As a PA, you have to remember a lot of things: people’s names, directions to set, the producer’s favorite brand of liquor. It can be a bit overwhleming, especially if you don’t have an eidetic memory.
So what do you do?
There’s an Easy Solution
Get a notebook. Not a notebook computer. Not The Notebook. Just a regular, old, garden-variety reporter’s notebook.
Something small enough to fit in your pocket. You don’t want to look like the lunatic from Se7en.
It’s Better for You
It’s a simple, cheap tool everyone could use. You see, even if you think you have a great memory, it turns out, writing stuff down by hand is better for remembering things. Even though I’m sure your phone has a notebook app, putting pencil to paper somehow makes your brain work better.
There’s an added bonus to being prepared like this, too: you look prepared. Pull out your phone, and you could be taking notes, or you could be checking Facebook. It’s impossible for them to know.
Not My Idea
Full disclosure: I am 100% stealing this tip from another PA I worked with a while back. We were called into the coordinator’s office, first thing in the morning. “It’s going to be a busy day,” she said. “We’ve got a lot to do.”
And before she could list off even one item, the other PA had whipped out his notebook and pen, and began writing something down. I have no idea what he was writing down because, again, she hadn’t started telling us what was on the agenda.
The point is, he looked prepared, which is exactly what every coordinator, AD, producer, director, and anyone else on set wants to see in a PA. This holds true for executive assistants, personal assistants, and any other kind of production assistant, too.