NYC Vs. Los Angeles

First off, I’d like to congratulate friend-of-the-blog Elana on her newborn.  You can read all about the birth/near-death here.  Also, if you haven’t read her posts “Life of a Pseudo-Writer” and “Life of a Pseudo-Writer II,” you should.

On to PA business.  Tom writes:

I have made the switch from being a stagehand to being a Set PA for a sitcom out here in New York. Currently on our show the majority of the producers, coordinators, writers and our first AD are from LA, while the rest of the crew is from NY.

While we all get along fine, I find myself getting caught in the middle of having my first AD instruct me to do something that a PA normally handles in LA, but here in NY it is a union responsibility. For example, my other set PA is from LA and she tells me that in LA the set PA’s handle the directors chairs, but here in NY they are handled by the Prop department.

I am curious to know if you or any of your readers have heard similar stories about the difference between the P.A. experience in LA vs. NY.

First of all, it’s not “LA,” it’s Los Angeles.  “LA” is a diminutive assigned to us by poncey east coasters who don’t believe Los Angeles is a real city.  “Los Angeles” is already cut down from “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula.”  We’ve got this shortening thing down, thanks.

(For more on my feelings about New York, go ahead and take a look at one of my earliest posts.)

Okay, so, about your question.  Actually, directors’ chairs are technically handled by the props department in Los Angeles, too.  I have no idea why.  I can’t imagine a property manager complaining about a PA giving him a hand when the company is on the move, though.  I guess that’s New Yorkers for you.

The biggest difference I’ve heard between New York and Los Angeles PAs is that New Yorkers don’t drive nearly so much.  Perhaps my readers can expound on some other differences.

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13 Responses

  1. Thanks for calling people out on calling the city I love L.A.

    Los Angeles is such a beautiful name for a city. It pisses me off that everyone says L.A. You never hear people from New York or San Francisco say NYC or SF, no they proudly state the whole name of the city. Is everyone that lives here self deprecating or what?

  2. You’ve probably/maybe seen Thom Anderson’s “Los Angeles Plays Itself”? That’s a great essay film about Los Angeles and the film business. He makes more or less the same argument about saying LA that you do here. I really enjoyed the film but I kind of found that to be the least convincing part. It just seems to be a bit like senseless whining–people say NY often enough, don’t they? It’s written all over the city. The question in your post, for example, says NY.

    Anyway, someone once told me that they don’t have first team PAs in Los Angeles. Or was it background PAs that they don’t have?

  3. According to the Associated Press Stylebook, as long as you write out the full name of the city in question in the beginning of the paragraph/article/speech/etc. then you are cleared to use an established abbreviation for the city in question through out the rest of the paragraph/article/speech/etc.. The recognized and established abbreviation for Los Angeles is “L.A.” From this, I think we are safe to assume as long as you say “Los Angeles” at the beginning of your day, you are safe to say “L.A.” all the rest of your live-long day.

    But for the record, I don’t like them trifling, high-falooting yankees neither.

  4. I really liked this blog until your lecturing rant about the use of the word L.A. I can’t figure out if it’s just you trying to prove how smart you are or something else. People say L.A. everyday here, so really who cares but you. Let’s start up a posse of PA’S and rundown anyone who refers to our city as L.A. Give me a break elitist prick.

  5. Actually, “LA” refers to the state of Louisiana. The correct abbreviation for “Los Angeles” is “L.A.”.

  6. Don’t be that guy and be derisive to people for calling it LA. Come on, everyone says LA 100 times a day out here, so just stop it.

  7. I have worked in both cities, and I have found that single camera shows in New York tend to have bigger A.D. departments and more P.A.s than single camera shows in Los Angeles. In my experience, that has led to the crew being a bit territorial because everybody wants to make sure that they can lay claim to responsibilities as a means of job security.

    I have worked on multi-camera shows in New York that tend to be closer to the experience of working in Los Angeles because the staff is generally a little more streamlined. Moving chairs on a multi-camera show can be a real pain because each writer has one, and they need to be arranged according to the writers’ titles. But I have done it in New York, and the props department usually appreciated the help.

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