Reader Janice emailed this question:
I’ve been a PA for three gigs now but never on a “visiting” set, where the main production happens in, say, NYC, and small portions are filmed in, say, DC.
The PA from NYC called on Monday and said that I’d be working today through next Monday on a feature film and I sent him two texts (one around noon yesterday and the other at 1:30 a.m.) and a voicemail this morning to ask why I had not received call times/locations. Nothing. I was just wondering, what is the etiquette on this? Would it be too much to send another text to try to get an answer out of him? Or should I just resign to the fact that they might have found other PAs or don’t need more (even though he, for a fact, said that I’d be working today and I had, therefore, not scheduled anything else for this time period)?
That’s a tough situation. Besides the possibility that it turned out they didn’t need another PA, it’s usually an AD who hires the set PAs. The PA in question might have been speaking out of turn when he said you were hired.
When you say you asked “why you had not received call times/locations,” I hope you didn’t phrase it that way. I would advise a more polite choice of words: “I’m looking forward to working with you guys [again?]. What time do you need me on set?”
As for the timing, I would not be sending text messages at 1:30 in the morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances that I’m not aware of. Production works some of the longest hours of the crew, and they need their sleep.
Also, I would avoid texting at all, unless you’re already on friendly terms with the guy. Texting is much more casual (read: less professional), and much more easily ignored than a phone call.
If he called you on Monday for work on Thursday, I would definitely call Wednesday afternoon to confirm. And by “afternoon,” I mean about nine hours after their call time. Call sheets aren’t usually set until that point. If you call any earlier, you’re just asking for information they don’t have yet.
(Wow, how many times can a guy use “call” in one paragraph?)
Another call on the day of promised work is probably not out of the question. You’ll almost certainly not be working that day, but you might at least get an explanation as to what happened.
On the other hand, they may not return your call at all, because they’re even more embarassed about the whole thing than you are.