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Truck Drivin’ PA

Woody writes in:

Hi TAPA,

I’ve been cruising job boards lately and one thing I occasionally see is some production listing that, as a PA, one of my skills should be the ability to drive a 24′ cube truck. I haven’t work on the biggest of shows (or barely many moderately-sized ones) but the 24′ is pretty large and I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it.

Is that a real thing I should be expected to be able to do? Isn’t that why we have teamsters?

That’s why you have teamsters on a real, union show. But you’re unlikely to find a union driver within a thousand yards of a low-budget production. Teamsters are expensive.

So without teamsters, who’s going to drive the trucks and make runs? I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

A PA should be willing and able to drive anything she is legally allowed to, including a 24′ cube truck. If you don’t feel comfortable driving it, they’ll find someone who is. Simple as that.

It’s a harsh, uncaring business. Nobody will hire you unless you have something to offer. If driving a cube truck isn’t your thing, then maybe you can find something else you’re willing to do that others aren’t. Figure out what makes you a uniquely valuable PA and push that when applying for a gig, instead.

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3 Responses

  1. If you want to learn how to do it, consider heading out to your local Ryder or other commercial truck rental place, and just ask if anyone there would be willing to give you a two-hour lesson in box-truck driving for $50 +lunch.

    Short of that, drop $30-$60 to rent a truck for an afternoon yourself, and practice driving it around town. Bring a friend, and practice backing into spaces, parking in odd spots, etc. Those trucks are BIG if you’re used to the average $3000 sedan. But it’s something you can teach yourself to drive, and learn to be comfortable with, if you’re careful and attentive it’s a completely achievable skill. And you’ll get better at it the more you work with those trucks.

    Source: Delivered restaurant equipment for three years. Had to learn to drive giant box trucks on the fly.

  2. Just remember to fill it with fuel so you (and the lighting package) don’t get stranded. Using the right fuel helps, too. Both are true stories, unfortunately.

  3. Odds are, at least from my experience, if you find a PA listing online it will be a low budget, non-union show and the PA will be driving some type of large vehicle.
    Don’t be afraid of that though. When I started a gig a few months back that required me to drive the 3 ton grip truck to and from set everyday I had never driven one before. Obviously I didn’t tell them that. I’m actually sitting in the truck on fire watch right now.

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