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What is the role of a production assistant for television?

A television production assistant is often the first ever job that a TV professional finds themselves in on their path towards a long and fruitful television career. But what does a TV production assistant do?

Mandy News walks you through the responsibilities of a production assistant.

31st October 2018
/ By Andrew Wooding

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What does a production assistant do?

A TV PA or production assistant is an entry-level position in the industry.

A production assistant might find themselves doing anything from making coffee for crew and heads of department, photocopying and printing, driving, moving equipment, making phone calls, writing emails and more.

A production assistant’s workload is determined by the scale and budget of the production, as well as the skill and reliability showcased by the individual.

Find out how to be a great production assistant with our guide here.

What are the benefits of being a PA?

A PA position is a brilliant learning curve for anybody entering the industry because it allows the person to interact with many, if not all, of the departments (producers, camera department, directing department, costume, sound, make up, performers).

The level and breadth of access a PA receives offers them a bird’s-eye-view of a production meaning that, perhaps after a few jobs, that person can cement their idea of what direction they might want to head in after PAing.

Being a production assistant is the ultimate overview of TV production and the best first step towards specialising.

In an industry where there is never enough time or money to achieve the creative goals of the production, a production assistant can often become the backbone of a team – supporting everyone is a fantastic opportunity to shine and show your worth.

Exceptional production assistants are a dime a dozen and so, if you prove your ability early on, you should ascend up the TV production pecking order with ease.

Being a production assistant is not for the faint-hearted though – you must be able to happily take orders, not take the stress of colleagues personally, have a flexible schedule and be willing to be the first in and last out each day, be able to lift equipment, work outdoors, be willing to travel, work nights and weekends and all with a calm, polite professional exterior.

Qualifications are not required to become a TV PA but grit, determination, enthusiasm, creative-thinking and keeping a cool head are essential and much-desired qualities.

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