Will I Be a PA Forever?

This week, I begin my third season as a production assistant for a TV show that’s not-quite a hit. Which is why the show is going to end and I’ll be right back where I was three years ago.

And it’s really, really frustrating.

Stop. I know what you’re going to say – “Gee, shouldn’t you just be happy you’re employed?”

Yes, that I am. I can’t tell you how lucky I am to do the job that I do. I get to hang out in a perfect 74 degree office, consume more food than I could ever imagine, and split the responsibilities of one ultra-efficient corporate administrator between two, sometimes three other me’s.

The hot dog bar on shoot nights don’t hurt either.

Honestly, the perks of the job can’t be matched, especially when you have an amazing cast, crew, and staff working alongside you to boot. Makes 12-hour days feel like a James Cameron movie marathon. Still long, but MUCH more entertaining.

My problem lies after the good times are gone. Like when the pizza-dispensing fire truck at the wrap party drives off and your coworkers have no more happy-sad tears to cry. What are you left with then? Three years of experience PA-ing so you can ultimately find another job… PAing?

Look, I understand how and why nepotism works. Hell, I’d be the first one to ring that sweet magical bell for as long as I could until I got what I wanted, or until I started experiencing hand cramps.

The thing is, it’s nobody’s fault but mine — which is the point of this near rambling vent-fest. I failed to voice my interest and pursuits soon enough (or “loud” enough) with the people I respected. It’s not that they didn’t know I wanted to move up, it’s that they didn’t know how badly I wanted to.

It never hurts any PA to get to know the people they work with, especially since everyone is probably in a higher position than you already who may ultimately guide you to more fruitful opportunities down the line. The key, when all is said and done, is to be vocal at the appropriate times, be persistent, but most importantly, be patient.

Again, I really do cherish my job, but I know now that to move forward, some changes must be made. You can’t expect to get what you want if you don’t fight for it.

God, that spicy brat can’t come soon enough!

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2 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I’ve been advised as a costume PA not to work on a tv series for too long. This is because you’re not meeting new people to learn from and who also might be able to connect you with new opportunities.

    Have you thought about seeking opportunities outside of this current TV show? Perhaps PA on films or tv shows that you do consider hits?

    Best wishes.

  2. …do we work on the same show? Haha.

    This was great…I think I’ll be a bit more vocal this season.

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