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90% of success

Script Goddess had a fun post last week about filling as an AD on a commercial. This passage in particular caught my attention:

Day 3 Exterior House. My first time directing trucks and production vehicles. As I was arriving at the location My key P.A. called in and said he’d be late. How late I asked “Oh, not more than an hour!” he says. Not more than an hour! I wonder what The Anonymous Production Assistant might say about that! But having our other PA be a no show, I was in no position to fire him.

Ah, I’m such whore for links.

Here’s what I think: that PA is darn lucky Script Goddess isn’t regularly an AD. An hour is a long time, especially at the start of the day, when you’re trying to get everything set up.

Most ADs have a stable of production assistants that they can call on at the last minute. They wouldn’t be in the position of just accepting a late PA.  They’d be on the phone with replacements in minutes.

Obviously, these may be second-stringers in the AD’s mind; otherwise, why wouldn’t she have hired them in the first place?  If you call your AD at call time, you may wind up on that second string list.

On the other hand, if you’re able to jump in at a moment’s notice, and help an AD when she needs it most, you’ll probably be the first person she calls on the next show.

Her pink clashes with despair.
Her pink clashes with despair.
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13 Responses

  1. Okay I see the key to being a success is being early. Great. I just was hired on as a PA. I was an extra at a shoot and just kept myself busy the whole day. Shoot time was 15 minutes. On set time 9 hours. Running around helping instead of standing around was 8 hours. This and that and then that again. I was having the time of my life. Then at the second shoot as an extra I asked for and got the PA position. Holy crap what does a PA do? I soon found out in a small production like this one it will probably be everything.
    College was in Agriculture but always worked in theater production for the Drama dept. I wrote and directed a 20 minute ( betamax) on the birth of a calf. That was not enough to ask for the AD position in my mind.
    SO as a semiretired Landscaper I am now at a cusp of a NEW ADVENTURE.
    I say to my employees if you can be an 1 hour late then clearly you do not care about what we do and take it as seriously as we do. The effort it would of taken you to be 15 minutes early was would of been less effort than the head trip for you and everyone else for being late… Your Fired!
    We are a team of 1 st stringers the rest stay at home please.
    Now I am a PA. What might be the hardest part is keeping my mouth shut. I have plenty of Gaffers Tape for that.
    Cape Cod
    http://goo.gl/AF0o

  2. Hey all!

    Thanks for the defense APA! Hey Nathan! I did spring for…actually begged for a Location Manager, and he was there… but at the same time the trucks were arriving the homeowner decided to have large freak out regarding the location agreement so while he tried to calm Mr. and Mrs. Suddenly I don’t want the circus at my house down, I assisted the trucks parking. There are so many stories from this job, hard to sum up in one post! And yes, APA the town was busy and all I could get my hands on were 2nd string PA’s.

    After the fact my “I’ll come in one hour late PA” sent me a nice e-mail thanking me for the job, and requesting a referral from me, or to consider him on the next job.

    Ummmm.. Yeah right!

  3. I’m sure you’re right…which is why I reined in my inner-dick. (That may not sound the way I meant it, but I’m sticking with it.)

  4. It’s funny what different people notice when they read something. The part that stood out for me was that she was stuck parking the trucks. And I was wondering why she didn’t spring for a Location Manager.

    Dear Scripty (who I’m sure will stop by)…I didn’t say anything ’cause I didn’t wanna be a dick! 😀

  5. When I first started working in production someone once said, “On time is late. You should be at set 15 minutes before your call time.”

  6. I definitely spent my past two days reading every single one of these posts. (Well not every single one… there were a couple that I just skimmed over. But that’s only like 3 or 4.)

    I hope that one of your scripts gets picked up one day, because you have a knack for writing.

    Oh… and it’s encouraging to know that not all of Hollywood is liberal. (I’m from South Carolina… that right there is something that scares me about pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.)

    I’ll keep the 90% rule in mind. It seems like it’d work for life in general.

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