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Late Night Tours

PAs are often in the office (or on the set) before anyone else, and they’re the last ones to leave. It’s fun, because the inmates are in charge of the asylum, at least for a little while.

One of my favorite things to do at those times is to walk around the set. It’s a bit disconcerting, like being in someone’s house when they’re not there. The fact that the set is a house only accentuates that feeling.

Then you look up, and there’s no roof. Outside the windows are bare walls or green screens or fake-looking back drops. The c-stands and grip carts are just hulking shapes in the dark.

Now that I think about it, it’s so creepy, I’m not sure why I do it.

My other favorite off-hours activity is to take a surreptitious tour of the writers’ room. (Our show doesn’t have any Lost-type security. I hear they erase their boards every night, and their poor writers’ PA has to re-write the notes every morning.)

The walls are lined with dry-erase boards, and these are covered with notes. Sometimes they look like outlines, with act breaks and other things. Other times, they’re indecipherable gibberish. (What the hell does “Walk the monkey AFTER” mean?)

These are some of the best times I’ve had as a PA. I get to look at the ideas while they’re still half-formed. Later, I’ll read the script, watch the shooting, and even go down the hall to post to see the edit. There’s really no better way to learn how TV is made.

Although, “Walk the monkey AFTER” still didn’t make sense after that script came out.

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