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Miles and Miles

Sorry for the late post today, but I was sent on a run the moment I walked in the door.

Runs are one of the main differences between set and office production assistants.  Set PAs stay on set all day, everyday (or longer; they’re the first to arrive and last to leave, other than teamsters).  Which means set PAs get a shit-ton of overtime, and therefore generally get paid a lot more than office PAs.

Office PAs are usually rotated in shifts so that at least one or two are in the office at all time, but no one works more than twelve hours.  One compensating factor is that office PAs can go on runs.  Runs can be fun, or they can be annoying, but in any case, they always mean extra money.

You’re supposed to get 55¢ per mile driven (although some companies pay a little less).  In theory, this is a reimbursement for wear and tear on your car, as well as gas.  But really, I’m not setting this money aside into a car fund or something.  It’s just an extra hundred, tax-free dollars on my paycheck every week.

And here’s a little open secret for you newbies: no one reports the actual mileage they drove.  You always add a mile or two.  Hell, if you’re driving to the Valley, add ten.  Neither the coordinator nor the accountant have any idea how far it is to Actor A’s house, or Executive B’s office.

The exception to this, of course, is when the company is on location and you drive to set.  The location department publishes maps, and on those maps is the exact mileage to and from the office.  Why they don’t round to the nearest five miles, I don’t know.

In any case, the producer will notice, and you will get chewed out, not to mention the fact that your mileage sheet will be under extra scrutiny for a while thereafter.

So be careful, but don’t feel guilty about giving yourself a few extra miles on that next run.

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