If you look around a production set, chances are every person on the crew has started his or her career as a production assistant. These roles are extremely important because they provide support for the entire crew. Job duties for Production Assistants (PAs) will vary from project to project and could include anything from heavy lifting of production equipment, keeping the set secure in public shoot locations, managing props, bringing talent to set when needed, getting releases signed, taking timecode notes, getting the crew coffee and food, and many other tasks. Being a PA is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is looking to pursue a career in the production world to get his or her feet wet on set in an exciting environment, while also getting the chance to observe how each professional in the crew does his or her job.
Of course, crews love working with experienced PAs, but they also understand that everyone has to start somewhere. At Levy Production Group, we are more than happy to welcome fresh faces to the set as long as they demonstrate professionalism and a willingness to learn. Here are five important tips for anyone looking to be PA on a production set…
Always be Early and Never Be Late
PAs are often utilized by the crew to help load in equipment, set pieces, props and wardrobe to the set. So arriving 10-15 minutes before your call time will ensure that you’re there to help the crew get started as soon as they are ready to get going. If you run into some unforeseen circumstances that are going to make you a few minutes late, do reach out to your point of contact on set and let them know.
Dress Appropriately for the Shoot
Always adhere to any dress codes given by the client, for example, business casual or show blacks. If the client doesn’t request a specific dress code, it’s appropriate to wear nice casual clothes with comfortable sneakers or shoes that you can walk or stand comfortably in for long periods of time. If you know the shoot will be outside it might be a good idea to bring a hat or jacket depending on the weather.
Always Come Prepared
Make a backpack that you bring to every shoot with all your gear. Some good things to have in your PA backpack include pens, sharpies, a notebook, a clipboard, a flashlight, a pocket knife or razor blade, sunscreen, and water bottles. It’s not always necessary to carry all these things, but if you do have something when someone on the crew is looking for it, you are guaranteed to make a good impression!
Be Proactive on Set
Sometimes crew can be so busy and distracted that they forget to ask for help. Don’t wait around for your next assignment. Ask what you can do to help. That said, if you do have long periods of downtime when you are not needed, try your best to wait patiently, stay attentive, avoid looking bored, and definitely do NOT fall asleep on set.
Take Advantage of the Opportunity to Learn
Each experience of working on set is a chance to observe a different crew of professionals in action. When appropriate, feel free to ask the crew members the names of certain pieces of gear and what they are used for, how to wrap cable, etc. However, do not mess around with production equipment you’re not supposed to be touching, and do not pull any power plugs unless you were asked to!
If you’re interested in being considered for Production Assistant work at Levy Production Group, please reach out to LPG Production Coordinator Nico via email at Nico@LevyProductionGroup.com