There’s an old PA folktale that was passed down to me. On location in Dupont Circle, a DP finishes explaining a complicated camera set-up and then turns to a PA and says, “Two creams. Three sugars.” The PA scurries away.
About half an hour later, the PA returns and promptly hands the DP two of those micro-cups of cream and three packets of sugar. No joke.
The DP rips into the PA, while the 2nd AD turns to another PA and begins shelling out money, saying, “Please. Make this problem go away.”
The first PA – the one who returned with cream and sugar instead of a coffee with cream and sugar – was screwed from the word ‘Go,’ because he couldn’t solve a problem on his own. It’s an idiotic mistake to make, but at the very least, the PA should have covered his bases. He should’ve bought a coffee with cream and sugar and then also brought additional cream and sugar (just in case the DP wanted to be taken literally).
I’d say that this is the problem with 60% of bad PAs.
They are completely incapable of making decisions on their own. The whole point of having PAs is for them to ease the workload of the higher-ups. If a PA can’t do a simple task without checking in a million times, then they might as well not do it at all.
Today, between the hours of 6:29am and 4:30pm, The Other PA texted me twenty-one times. TWENTY-ONE TIMES. At a certain point, I wanted to say, “Look, Other PA. You’re smart. You went to a fancy liberal arts college. Figure it out.”
Next time, I’m just going to respond to one of those text messages with this: