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The Company Car

Carl responded to Friday’s post:

Fine for commuting if the PA wants, but if I were the UPM or Producer of the show, there would be a rule that a motorcycle could not be used for company runs at any time. The high incidence of motorcycle accidents, you point out, puts the company at significant insurance risk.

Felicia replied:

Carl – Don’t PAs have to use their own vehicle for company runs? Is it common for the production company to have a designated car for runs and stuff, or are you suggesting that motorcycle commuters also have a car handy?

Since this is my blog, I’ll step in and clear things up. The UPM or producer probably aren’t involved in directly hiring the PAs. However, as Carl said, he may set a policy that no runs are to be made on a motorcycle. This includes not just office PAs, but set dressing and costume buyers, and maybe even location scouting.

When the coordinator is interviewing PAs, she’ll most likely ask what kind of vehicle you have. If you say you only have a motorcycle, you’ve just disqualified yourself from Carl’s show.

To answer Felicia’s question, first of all, you don’t work for a production company. You work for the show. This is an important distinction that will save you a bunch of embarrassment later on.

Most shows have trucks and trailers for the transpo department. (If your production doesn’t at least have a camera truck, you’re working on a very small show.) But those are for the teamsters to drive, not the PAs.

Every once in a while, a production will rent a vehicle specifically for the office PAs, but it’s extremely rare. I think I’ve seen it on one show.

You can pretty much count on using your own vehicle for runs. Unless it’s a motorcycle, in which case, you can count on looking for a different job.

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5 Responses

  1. While I think the distinction of working for the “show” may be useful for understanding the structure of business, from a legal and insurance perspective, workers work for a company entity. That entity is ultimately responsible for insurance, OSHA (safety violations) and labor claims.

    1. That’s all true, but I’m mostly referring to the day-to-day life of the crew. A lot of the inexperienced people who come to this site believe they’ll be reporting to the production company offices every day, as opposed to the production office.

      1. I’m replying because, I’m either getting into semantics or I didn’t know that I didn’t work for a Production Company.

        Most networks open up specific subsidiary companies for each show. So, someone isn’t wrong for saying they are heading to the office of the production company, UncreativeName LLC. Or on a smaller indie level, that UncreativeName LLC. could be the parent company. But Mom, Dad, and your friends don’t know or care about that company, but they do know what Game of Thrones is so you tell them that instead (oh god, I wish).

        Actually, my employer ends up being the payroll company that the production company hires, like Entertainment Partners. But you don’t tell anyone you work for EP either, so you tell them the show name.

        I don’t think I would look at a crew member strange for referring to the company and the office as the same place, as long as they aren’t trying to say they are going to CBS’s office to work on the show Elementary cause that’s not where Elementary is shot (which is what I know you were getting at).

        1. Yes, this is exactly correct. Sorry if I was unclear.

          as long as they aren’t trying to say they are going to CBS’s office to work on the show Elementary cause that’s not where Elementary is shot (which is what I know you were getting at).

          This is what many newbs think when they write in, which is the misconception I was trying to dispel.

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