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WHAT IS THE ROLE?
In a production, a production assistant has many different jobs that can vary greatly depending on the film, what skills they have, and what the cast and crew want from them. The production assistant does any odd jobs, ranging from
photocopying documents, collecting travel permits, arranging transport, fetching items, completing forms, answering phones to writing up notes from meetings which are passed on to the rest of the production team. It is important for the production assistant to be accurate, organized and reliable. A Production Assistant are sometimes attached to one individual member of the cast or crew. In the film and television world the production assistant is also known as, PA, Gopher, Personal Assistant, Assistant To . . , Assistant to Producer
The production is very busy all throughout the film making process. In pre-production the production assistant is preparing for the production by attending meetings, taking notes, photocopying papers, getting coffees, taking calls, sending emails and any other odd jobs. Also working with other departments such as the art department, to organising food and transport for the cast and crew, so when production time comes everything can flow smoothly.
During the production, the production assistant will be making sure that all cast and crew are comfortable and have everything they need. They will still be doing lots of odd jobs around the place and doing anything they can to help. The production assistant will need to be able to alter any plans they have made and have a back up plan as producer, directors and others can often change their mind and want to do something different and it is part of the production assistants jobs to make this possible.
In the post-production process the production assistant will still be working very hard. They must have everything ready in case of a possible reshoot and will proberly otherwise doing other jobs like, taking calls, getting food, and organizing other things while the editing process takes place.
The production Assistant works close with many other roles in the film industry, including the director, producer and the head people of other departments. It is important for the production assistant to work with these people because they might need certain things organised by a certain time and this would be the production assistant job, and to pass on messages, notes or ideas from on person to another. The production assistants role sometimes overlaps with the role of a ‘Runner’ as they also run errands and fetch items
There is no formal qualifications needed to be a production assistant, people usually get some informal training on the job. However, getting a job will be easier with a qualification in screen, media or film and television production. Relevant certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses are widely available and are offered by Registered Training Organisations, including TAFE. Degree courses are also widely available at most universities in Victoria. TAFE’s and Universities that offer these courses are Swinburne, RMIT, Box Hill Institutes and more.
-Organisational and administrative skills
-Attention to detail
-An interest in film and /or television
-Able to work as part of a team
Beside general office equipment there aren’t any specific equipment needed for this role. All a production assistant really needs is a computer with internet/email access, phone, printer, photocopier, and perhaps a fax machine in order to get everything done. They might also need a car in order to run errands and fetch items or food and to get to other locations or meetings.
DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY
The development of technology had changed this role a lot. The use of email, text, internet, photocopier, smart phone would have had a great effect on this role as people do not have to sit in an office anymore to receive information as they can be on set and just use their smart phone to access any information needed. Photocopiers are also a great way to get multiple copies of a paper like a script, very quickly and no longer have to be typed up individually on a type writer.
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