I Don’t Know Where I’m Going… Is That Okay?

L. writes:

I’ve been PA’ing on sets for a while now and it’s gotten to the point where I have PM’s or producers asking me what area I want to PA in. Does it look bad if I’m not sure and just tell them wherever they need me? Or should I have a clear idea of where I want to work?

It doesn’t look bad at all. Part of being a PA is learning what you want to do.

Here’s what I would say, in your position. “You know, I’m not actually sure. I’m still getting a feel for what departments I like, [although I’m leaning towards X, because Y]. But I’m happy to help out wherever you need me.”

In answer to that question, most PAs will say, “I want to be a writer,” or, even worse, “I’m really a director; this is just a day job.” It often sounds pretentious, especially if you’re green. Responding “I don’t know” will be a welcome break from form.

– – –

Thanks to those who responded to yesterday’s post, both in the comments and by emailing me directly.

While your desire to defend the little guy being picked on is admirable, I really am trying to make a point by not directly linking to the joblist from the individual posts. Yes, Chris, as my regular readers know, I’m well versed in hyperlinking, alt-text jokes, and footnotes.1

Not linking to the joblist directly is a minor filter for those looking for qualified assistants. It’s true, my RSS feed and mobile site don’t show the navigation bar. But if your first instinct is to ask for help, rather than taking the simple, logical step of checking the regular page, you’re not going to be much of an assistant.

You see, bosses hate it when you ask them questions. If they ask you to, say, buy a dozen roses, don’t ask where you should get them from. Just buy them. Or, find a couple of places with different prices, and show her options.

The point is, you need to think independently.

This is the knowledge I was trying to impart on young Deran. I may have sounded like a jerk doing it, but there are far bigger assholes in Hollywood than me. If a snide post in a small PA blog is the worst he gets, Deran should count himself lucky.

This T-shirt is funny, and so am I!
And by "you," I mean "me."
Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

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One Response

  1. I kind of dislike when ab0ve-the-liners ask me what I’m interested in when I’m PAing. I feel like they don’t really care and are just making small talk, so I have to find a way to show that I have aspirations of greatness while showing that I still know my place in the current hierarchy. It’s stressful.

    “I may have sounded like a jerk doing it, but there are far bigger assholes in Hollywood than me.”

    Film school was full of soft people that talk about working in the industry. They’re the ones I don’t have to worry about competing with.

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