She told me they filmed at [studio lot], and then said, “I’ll call you a drive on.” What does that mean? All I can think is that it’s a slang term for a new PA?
Haha, no, although that would be awesome. “You’re such a drive-on!”
This is one of those terms that I hear so much, I forget that, to a newbie, they may not make sense. “Drive-on” is short for “drive-on pass,” a permit issued by the studio to allow you to drive your car onto the lot. She’s calling a drive on for you.
Movie and TV studios tend to be fairly secure. They don’t want random members of the public just wandering around, harassing their celebrities. Someone who already works there has to give you permission to be there.
On most shows, only the office staff has the ability to call drive-ons. “Call” usually means “type into the studio’s website,” although most still allow you to call the gate security guard, if you’re in a hurry. (I heard Warner Brothers actually makes you fax drive-on requests, but that’s just crazytalk; as much as we waste paper in this industry, I can’t believe one of the biggest studios still uses paper drive-on requests.)
Assuming you get this job, you’ll be calling drive-ons, soon. Which means almost every department will be calling you on a daily basis, requesting passes for their day players, new hires, and delivery trucks. Some not-necessarily-obvious information you’ll need to get before you can call the drive-on: the person’s name3; the spelling of said name (don’t assume you know whether it’s Erin or Aaron); the gate they’ll arrive at; the stage or building (including room number) they’re going to; the time they’re arriving and the time they’re leaving.
For that last one, don’t assume the caller actually knows the exact time their guest will arrive. As a general rule of thumb, I start the pass time a half hour before the person arrives, and end it a half hour after they’re set to leave. That way, they shouldn’t run into trouble.
Some lots charge money for each drive-on (in an effort to limit the number of guests, I assume). Double-check with your boss about that, before you go crazy calling drive-ons willy-nilly.