A Day in the Life
Production Assistant / Broadcast Assistant
The day starts with a meeting about next weeks shoot. We need to hire in extra crew, and recce the six locations. Sort hire cars, location permissions and negotiations 10:00
Get on the phone to book the hire cars. Check the crew have the schedule/call sheet for this weeks shoot - so they know what's happening and when - at least in theory!! Check that the directions to the location, from the net, agree with local knowledge - often they don't! 11:00
Take a call from security at our filming location. Their checks are going to reqire us all getting there earlier, so I check with the director and adjust the call sheet accordingly. 12:00
I then have to adjust the hire car bookings too.. 12:30
Assist the Production Manager with the recent expenses claims. We have a few queries... and it's always embarrassing having to ask the boss what particular journey a taxi receipt was for! 13:30
Finally manage to stop for lunch 14:30
Check out where the local Hospital and Police Stations are for next weeks shoot - just in case you understand... 15:30
Research and call hotels for next weeks shoot. It needs to be close to the filming location - but not in a congested area or we'll never get there on time! Not having much luck so will try again later. 17:00
Take call from the director who's on a recce in London of a few locations. He wants me to chase up the museum contacts for him - he's been delayed in traffic and they may have to stay late to meet with him. So it's left to me to sweet-talk them!! 17:30
Call from the set designer - for the Series Producer. Do I interrupt his intense discussion with the AP? I choose not to ... But nab him when he's done. 18:00
Chase the hotels one last time and fortunately can confirm all the arrangements with them. Pass the news onto the production manager and the production team. They're not interested in how many hotels I've rung etc - they just want to know the result! Hurray - the end of another day - make a list for the morning and dissappear before I get caught up in another problem!
What you do: The range of the job?
Broadcast Assistant Setting up the production by booking facilities, organising filming trips, outside broadcasts and paying suppliers for these services. Give assistance to the director/ producer by calling shots in the studio, generally assisting on location, and doing timings. The job also involves looking after contributors on location and in studios, clearing copyright and completing the post production paperwork. Sometimes called a production co-ordinator. Anne Bamber BBC TV. General A television production assistant (PA) is a vital link in the production team. PAs assist the director or producer and are involved in all stages of the production process (from pre-production through to post-production and transmission) to help ensure production runs smoothly. The role is technical, creative and administrative: PAs supervise setup and operation of production equipment, help plan programme format and research scripts, maintain production records, and hire equipment. Unlike other roles in the industry, PAs are more generalist than specialist. They are given responsibility for a wide variety of tasks, which may be both menial and complex. Typical work activities Typical work activities include some or all of the following tasks: working closely with the producer, director and production team; liaising with writers, artists' agents, members of the public, and publicity staff; co-ordinating and communicating production resources and facility arrangements in tandem with the production managers; attending and timing production rehearsals; attending and co-ordinating planning meetings; checking copyright and permission issues; ensuring royalties are paid for additional images, music or footage used; dealing with artists' payments and expenses; producing budgets, monitoring costs and controlling expenses; cueing pre-recorded material; overseeing the timing during a shoot or show; ensuring continuity, both on location and in the studio; dealing with production enquiries from members of the public; keeping accurate shot lists, especially for drama productions; typing up camera scripts and shot cards; producing timing schedules, shot lists and logs for post-production; calling shots; liaising with the camera and sound crew during studio recordings; booking artists and performers; organising the production and distribution of scripts; booking catering, accommodation, equipment and flights for performers and crew; managing contracts with external organisations; conducting research; completing all necessary paperwork in relation to the above tasks.
Qualities: What you need to be able to do the job?
Excellent organisational and interpersonal skills. Good IT skills and ability to remain calm under pressure. Key Skills and Interests To be a production assistant you need: excellent communication and 'people' skills good organisational skills and attention to detail good administrative and computer skills the ability to work without supervision and use your own initiative creativity when dealing with problems stamina, focus and determination some mathematical skills, for working with budgets and accounts flexibility and adaptability the ability to work under pressure and to strict deadlines.
Career path: How you start and where you can go with it?
You often start as a Production Secretary but can come in via other routes. It is possible to move into other areas, such as directing or producer but the more normal route is onto Production Manager. There are no standard qualifications for becoming a production assistant. Employers are usually more interested in your personal qualities such as enthusiasm, common sense and initiative. The key is to gain practical experience and develop a network of contacts in the industry. You can gain relevant experience through: student film or TV productions getting paid or unpaid work experience building a portfolio of productions you have been involved in. You may find it helpful to take a course in film, video or media production. The most useful ones include practical skills and work placements. Several universities and colleges offer relevant BTEC HNDs, degrees and postgraduate courses ? check with course providers for entry requirements. You will often start as a runner, junior assistant or secretary in the production office, and work your way up the production ladder as you gain experience. You will need good typing speeds and computer skills. Shorthand skills are also useful. Training You will usually learn on the job from more experienced production staff. As an experienced production assistant, you could also take short courses in various business and production skills, which are run by film schools and some specialist colleges and private training companies. Pay: A rate of perhaps 80GBP a day for a location Production Assistant with some tv experience is something to aim for .
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