What Makes a Good Production Assistant?
Whether you just entered the world of production or this is where you’ve been for quite some time, the role of a production assistant is likely where you started. If you’re still getting your feet wet in this role, following these tips to become a good production assistant may help you find your way to a more exciting career in the very near future. Either way, these are some of the key characteristics that you should possess to be a production assistant that is valued on the set.
A great production assistant is always prepared. Prepared for what? That depends on the day! You should be ready to hop, skip, run, jump, and do whatever it takes to help out on set. Most of the time, this means having plenty of preprinted call sheets and schedules ready at all times so that you can hand them out to those who are less prepared. Sometimes this means having a backpack of extra batteries or appropriate lenses and essentials that your crew may run low on or forget. Most of all, a great production assistant has taken the time to think ahead of all the potential problems or needs that may arise, and he or she has a solution readily waiting.
Great production assistants are responsible. Now you may be thinking, of course, they are, you have to be responsible to have any kind of real job. That’s true-but production assistants own up to the situations, problems, or tasks that they are involved in, owning up to any potential mistakes or situations that are caused by them. Taking responsibility for one’s actions will make you a great production assistant. It may get you screamed at once in a while too, but in the end, you’ll learn to do better, and you will be trusted because of your ability to take responsibility for your actions.
Great production assistants are proactive. They are prepared for everything that comes their way, and they are always thinking two steps ahead of those around them. Be active in noticing what is happening around you and take steps to prepare and provide assistance without being told. For instance, you may see that craft is running low on drinks–take the initiative to fill the coolers before the crew comes looking for drinks that aren’t available. Likewise, perhaps you notice there’s a lunch scheduled soon, take action and place the order so that it’s not late. Do whatever it takes to be proactive, sense the possibility of a problem, and find a solution beforehand.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do This
As you’re on your way to becoming a great production assistant, make sure you don’t do any of the following:
● Don’t step on any toes. Do not take on tasks that are definitely beyond your scope of work.
● Stay out of the way. If you’re continually being asked to move, you’re in the way!
● Don’t have a crap attitude. If your attitude is poor, take action towards fixing it.
● Don’t ask dumb questions. Do your homework and learn as much as you can. Ask important questions, but avoid the basics–these should be understood or learned without wasting the time of the production staff.
And, most importantly, don’t ever, ever ask for an autograph! You’re part of the crew when you work as a production assistant, so do your best to be diligent and responsive without getting in the way, and you’ll do great.