What are typical production assistant salaries?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (17)

Host

Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

Reply - Report abuse

PA dude in Terre Haute, Indiana

82 months ago

It really depends on the market, and the company some pay alot some dont.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (15) Reply - Report abuse

CN in Chicago, Illinois

81 months ago

We are paid based on how many hours we clock in. After a certain amount of hours/week we make time and a half, which is about 17.40/hour!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (9) Reply - Report abuse

la guy in Los Angeles, California

80 months ago

i was told its $100 for the first 8 hours and overtime after and i think double time after 12 hours. cool thing is that as a PA youll be there for 14-16 hours sometimes more so youll go home with more than $200 but tiring though.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No (12) Reply - Report abuse

P.A. BOOTCAMP STAFF in Los Angeles, California

74 months ago

sean in Los Angeles, California said: can you guys stop talking about PA Bootcamp and give some real answers? who cares about the bootcamp?? who would actually go to a bootcamp for PA's man? thats ridiculous. If you dont have the answer for the questions above just simply dont answer them. Quit posting advertisement for PA BOOTCAMP!!!! you guys most be really desperate~ how pathetic~
All you PA's that want to make it just apply for any PA's position and you will learn as you work thats the best way to learn. thats all i have to say and all that is need to be said. Experience is everything. bootcamp this bootcamp that.. just quit it!

Money should go where the mouth is. And try not to be so rude. We have done nothing wrong here on these boards. We are so intimidated by such wording maybe you're right, you know more than us, so perhaps we should stop helping others and just call it quits because "sean in La" says to. We had answered the question. Your "rate: (term any p.a. knows) is based on your deal memo, and it is show pending. Just ask any p.a. currently working. They will tell you the very same thing. Unless they don't know better.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (20) Reply - Report abuse

Jack in Sherman Oaks, California

71 months ago

The dude from pa boot camp is right about rates: they differ based on the show and your specific deal memo. BUT ... PA Boot Camp is a scam. The only way to learn how to be a PA is to get a job as a PA (and telling an AD that you've gone to PA Boot Camp will NOT help you get a job - no one cares). You should not have to pay to learn how to be a PA.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (15) / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

Girl_in_SFV in Los Angeles, California

68 months ago

PA BootCamp.
1. You are rude and annoying

Everyone is sick of you guys. But a clue!
You're all like bad sales people.
I would NEVER pay to attend a "school" who hire people to go on forums and promote themselves. Instead of providing answers to peoples questions.

I see your ads posted on Craigslist all the time. People are complaining there too haha

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Mangos Production Services

68 months ago

I would like to say that PA Bootcamp is definitely unnecessary. Most of the people looking for positions as PA's are fresh out of college and looking for WORK, not more school. One of my favorite instructors told me that no matter how many classes you take, it will not matter, because the only way you learn how to be a PA...is to BE a Production Assistant, plain and simple. Now this Bootcamp company has every right to spam forums and look for suckers, however, this message is for the suckers. You are looking to make money, not waste it. Good luck job hunting.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (10) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

DMckean in Van Nuys, California

65 months ago

I have never been a PA in my life, but I would not think you would need to go to school to become a production assistant.
I have been a background actor on almost 100 shows. I have even talked to a couple PA's if they are in a good mood. Some PA's are really unprofessional, and they think it is really cool just to say the F word just because they can(reference:tenacious d music video PA). The ONLY thing I would imagine that would be hard for a newcomer working as a production assistant is PLACING BACKGROUND. Most of the time AD's will place the background. But if it is a HUGE call, some of the production assistants WILL place background(reference: Greek). Of course if you were to be an office PA, you would not have to do this, but common knowledge of how to use a copier will help. If you do not know how to read sides, ask! I learned how to read sides from taking Christopher Grays Stand-In course. Yes. I paid $40. LOL. Just to let you know SWF stands for start working finish. I do not know how to read a full call-sheeet, but I know what is important---what scene and who needs to report when. And of course, the lovely weather....LOL. Of course, I also learned about color cover and to report to the DP. But I do not think anyone on this board wants stand-in work. (and if you want to flame me for not being a stand-in that is fine too. The reason: I do not have a car so I cannot always been there at 4am in the morning)But what I learned from his class is that if you want to get work as a Productions assistant or Stand-in ongoing gig, the ways about securing work may be similar. Now this line is worth $40. LOL. Call the studio and ask for the development department. If you got class and don't sound like a 5 year old, you can do this. Ask what productions are shooting and ask for a list. You might get it if you are nice. If you want to be a PA, pick the show from the list. If you want Stand-in work, send a headshot and resume to . Stand-in work is a lot tricker than that

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

SquareNickel in Pompano Beach, Florida

61 months ago

All of the PA's I have know got their job by knowing somebody in the business. PA's are normally the lowest paid people on the set. You shouldn't be wasting your time trying to be a PA. The gigs are often too sparse and that doesn't pay the bills. The next time you're doing a stand in, ask the people on the set what jobs they would like to have in the movie/commercial business.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Patrick Thies in Carbondale, Illinois

59 months ago

I'm gonna graduate college soon and major in cinema, i know a PA is the first step on getting involved in the entertainment industry.

