Should Wannabe Actors Be PAs?

Over on Facebook1, Christina asked:

Do you have a post on wannabe actors being PAs?

No. Because it’s a terrible idea. If you’re serious about acting, you’ll spend your days either attending classes or auditioning. You need a flexible schedule that allows time off  when you get a part.

This is the exact opposite of a PA job. They need you there, right now. You can’t just have the afternoon to read for some other show on the other side of town.

There’s a reason for the stereotype that all aspiring actors are waiters and/or bartenders. You’re working outside business hours generally, and if your schedule conflicts with an audition, you can trade shifts with other waiter/actors.

Act like you're in a hurry, while you're at it.
This is my argument every damn time.

If you do decide to PA anyways2, don’t tell them you’re an actor. Actors have a reputation for being lazy, unreliable, and just plain dumb.3 A lot of coordinators simply won’t hire actors. If you don’t fit this image, that’s all the more reason to not let your potential boss dismiss you for unfounded reasons.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. We are Facebook friends, right?
  2. But why would you?
  3. A stereotype reinforced by this very blog. 😉
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2 Responses

  1. I think doing PA work is a brilliant idea for an aspiring actor.
    If you’re a good worker and fun to be around, your network within the industry professionals will grow. And if they already know you’re reliable and enjoyable, and then you came in to audition for a role that you fit, it’s one more way to stand out from the rest of the herd.

    Be a shitty PA though and you can expect the opposite to happen.

  2. I was a Key PA on an indie feature and our teen lead actress was obsessed with PA’ing.

    Half way through the production, I gave her a walkie and recruited her as an intern for my PA team (whenever her scene wasn’t coming up). She did a great job and had an awesome attitude. Producers just loved it when water was asked on set and our little lead actress came on with a handful of water bottles.

    Of course she went back to her actress mode when lunch came. She hated “last man”.

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