "set PA" working in the office on hiatus weeks whenever the physical production is closed.
Just like all basic level positions, the item to become a P.A. is to work yourself out of the job simply by making your self very valuable to be kept in the entry level position. Being a P.A. is a weird test having just one question; Do you want to become the greatest P.A. you can, even though you realize that you won't be a P.A. for too long? The reasoning guiding this really is that the people above you will have paid their dues and established their enthusiasm, (privately, not just to others) so they require that you do the very same.
The other side of the coin is that a great P.A. is incredibly precious because there's nobody else for the job. As a result, be proud of every one of the minor disheartening jobs you'll need to carry out. Go ahead and take task very seriously. Always be honored and content to get coffee, and don't forget who prefers three sugars. If you're an outstanding P.A., you will definitely get elevated quickly, and the coffee will come to you.

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