I guess im wondering how to find the most realistic entry-level job to get the ball rolling. I'm currently working on a local feature length film production (volunteer). But as I approach graduation I think about the best way to utilize my skills ive gained in and outside the classroom.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Conrad in West Covina, California

59 months ago

You really don't need to go to school become a good PA. It is only a way to get your foot in the door and start familiarizing yourself with the studio. It helps to have some experience in the film industry but not required. Runners who are nice, friendly, and willing to learn are the ones who move up the ladder. Sometimes we get runners who just stand around and talk to the guests, I don't recommend this. A PA mainly fetches props, sets up the green room, grabs food, and delivers all the mail recieved. The goal is to be the most helpful without getting to wrapped up in being discovered. If you present yourself well and seem like a hard worker the studio will often hire you. Try and get into a television company, they hire PA's all the time for various shows and projects. Once you are hired by the company they will often reuse you and will be hired full-time with benefits. Good Luck and Don't stress out about it.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (17) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Patrick Thies in Carbondale, Illinois

59 months ago

Thanks Conrad, that is good to hear. I don't mind long hours, ive been working since I was 16. I always thought people had to like memorize technical jargon of literally all cameras.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Kyle in Sioux City, Iowa

50 months ago

I'm a production assistant on a news show and make around $8.00 part time. I've graduated from a local college, I wanted to enter "the business" but got trapped in the midwest. But yeah PA's defenately get paid differently depending on the type of show/movie and area I'm guessing.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

glertser in Charlotte, North Carolina

32 months ago

Conrad in West Covina, California said: You really don't need to go to school become a good PA. It is only a way to get your foot in the door and start familiarizing yourself with the studio. It helps to have some experience in the film industry but not required. Runners who are nice, friendly, and willing to learn are the ones who move up the ladder. Sometimes we get runners who just stand around and talk to the guests, I don't recommend this. A PA mainly fetches props, sets up the green room, grabs food, and delivers all the mail recieved. The goal is to be the most helpful without getting to wrapped up in being discovered. If you present yourself well and seem like a hard worker the studio will often hire you. Try and get into a television company, they hire PA's all the time for various shows and projects. Once you are hired by the company they will often reuse you and will be hired full-time with benefits. Good Luck and Don't stress out about it.

Conrad, I've been reading a lot of your answers on this forum and I think they are GREAT answers. How would I be able to get my foot in the door of being a PA? It seems like a lot of people want to be on camera, but I want to actually be behind the scenes seeing all the hard work that is being done in the background. I guess that's why I love to watch the Bonus Features on DVD's, to see how everything went down. Do you have any recommendations of how I could get started? I graduated with a Communications degree, and hope to one day move to California. Do you think California would be the best place in getting my foot in the door? Please give me any advice that you can, they will be greatly appreciated!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

JD in Peekskill, New York

13 months ago

It's true that knowing someone is definitely a quick way in the business. That's how I got into the business. I'm a PA on a show that is currently already on the air. Many of the other Additional PA's are surprised that I started out on a show like this but when you know someone that is willing to put their neck out there for you it's best not to disappoint anyone. The hours are long and the pay isn't great at all. There are many little things you may find yourself doing but for starters an additional on my production is there for Lock-Ups and to be a runner. At the stage this is simple because everything is contained. On location for exterior work it's a pain because everything is always moving and you could find yourself running city blocks for a task. It is a lot of fun in the end. Many interesting people in the field and you get to see how the magic is made. If your good at what your doing and the AD's notice you it's a good thing. Keep an open mind, check your ego at the door and be ready to work work work. Pay attention and don't be that PA that is standing around skylarking on your smartphone or chatting up everyone that walks by. Look like your about and be about business and you will move up. Only been doing this a month and I'm already moving up to being a Background PA. Rather quickly by everyones opinion but if you have the skill they're looking for to do other things you will be chosen to do it. It's all about business.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

mrhale in Kerman, California

11 months ago

JD in Peekskill, New York said: It's true that knowing someone is definitely a quick way in the business . That's how I got into the business. I'm a PA on a show that is currently already on the air. Many of the other Additional PA's are surprised that I started out on a show like this but when you know someone that is willing to put their neck out there for you it's best not to disappoint anyone. The hours are long and the pay isn't great at all. There are many little things you may find yourself doing but for starters an additional on my production is there for Lock-Ups and to be a runner. At the stage this is simple because everything is contained. On location for exterior work it's a pain because everything is always moving and you could find yourself running city blocks for a task. It is a lot of fun in the end. Many interesting people in the field and you get to see how the magic is made. If your good at what your doing and the AD's notice you it's a good thing. Keep an open mind, check your ego at the door and be ready to work work work. Pay attention and don't be that PA that is standing around skylarking on your smartphone or chatting up everyone that walks by. Look like your about and be about business and you will move up. Only been doing this a month and I'm already moving up to being a Background PA. Rather quickly by everyones opinion but if you have the skill they're looking for to do other things you will be chosen to do it. It's all about business.

I am a teacher right now and am 47 years old. What I am wondering is if that is too late in my life to change careers and get into the entertainment business behind the scenes without going to too much more schooling. I have a degree in science, noting to do with any branch of entertainment. Would a PA job be a good access point? I don't want to ever go in front of the camera.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.