View Full Version : Chance at a Production Assistant job on a movie

11-03-2004, 09:57 AM
There is currently a movie being filmed in my city, and I have a chance at being a Production Assistant (basically a bitch). Obviously, if I am offered I am in every way going to take the job.

Just wondering what the possibilities are of this leading into good, solid connections that I can later turn my scripts over to?

certified instigator
11-03-2004, 04:29 PM
The possibilities are only as good as YOU make them.

11-03-2004, 04:35 PM
I would guess slim to none.

As a PA, you'll be working with the below-the-line side of the production. You will not likely have much contact with the producer. Also, the last thing a producer or director wants on his set is a PA trying to hustle a script.

That said, it will be a good experience, and you WILL make contacts--not necessarily the kind you want.

My 2c.

11-03-2004, 06:52 PM
as someone who spent his first five years out of college working as a PA - I can say from personal experience with the utmost certainty that -

it toally depends. take the job, see what happens.

11-03-2004, 08:14 PM
It will be good experience. Just don't do anything stupid, e.g spilling coffee over equipment.:o

11-04-2004, 02:08 PM
Or moving stuff on a hot set. I've done that. :\

Queen Uhuru
11-04-2004, 09:47 PM
Make sure you hve pockets in your jeans/pants. I got hollered at by the property manager of the first film I worked as a PA because I had no pockets.

He also told me to always have a small notepad and pen and when I had "idle time" (waiting for orders), to start scribbling and pretending to look busy so the people working their asses off wouldn't turn around and see me just waiting for my next thing to do and get pissed off.

And he warned me that anytime money changes hands on a set or location there is always a written receipt signed and exchanged for the monies. He said never take money without giving a receipt and never give money back without getting a receipt. Well, you HAVE to give back money that isn't yours, but to make sure you get a receipt.

I also found out being very versatile, able to do any number of different kinds of jobs, makes the director very happy.

11-05-2004, 02:13 AM
Well, the contact who may be getting me the job is the Production Co-Ordinator, if that means anything (Acquaintance of my mother).

The last thing I would possibly do would be to hustle a script while on the job. I was thinking more along the lines of contacts I can get ahold of in the future.

11-06-2004, 10:22 AM
when you have down time make friends with the director, producer(s), and actors (esp if they're a part they could play in one of your flicks), etc.... pitch your ideas to them. any one of them might later down the road be looking for a script like what you have to offer. keep a copy of the crew/cast list with their contact numbers and addresses. but, most of all have fun! ;)

11-08-2004, 01:12 AM
Absolutely take it. My experience has been that, if you show that you're a hard worker and interested in the process, good things can happen.

Earlier this year, I saw that a local independent film, the director's second, was casting. I thought it was important for me as a writer to know the whole process, even if I don't intend to work in any capacity other than writing. I asked the director if he needed help and figured I'd end up holding things and fetching things and cleaning things. However, I also figured it would be worth it. I don't have a degree in film, don't live near enough to a university where I could get one, and I work full time. I figured this would be excellent hands-on experience and something interesting to do.

At the first production meeting, I chatted with the director and the producer and explained why I was there -- that I was a writer who wanted to learn about the process and would be happy to help however I could in exchange for learning. The director's a real nice guy, and so is the producer, and they were both open to having me sit in on meetings. I kept offering to do whatever I could. I did the best I could to be helpful, and they must have liked it. The director, who wrote the script, asked me to look at it and see if I had any suggestions. He liked my suggestions and included many. As the director got to know me and what I was willing to do and could do, I got a larger part in the efforts. Now that we're filming, I'm officially script supervisor. When one of the actors was unexpectedly unavailable for some scenes, the director asked me to do the rewrites, a real lesson in having to make script changes under time pressure. Not only that, but I've found that I'm working with some fantastic and fascinating people. I've helped out with wardrobe, spent time learning sound, talked lighting and camera work, helping with props, learning different angles and getting an idea of how the director will take off of those different angles and piece them together, seeing what he liked and didn't like from different takes ... all while having a great time. I've come home after a day of filming, and I'm exhausted, sore, hungry because I was thinking about working and ate little ... and I can't wait to do it again. I'm learning so much about what works and what doesn't, including writing. It's one thing to write what you think is a great scene, but when you watch the actor say a line over and over or talk to an actor about a character's motivation a certain point, you realize that you'd sure better understand why you included each and every word and action.

11-09-2004, 12:38 PM
Totiwos, that was a great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

A Pathetic Writer
11-09-2004, 09:12 PM
That is a good post. Dang! Nicely done! 8o