How Long Is Your Day?

Julie writes in:

Do office PAs also work 12 hour days? I was under the impression this was only for set PAs, but have heard otherwise recently, so I’d love some clarification.

You have been sadly misinformed. Office PAs certainly do work 12 hours. The late shift PA can work far longer, if the shoot goes long. The morning and middle shifts tend to be capped at twelve hours; they don’t want to pay overtime if they don’t have to.

Set PAs, on the other hand, work for as long as the company is shooting. You’re there from the moment the teamsters open up the trailers, until they lock up and roll out again. If the AD knows it’s going to be an exceptionally long day, the set PAs will be staggered, too, but generally, they’re still working more than twelve on any given day.

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7 Responses

  1. In post-production, your mileage may certainly vary. There are some days when I’m out after 9 hours because there’s literally nothing for me to do. But then again, what’s the old saying–s**t flows downstream? Sometimes we won’t get client revisions until 4 or 5 pm, which means it’s time to order dinner. Oh, and if there was a Friday shoot with a Monday edit, you bet it’s assumed that we’re working at least one day of the weekend in order to prep everything in time.

  2. I work as an art dept pa and I rarely work longer than 10 hour days. My duties are not generally tied to the shooting schedule and I’ve been lucky enough to work under designers and art directors who let me leave when there’s clearly nothing for me to do.

  3. I’ve been in production for 3+ years and my number one reason to wanting to get out of this business is the absurd time demands. Not only does it destroy personal time, you’re sapped for energy on the days you actually have off. I’m in the office on a network TV show at the moment. Be it office or set, there are no fun or easy days. Most of my bosses usually have to pull hours longer than me – so that destroys any desire to move up.

  4. I think “it depends” is a bit more accurate of an answer. I’ve worked a couple of Office PA gigs where they usually kept us about 8 hours – 10 at the longest, except during exceptional circumstances. But they are paying you for a full 12, so you should walk in expecting a full 12 even as an Office PA.

    1. I have seen that, but more on multicamera shows. On single cam, I’ve rarely gotten out in under ten.

  5. I’m an APOC and I’m currently working a short and have been working 14 days straight each day minimum about 13 hours. With 3 days sticking out that we hit 16 hours. Production is production, if you ever have a concern for time, you’re in the wrong industry. Set or office both pull super long hours

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