In the world of production there are two main PA jobs that you can score.Â Of course there are others depending on how big the production is, however, the two main PA positions you will apply for are a Set PA or an Office PA.
I bet you are thinking, well a PA job is a PA job right?Â I mean what really is the difference?Â Well there are some pretty big differences between the two.
As a set PA you are mainly working on the production set.Â You are essentially the gopher that everyone comes to with their problems and needs.Â If equipment needs to be picked up they send the Set PA.Â If there is 100 gallons of fake blood that need to be cleaned up after a scene is shot guess who is grabbing the mop?Â On set you will be thrust into the production with a sink or swim mindset and trust me you better learn to swim quick.Â The good thing about being a set PA is that you get the opportunity to be apart of a lot of different aspects of the production.Â Here is where you get to learn every job and then start to figure out for yourself what you really want to do.Â If you stay a set PA you will most likely eventually end up working in the camera, lighting, or grip departments.
As an office PA you are mainly working in the production office.Â Here you work directly under the production coordinator and the production manager.Â You will also most likely get to work with the executive producers, the associate producers, the line producer and sometimes the director.Â As an office PA your tasks mainly include making copies, helping with expense reports, doing runs to and from set, and anything else anyone needs.Â The good thing about being an office PA is that you are basically a coordinator in training.Â The great thing is that you get to learn from everyone in the office which will most likely lead you to a coordinator, manager or producer position.
Which one is for you?
Well that is honestly up for you to decide.Â Normally you start as a set PA and then move up to an office PA, but like most of the positions in Hollywood there are no official work tracks so you could land you first PA job as either one.Â From experience I’d suggest trying to get both positions on different projects.Â That way you can see what you like and don’t about each position and begin to plan your official take over of Hollywood.