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Being a PA for the Day

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The production assistants work to prepare a set.

The production assistants work to prepare a set.

I have worked for Entertainment Creative Group for the past 2 weeks. It has been filled with new and exciting experiences, with a look into my future as a filmmaker. I've had such a productive week of learning the ins-and-outs of both setting up a set and compiling an assembly edit. But I have to say the highlight of the past 2 weeks was undoubtedly the commercial shoot for Hurt 911. I stepped on set excited for what the day was going to look like.

What is a PA?

A man assists production by holding a camera and gimbal.

A man assists production by holding a camera and gimbal.

PA stands for Production Assistant. They are responsible for numerous aspects of production. They help with different types of tasks throughout the shoot. For example, they get food for the crew, help set up or take down the equipment, and are generally an extra pair of hands for any task.

My Day

A production assistant supports a director of photography as they block extras.

A production assistant supports a director of photography as they block extras.

My call time for the shoot was at 12:30 in the afternoon. The first thing I did when I got there was steam scrubs for the shoot. The director asked our extras to dress up as either lawyers or doctors. Honestly, I've never steamed clothes in my life. But after seeing the wrinkles disappear and getting burns all over my hands, I figured I was doing something right!

Then it was lunchtime. I have to say: one of the benefits of being a PA is the free catered food. After, I was assigned to direct any wandering talent to the crafty station (talent has to eat too, of course).

Eventually, once all the extras were settled and satiated, I helped set up all the equipment. I helped get all the equipment from the van into the studio space ready to set up. All of the crew worked diligently to set up the set so it was perfect for the shoot.

Lights, Camera…

Two production assistants view a cast on a monitor behind the scenes.

Two production assistants view a cast on a monitor behind the scenes.

Once it was ready, the extras started to line up in the studio space. It was super interesting watching the shoot's director, Jordan, block and direct the talent. One of the producers, Mary, asked me to take a bunch of behind the scenes photos throughout the whole shoot.

Then later, when we were halfway through the shoot, Mary also asked me to assist our Hair & Makeup Artist. So, I helped put powder on the extras if they had shiny spots on there face. I went around set putting powder on the extras to cover up their “glisten.” I gotta say: it was kind of awkward having to put makeup on someone you don't know. But I guess I did it right because nobody asked for powder on the talent for the rest of the shoot.

It was pretty incredible to watch a commercial happen right in front of your eyes. After all the extras wrapped, the other PAs & I used magic erasers to erase every single scuff mark that was on the ground. It took forever but the marks eventually came out. Then, after we took down all the equipment and put it back into the van, everyone was wrapped.

Overall

It was a very invigorating experience that not many people get to be a part of. Thats why I'm very thankful for the opportunities ECG has afforded me. I know that shoot was only the beginning, and I'm excited for what the future has to hold!​

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