An anonymous producer wrote me an email to, as she put it, “vent.” But I think the perspective offered is extremely valuable, and offers a much-needed wake up call for many production assistants.
I started out as a PA myself – both office and set. It took me about 2 years to move up. The way I did that was by having the best attitude, being willing to do extra work, come early and stay late – all the usual.
Well, now that I’ve moved up through coordinator to producer – I notice about 1 percent of PA’s are awesome. The rest are brats.
I realize the job sucks, but I am genuinely constantly surprised by the bad attitudes. Maybe it’s because I’m a young-looking producer, but most PA’s are just nasty to me. They come in after me, leave before me, never offer to do any extra work in the office.
It is just baffling. Do they never hope to move up? Do they want to be a PA forever? When I was a PA I worked 16 hour days without complaint, did a million runs…
I feel like this happens over and over with PA’s who are hired based on who they know, there’s no interview process, and most of them end up being miserable people who seem to hate their lives. You may hate me too after this email. I suppose I need to be more nurturing, ask them if they want to help out more than just the bare minimum. But if someone just has a bad attitude, it doesn’t make me feel like taking time out of my crazy busy day to help them out…
I know this isn’t a blog to help people with PA problems, but I feel like A) PA’s don’t realize they could move up if they would just put on a positive attitude, B) People do not know how to get a bad PA they are stuck with to be better and C) Why everyone isn’t as good as a PA as I was! Kidding (but not really.)
Is it really that hard to cheerfully agree to check the paper in the copier a few times a day to make sure it is always full so I never again am late to an executive meeting because the paper runs out? I try to fill it myself but the PA sits RIGHT BY THE COPIER. He literally doesn’t have to move in order to check the paper tray. I sit at the other end of the hallway. And he gives me a sullen “was it empty?” when I fill it up. No! It should never be empty! Are you kidding me?! I never would have given ANYONE that kind of attitude when I was a PA.
If this doesn’t apply to you, great! But stop and think for a second, first. Are you not the PA she describes here, or do you just not want to admit you’re that PA?