At the beginning of the show that I’m currently on, I wrote about the special role of the First PA – the first PA hired, the first PA to endear himself to the hearts and minds of the higher-ups.
Now, as this show wraps up, I thought it wise to talk a little about the Last PA – the PA charged to hold down the fort during the waning days of wrap. The First PA isn’t always the Last PA. It depends on the office. On this movie, I’ve held both distinctions, but on my last movie, the First PA was also the first PA to be let go (because she was evil). They justified it by keeping me, the last PA they hired, until the very end.
During wrap, the days get longer as the number of tasks per day slowly approaches zero. There is far less urgency, which means that it can take a whole day to accomplish an otherwise simple task.
The key, I find, is to keep yourself motivated. During production, the unforgiving clock motivates you. No matter what you do, it’s always moving forward. But during wrap, the clock moves a tick slower, so it’s up to you to find ways to get yourself through the day.
When I tell people all the reasons why I actually enjoy my job – it’s exciting, it’s different, it’s challenging, and it’s a movie – I soon discover that none of those things apply to wrap. The work is not exciting. (Have you ever put files into banker’s boxes?) It’s not different every day. It’s not challenging. (Again, I’ll remind you of the banker’s boxes.) And it’s not a movie. (It’s not. Wrap isn’t filmmaking. It’s record-keeping and it’s accounting and it’s boring.)
Don’t get me wrong: Wrap is easy money, and especially at this time of year and in this economy, I’m not one to turn it down. But it’s essentially a whole different job from the one I do during production. Whooooole different job.