As an office PA, your day may be different than that of the Film PA. You show up at the Production Offices at 6:30 AM and are home by 8:30 PM. Your day consists of getting coffee, running errands and typing reports.
You may work exclusively for the accounting department or you may be an all around PA working for everybody who needs your help. If you’re not out getting lunch or people’s laundry, then you will be working on office matters. The good thing is that you will hear executives and producers and writers working through day-to-day production matters.
You will be exposed to how things operate behind the scenes, how deals are made and shows get produced.
This is invaluable information if you want to be power lunching with Aaron Spelling or Michael Eisner someday in the future. And why not? Somebody has to.
Talk about the office. An amazing place most people don’t think of…but that is where the action happens…not just on the set. This is where it begins to come together. Where meetings are held. The set design and artists have their offices as well as props, wardrobe, locations and transportation. Accounting keeps track of money along with the unit manager. This is where people call to get through to someone on the set. This is your entre into production and other support services.
Most Everyone passes through the office.
Dailies arrive here from the set to be shipped to the processing labs. This is where all the cameras and set equipment are ordered and guided thorough. Casting and extra casting can happen here.
In some ways you have the opportunity to move up the ladder more quickly than the set PA.
It’s a much more intimate surroundings and therefore you get to meet people quicker. And sometimes it’s easier to make a lasting impression. The pace in some ways is just as quick, but in some ways it’s a less stressed situation.
BUT, because of it being a more intimate setting, if you’re not good at what you do you possibly will be noticed a lot quicker. A lot quicker. And there’s no where to hide.
You will also get to see the Director, the First, Wardrobe, DP (director of photography), Special Effects… on and on. A lot of them show up at the office for meetings and briefings.
One of the down sides though is that most office jobs are NOT UNION JOBS.
That means the money you make is based on what you produce without the safety net of the powerful Unions. That means you can move quicker up the ladder, but also that if you’re not proficient at what you do, you could be out the door without any Union help or recourse.
That also means as the months and years pass, you don’t have the benefits such as health insurance included as part of your job. That’s something to think about.
So there you have it. A simplified view of what a PA is, what their responsibilities are, how to get a job as a PA and how you move up the ladder in the TV and Film Industry. This is only a brief overview of the job., but should be enough to be a good jumping off place for you to Jump Right In.
Welcome to the world of Hollywood, TV and Film.