The Bus Story

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

There’s this PA, right?  He just fell off the turnip truck, doesn’t know anything about the Industry, but he seems to be a nice enough guy and a hard worker, so the coordinator hires him.  On his first day, his boss sends him out on a run, and the guy doesn’t come back for four hours.

When he gets back, the coordinator asks what happened.  Was there a traffic accident, an extremely localized earthquake, what?

The PA responds that the bus system in Los Angeles is slow.  At which point, he is promptly fired.

My APOC told me this happened to him once.  It probably would be a pretty funny story, if I hadn’t heard this story from just about every other coordinator and assistant coordinator I’ve ever worked for.  It seems that everybody has either hired this guy, fired this guy, or worked with him when they were a PA.

The story is unbelievable in itself (who doesn’t have a car in Los Angeles?), but I really have difficulty accepting that every coordinator has made this exact same mistake in their career, like it’s a rite of passage or something.

And that’s what I like about this business.  Production coordinating is about this least creative position on a show (next to production assistant).  But even in a position like that, the people still know how to tell a good story (usually).  More to the point, they understand, as long as the story’s entertaining, it doesn’t matter if it’s true.

That’s what Hollywood is really all about.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve been living & working in LA for almost 2 years now, car-less… Yes it can be more complicated, but as a working cinematographer/director on small projects, I find people either give me transportation, (or you fly to another city) or I’m on a 2-day shoot and then editing from home most of the time.

    I’ve PA’ed on features and I guess being an on-set PA meant runs wasn’t what they wanted me for, presence on set was… (maybe that was a choice made due to my lack of car…)

    either way, If you are smart or talented enough, you can figure it out without one… (though I guess I haven’t figured it out QUITE enough to purchase my own yet… : )

  2. I’m afraid I have been one of those awful PAs. I got in touch with a coordinator through a friend and agreed to PA on an indie feature. Unfortunately, I was only visiting LA for a few weeks and I left my car in a different state. I was late my first and only day because I got off at the wrong stop. The coordinator was pissed but the ADs didn’t seem to care. I was helpful enough that they still wanted me to continue, but I knew it would be a problem day in and day out so I didn’t return to the show. When you’re eager to get a start in the industry, you think you can take the risk and come out on top. I learned my lesson that this isn’t the case.

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