Originally Posted by Vishal Gurung
From my experience, what a PA does depends on the size of the project- the bigger the project, the more specific are the duties assigned to the PA- the smaller the proj usuall means the PA does a whole slew of things from preparing the coffee to helping lay out cable to directing traffic etc- Pretty much whatever that doesn't involved camera work/grip work, the PA does- Hope this helps!
Greetings I just want to clarify something here. There are many types of what we call a "PA". On a union shoot a Production Assistant is either trained in Location's and/or Set Etiquette. A Location Assistant has to take traffic and safety courses and receive a completion certificate BEFORE they can work on set, the traffic course is similar to the one construction "flaggers" are required to have, the people who stand on the side of the road with a stop sign in and around construction zones. A Set P.A. is someone who would assist the A.D.'s (Assistant Director's) with the distribution of sides and script changes and what not. They also may from time to time assist in extra's wrangling when needed. Never under any circumstances would a P.A. be pulling cable or moving equipment around, that's the Grip and Electrical/Lighting department's domain. I understand on "low budget" and non-union shoots things may run differently due to economics but that doesn't mean safety and protocol shouldn't come first. A well run set is a happy set, and a happy set is a productive and creative powerhouse. I only bring this up because (a) my experience in all of this and (b) I would hate to see some hapless kid making $150 for most likely will be some crazy long day of work , told to go "stop" traffic, tired with no "real" training and have to deal with a bunch of pi**ed off commuters. Low budget doesn't mean stupid, sure you're taking a risk as a proud indie making your short, music video, docu or maybe even a feature but that doesn't negate the fact that you should plan, plan, plan everything before you go to camera. Pay or no pay, they're still your crew. Treat them like you want to be treated and most likely THEY WILL want to go that extra mile for you.