A Retrospective On Being a PA for the First Time - 06.18.2018

On Saturday June 16, I had my first job on a film set. I was one of the two production assistants (PA for short), for the shooting of an episodic comedy web-series starring an all black cast. As a PA, my role falls on the way bottom of the totem pole so my responsibilities ranged from setting up chairs to cleaning ants off tables. It was probably the least glamorous job I've ever done, but to my surprise, it was fulfilling. I was finally on a film set working with directors, actors, a DP (director of photography aka cinematographer), and many other people collaborating to create videos! Coming from an accounting job where I would sit down all day, this was a totally new but exciting experience. 

There are a few things that I've learned on the job as a PA:

  • Don't be afraid to ask people questions. As a PA, you have a huge opportunity to learn from the experts and build some relationships, which is crucial in this industry.
  • People on set can be pretty cool and willing to answer questions. I know that this is not always the case so I feel fortunate to have had good people around me. 
  • If they ask you to remind them what your name is, you're probably doing a fairly decent job. 
  • Have extra call sheets on you. If you have one available and you give it to someone who needs it, he or she will know that you are prepared. 
  • Be willing to get your hands dirty. As a general rule of thumb, just always have a great attitude and make sure to show it. 
  • If you want to be a DP, learn lighting.
  • The 2nd AD's job can be pretty monotonous at times too. Shoutout to Melena though for being a great one!
  • Downtime is the worst. I'd rather be doing grunt work than nothing at all. 

Overall, it was a great opportunity to be a part of a film set. Looking forward to the next one.