How To Become A Production Assistant?
Do you have a dream or desire to work in the film, television and digital production industry? Your dream and desire can be fulfilled, but one needs to understand that production companies don’t hire novices to fill a very important role in their productions. One has to literally work from the bottom and work their way up. One grows by learning and then doing. A Production Assistant is an entry level position into the industry and one must understand and come to know that a PA is a necessary crucial player behind the scenes of a film shoot and the hardest working crew member on the set. PAs are typically the first to get to the set and the last to leave the set.
If you are new to the industry and are reading this article, you are trying to get an understanding of what a PA is and what does a PA do, right?
A Production Assistant, or PA, is the entry-level position in film-making and television. PA’s work for the production, and each production has multiple departments, and generally each department has PA’s working for them. A PA’s main goal is to make sure the needs of the department the PA is working for are met. On the set of a production, no one day is the same for a PA, as responsibilities will change daily. The first day can start off by locking down a set and staying in one location guarding a door to make sure no one enters all day; to the next day, driving all over town picking up talent and office supplies. Each day is simply never the same.
Being a PA, one will work very long hours, at times 10 to 16 hour days for little pay. A PA job should be viewed as a paid internship. Getting paid to learn, one should use this opportunity to understand what part of the industry one would want to work in. For example, GOOD PAs get passed around from department to department. One day a PA can be working in wardrobe, the next day a PA can be a grip and the next day working in transportation. As a PA, one is able to get general hands on understanding of each department that will help form a professional direction. Please understand, being a PA is hard work, but it is fun and rewarding!!
Being a PA will allow networking with people in the industry, that one would have not ever have met, who will help one achieve their dream. PAs get to go to exciting places and locations. One day PAs are in the mud trying to push a stuck vehicle out of a scene, to being on top of a mountain with an amazing view while watching how the production sets up to capture that beautiful scene. PAs are important to a production and a PA’s hard work is their calling card and fuel to grow in this business.
So how does one get started as a Production Assistant? Well there are many Production Assistant Workshops, some good and some not so good. Research workshops like, Tammy’Dele Films Workshops Set Production Assistant Training and Office Production Assistant Training. Please note, attending a workshop doesn’t guarantee you a job. What a workshop offers is hands on training and working knowledge of how to effectively and correctly work on a film or television production. There are many nay-sayers, who say, “Production Assistant workshops are scams, one can learn how to be a PA on a real production.” Maybe this is true for small productions that are looking for PAs to work for free, which could be a great way to learn how to be a PA, if the people on the set take the time out to teach you. Normally on small, low to no budget projects, they will have you doing multiple tasks with no explanation and you could be learning incorrectly and be an ineffective PA on another set. Based on the major productions that come through Georgia, no major production is going to hire a novice, let alone pay a novice to work on their production while having no experience. Let me give you an example; understanding how to use a walkie-talkie and understand the terminology on a set is very crucial not just for a PA but for the entire production. Why would a $100mm budgeted film take the time to teach how to use a walkie-talkie and teach terminology? This is a major production not a school. Major productions look for qualified PAs, not a novice in, order to meet their deadlines and budget to complete their film. Does one think a major production is going to trust a novice around a $500,000 camera? Does one think a production is going to trust a novice around their star talents if never having been a Talent PA?
There are Dos and Don’ts to working on a production. Do you know the Dos and the Don’ts of working on a production? Honestly, ask yourself this question. If the answer is no, then you need to attend a Production Assistant Workshop. Not understanding the Do’s and the Don’ts will get you fired from a production. Want to learn how to be a PA, register for Tammy’Dele Films Workshop’s next Production Assistant Workshop and start your journey in fulfilling your dream of working in the film and television industry.
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