It doesn’t matter what type of movie you are making. From Hollywood, all the way up to porno, the first step towards greatness usually begins as a P.A. Yes, a great majority of filmmakers start off as production assistants — the simple and unappreciated job that can make or break an aspiring filmmaker’s reputation.
OK. I said it. I used to the word “unappreciated” to describe the role of a production assistant. But before you stand and applaud my declaration, perhaps you should read on. For, it seems, it is your average PA that tends to overlook the importance of their position — totally unaware of the damage that they could be causing to their future in the medium.
For starters, nobody wants to be a production assistant. When I was ten years old and running around with my parent’s super 8 camera, I wasn’t fantasizing about getting Richard Dreyfus a 16 oz. decaf mocha java and a copy of the Sunday paper. I wanted to create a story. I wanted to write. I wanted to direct. I wanted to be the actor on that boat shoving a harpoon up some killer shark’s ass. I’m sure you can relate to that silly dream. I’m sure you had a similar one. But the problem is just that – it was a dream. A dream that you have to work hard at in order to help make a reality.
So what is reality? Well, for starters, if you aren’t one of the few that can afford your own mini-studio and break into the industry with a dazzling debut feature, then you will have to either earn the trust of the industry or pursue alternate routes. Alternate routes usually involve casinos, credit cards, liquor, theft, or dead uncles — so let’s jump back to earning the trust of the industry.
It is best to first approach each P.A. job not as slave work, but as a job interview — or as what I like to refer to as – the ultimate temp job. It is your first impression — your chance to show those involved that you are somebody they want to work with. You want them to immediately begin associating your name with positive thoughts. This is your opportunity to showcase your strong work ethic and display a hint of your potential. And if you follow some of the following suggestions, this should not be very difficult to do.
Get the tips in part two of HOW NOT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH DANGER AS A P.A.>>>
Posted on April 9, 2003 in Features by Adam Hackbarth
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- A P.A. SURVIVAL GUIDE: HOW NOT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH DANGER
- ROAD TO REALITY
- EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOTHER WANTS TO WRITE AND DIRECT
- CRIMSON WINGS
- PETE JONES’ “DOUBTING RILEY” DIARY V (part 2)
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