PA vs. PA

This happens all the time with people new and/or unfamiliar with the industry: they get Production Assistant and Personal Assistant confused. PA vs. PA.

Yet there is a distinct difference between these jobs. This should not be an official barometer, but if laundry is in any way involved in your job then you’re the latter PA, the Personal Assistant.

The Personal Assistant is this guy:

Out of SPF
This assistant got a reality show!

If you’re doing stuff for a production, you’re a production assistant. If you’re doing stuff for a person, you’re a personal assistant.

A Personal Assistant is an assistant who’s just helping a singular personality, while a Production Assistant’s dedication is to anything production and the many bosses the process involves. A production office may have both Production Assistants and Personal Assistants, should someone in the Production Office have their own Assistant. That person would only report to the one person they’re assisting and no one else. The Personal Assistant has to do whatever that person wants. Anything. Tasks can include being nanny to the untrained Chihuahua, picking up the children from school, scheduling the person’s day, reading fan mail, and spying on his or her ex (hopefully I’m kidding about the last one). The upside to being a slave is that you’re always with Person X, and hopefully that person will be your bestest friend and give you everything you ever wanted in the world because they love you THIS much.

Of course that may not happen. That may never happen. You just may be lucky enough to only get yelled at twice a week instead of every day. You may be on call 24/7, woken up in the middle of the night on a Saturday with an “emergency”, which turns out to be your boss having spilled grenadine on a white dress, then left on call for a Sunday wakeup time. Your friends will all wonder why the hell you never have time to do anything fun. And what kind of a person carries three cell phones anyways? Hey, at least you get to tell your friends you’re on a first name basis with such-and-such-famous-person.

But what’s a career in Hollywood without gambling? If you can stomach it, do it. Real benefits may come out of Personal Assisting, but only for the truly, truly patient.

Even Lloyd eventually got a promotion.

If you are further interested in the subject, check out the amazing Save The Assistants Blog, a little corner to support you while you lick the wounds your boss inflicted on you.

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5 Responses

    1. The POC is the boss of the APOC, and APOC is there to help the POC with their overload.

  1. I meant to comment on this post! haha. Here is where it makes more sense. Since we are talking about abbreviations, what are POC and APOC? I see it when I think you’re talking about the production coordinator, so is it like producer of coordination or something? Where does the O come from??

    1. I believe it’s Production Office Coordinator and Associate Production Office Coordinator. On a show small enough to not have a separate office coordinator, the Production Coordinator is shortened to PC.

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