Sasha writes in:
Can you talk a little about the following, in regards to PAs AND Director/Producer assistants for a mid- to big- budget feature?
– Box rentals/kit fees
– Vehicle costs/mileage reimbursement
– Cell phone usage
– Meal allowance
– Overtime when working on a weekly rate
That being said, the requirements and recompense for assistants and PAs should be similar. The only kit fee or box rental you’ll get is if you’re required to bring your own computer. Mileage tends to be whatever the IRS says it is this year (although you can boost that a little bit).
Cell phones are rarely reimbursed. Some networks have very specific rules about who can be paid for their phone usage, and it’s usually not PAs. It’s not fair, but there it is. I recommend getting an unlimited plan.
Of course, as an assistant, you can use your proximity to powerful people to ask for more. Don’t ask the UPM or accountant for a cell phone reimbursement. Tell your boss about the situation when she’s near those people, and she’ll just demand reimbursement from them. Nobody says no to the director.
You can’t actually work for a weekly rate as an assistant. They tell you it’s a weekly rate, but it’s really an hourly rate calculated at 60 hours. You should always report overtime. (Well, not always always, but usually.)