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PA job - worth it?


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#1 Ethan Lyu

Ethan Lyu
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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:20 PM

Any experienced guys, opinion would be appreciated.

If you want to become a director, do you think working as a PA is helpful? I suppose few times could be, to see the ins and outs of production and how team work works.

But we're talking about PA here, not ADs.
In Canada, where I can work legally, even becoming PA takes long.

1. PA Helper for 30 days, take training courses
2. Obtain Log Book (keeps track of work record, pay) from the Guild,
put in 150 days as PA and become a "real PA" (they call it Associate Membership but I assume it is PA since it doesn't say AD etc)

I called a Hollywood studio production shooting in Vancouver, asking for PA openings, they asked if I had a Log Book. So if I don't have one I will be PA Helper, below PA. And as I wrote above, after 180 days I am still PA!! I think 6 months of shooting experience, I can learn script supervising which is more useful.

I saw the Director's Guild requirement for US (I go to film school in LA)
and they don't require any days for PA. Maybe some safety training.

Yes, I know the fastest way to Director is to make your own film, which I am working on. But I still wanted to know.
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#2 Mark Allen

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:07 AM

Set experience is important. Do you have to go through a big program and get "official" PA days on a union shoot? No. Do you have to work every job? No... but working a variety of jobs will make you both a confident and sympathetic team leader. I been on quite a few shoots where the director obviously didn't know how sets operated at all and it did not instill confidence in anyone (including the actors).

And for goodeness sakes take acting classes. It's good for writing and directing. Don't direct unless you've studied acting (if you're directing drama).

Every working writer/director I know personally has years of acting experience - even if not professional.
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#3 Matt Lazzarini

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:40 AM

Maybe Vancouver has stringent rules, but in Toronto you don't need 'permission' so to speak to become a P.A. You just ask around and eventually someone will hire you. I've never heard of a 'P.A. Helper' position around here.
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