One of the most important qualities in a PA is reliability. Your boss, whether an AD or production coordinator or whatever, wants to know that when she gives you a task, you will get it done.
Your job is, naturally, to do it, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Which seems simple, but shit happens, doesn’t it? Sometimes you’re stuck in traffic, and you won’t get the DVD to the producer when you said you would; or worse, the payroll to set on time.
So whenever you’re given something to do, you need to factor in “shit happens.” If you think you can get something done in five minutes, say it’ll take ten. If you think it’ll take an hour to get across town, say an hour and a half.
That way, if nothing happens, you’re a hero for exceeding expectations; if shit does, indeed, happen, you’re totally fine. The worst thing you can do is not do what you said you would.
Don’t go crazy with this, though. Someone asks you to file some paperwork, don’t tell them it’ll take all day. They’ll think you’re an idiot.
And if something really goes wrong, and even with the buffer you created, you still didn’t get your job done, the correct answer is, always, “It won’t happen again.”
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Hey, you know about Crew Call, right? It’s the podcast where I interview below-the-line crew, like DPs, editors, and production designers. We’re trying to put together season two, and we need your help. Head on over to the Kickstarter page and contribute today.