There were quite a few good comments this week; in case you missed them, I thought I’d point them out.
I would be dubious if someone said they didn’t care if you could get college credit. It’s a bad sign. There may be some value in it, but walk in there knowing things could go terribly wrong in a hurry.
On an old post about the different kinds of PAs, Cassandra writes:
I have to admit, I’m beginning to love this blog. Thank you so much for this post, I’ve been hired as an Art Department Production Assistant and its nice to know what I’m heading into!
Speaking of the art department, Lee replied to Tuesday’s post about the hours PAs work:
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.
To be clear, when I say “the office,” I’m referring to the production office. Art and post also have offices, but they’re not “the” office, if you know what I mean. So, if you like the idea of working in an office setting and using your creativity, art is probably the place for you.
Alex has a different experience in the production offices he’s worked at:
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.
I’ve experienced those 8-10 hour days, but mostly on multicamera shows. I’ve really never seen that on a single camera show.
Higher up the food chain, Jacks1985 says:
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.
That’s what you can look forward to when you get promoted!
Jess added two acronyms that I forgot to mention in yesterdays post about call sheets:
FT = Fitting, TR = Travel
I mostly work in TV, and so I rarely see those. There’s not a lot of travel, and the main cast tend to have fittings on the same day they’re shooting other scenes. Still, you should definitely be aware of those acronyms, as well.
A few weeks ago, I asked if PA boot camps had ever really helped someone find a job. Well, a “past student” wrote this harsh review a few days ago:
Other posters are claiming the course was great, so say many of these posts. However, there is no evidence it will lead to work on anything paid.
I was in the studios before (Not as a PA, something lower), and I had experience on walkies all the time. The boot camp told me I didn’t do well on them and I am 100% sure it was when I put mine on. The walkies they used were NOT like the ones I used in the studio I was at several years before. So it took me a minute or so to learn how to string the damn thing through my shirt, et.
Aside from that, I made ONE mistake on the call sheet. ONE. While so many other students those 2 days kept saying “Struggling” over and over. I knew how to read call sheets as I’ve been an extra, and extras were AMAZED when I’d tell them what SWF meant and all that, and some of them were regular stand-ins who worked every day. Then again, I could not be put on a list for PA work because to them, I was bad at the walkie, either stringing it on or that ONE mess up when I did say “Struggling” one time as opposed to so many others who said it constantly.
When I called PA boot camp and asked them after a year what the problem was, they told me back in 2012 that my walkie experience was not good, I had “trouble on it”. Wow. I am now back in the studios (not as a PA mind you) but something else, and we use walkies ALL THE TIME. Yet I am not on the “List” because I didn’t know how to put “their” walkie on correctly OR made one error reading the call sheet while on the walkie. Their walkie had this big wire and I had no clue how to get it on. If that’s why I was bad with the walkie, all I can say is WOW. I even wrote down how to string the damn thing through so it would stay on. I took a lot of notes and got told I was bad at it.
Out of all the students in my class, I had experience in the studios, nobody else had much. It was my goal to take the class because someone I worked with at the studios before told me that nobody would hire me as a PA if I didn’t take that class. I took it. It was fun. I learned a lot. But that’s the feedback I got a year later after I called them and asked them if I was on a list or not. I don’t think anyone gets on that list unless they brown nose. I’m not that type. I’ve seen brown nosers get PA jobs and other stuff in LA without a resume or experience.
This kinda goes along with what I had said in my post:
The student-teacher ratio is something like a dozen to one, and some of them offer courses every single weekend. Even though most of the instructors are working ADs, there simply aren’t enough PA gigs to offer to that many students.
It sounds like they look for any excuse to not recommend you, in order to whittle those numbers down.
Basically, don’t waste your money on a bootcamp. Back the Crew Call Kickstarter, instead!