More best practices! Read past posts on The Audio Engineer You Never Want To Let Go and the Editor You Never Want to Let Go.
But today, let's talk about being a PA or Production Assistant. Good PA's don't stay being a PA for very long. They start climbing the ladder pretty quickly. I've seen PA's go into Location Scouting, Propping, Directing, and Producing. Here's what I look for in a great PA:
- Arrives 15 minutes early. A dynamite PA doesn't slouch onto set with a with a cup of coffee in hand. Nope. She shows up early and is ready to get the day in motion.
- Has a printer at home. What? Why? A good PA has printed out the call sheet. Perhaps the producer or production manager has sent out pertinent shoot information like client access numbers, crew numbers or security information. Some jobs don't have a production manager. Always be prepared. If a producer has sent you information -- print it out and bring it.
- Knows where the best egg sandwiches are hiding. A good PA does a little reconnaissance about where the shoot is and what are the delicious things to eat in the neighborhood. You will be everyone's favorite if you've pre-yelped the location.
- A great PA knows a little about everything. You are not going to be quizzed and most crew members are happy to educate, but do a little studying on every job. Know what a C-stand is and how to put one up, as well as what is 29.97 referencing, what is Pro Res, what is white camera tape, know the terms tungsten and daylight. You get the idea.
- Avoids sitting. Sitting tells me you don't know what to do. Ask someone how to be helpful.
- A stellar PA is never seen engrossed in his iPhone.
- An awesome PA wears something sensible. Production work is dirty. You're often on all fours gaff taping cords to the floor, opening cases, moving stuff. But that doesn't mean sweat pants.
- A great PA asks before tweeting or facebooking out shots of the crew/set/client name.
- A terrific PA leaves the set after you do.
Another past post on PA-ness is here: All I Really Know (about Social Media) I Learned Being a Production Assistant (PA)
Photo credits: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Terri Oda