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Why Become a Production Assistant?

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A production assistant provides support to any and all areas of production to ensure a shoot is pulled off as planned.  This may include setting up set props, managing background talent, moving equipment, changing lighting and cleaning up messes – really, whatever it takes to get the job done on time and within budget.   The role of the PA is integral to every facet of a film, interacting with a wide range of crew members. 

Because the job of the PA takes a knack for multi-tasking, if you want to pursue this career path you have to be comfortable wearing more than one hat at a time and juggling a ton of to-dos at once.  You’ll also need to be willing to run around the entire set, hopping over equipment cords and plugs if necessary, positioning props just the right way and making quick deliveries.

The best reason for becoming a production assistant is that it’s a solid starting point for landing a larger role in the crew.  Because PAs are tasked with doing almost everything and anything, they know how to do almost everything and anything.  This is a valuable asset to possess if you want to work your way up to more focused roles.  There’s also a sense of job security that comes along with this career, because every part of every project needs the assistance of a PA.

There are different types of PAs, too.  Set PAs, the position most commonly thought of when considering this path, work on making everything on set go smoothly.  Office PAs, on the other hand, are tasked with clerical work in the production office, including making and answering phones, and organizing all documentation.  Post-production PAs help the team that assembles footage after shooting, including video and audio editors.

If you crave an occupation where expectations change daily so you can avoid getting bored, this is certainly the job for you.  It will also keep your mind and body healthy (as long as you also make time for self-care) because you’re constantly on the go, having to hustle and make on the spot decisions.  This is the quickest way to learn every aspect of a project and is a great way to get your foot in the door.  It’s also a position that’s always in high demand.  You just have to position yourself well to get an in, setting up shop in an entertainment-oriented community and shooting out your resume.

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