Although there are so many different movies, TV shows, and other media content coming out every year, you may find it quite hard to get into the industry as a production assistant. A production assistant is a key player in producing media content hence getting your foot in the industry can be quite hard even if you have a bit of experience. It is more difficult to get production assistant jobs in NYC than in any other state due to the tough competition. We will look at the roles and responsibilities of this job, the salary of production assistant jobs NYC, tips on how to to find production assistant NYC jobs, and other related information to help you understand the industry much better.
Before we get to the fun part that everyone is eager to know, the salary of production assistant jobs NYC, let’s quickly go over the different types of production assistant jobs NYC.
Types Of Production Assistant Jobs
Before you get compensation for production assistant jobs NYC or information on how to become a production assistant, you must understand the job requirements. There is no point in knowing what the salary of a production assistant is if you don’t know the type of production assistant jobs NYC you might be in.
There are three categories of a production assistant.
Set Production Assistant
This is similar to an on-grounds operation staff that ensures all the work is carried out smoothly. Most of the physical work requires coordination and communication and a set production assistant is required to ensure that. There are no particular daily tasks as the operations of the set vary from one shooting to the other. Hence, you will be required to always be on your toes and ensure efficiency while working.
The set PA makes sure the set is prepared for the production team so that everything goes smoothly. You might be required to move equipment, prepare items/props, ensuring zero public access, and other relevant tasks.
Office Production Assistant
You may have heard about the roles of a clerk in an organization, working on paperwork. Office production assistants do all the paperwork for the production team to ensure everything runs smoothly. This could be from bookings to handling calls, supplies, and other related tasks. These are usually entry-level production assistant jobs but are essential in the making of the movie. You need someone to manage all the paperwork and check compliances before the shooting starts and there is no one better than an office production assistant.
Just like how there is an operation team to ensure that the set is ready for shooting, there is also an operation team after the shooting is done. You will find post-production assistants in those teams. They are responsible for organizing footage, managing footage, and other related tasks.
Roles And Responsibilities Of A Production Assistant
Now that we’ve gone over the three types of production assistant jobs NYC, let’s go over the roles and responsibilities of production assistant jobs NYC.
It is to be noted that a production assistant job description might vary from one shooting to the other as there can be different tasks and new challenges. However, the skills and basic job responsibilities required remain the same.
There is a lot of communication that is required for production assistant jobs. You will be always on the Walkie Talkie trying to communicate with the team and get the job done. Each walkie-talkie has different channels that you can connect to and each channel is connected to another walkie-talkie with a different department. So channel 7 might be for the electric department that sorts out the electricals on the set while channel 3 might be for transportation, and so on.
Your communication will be key in locking down the set, ensuring that the set is clear from the public and even the crew at the time of the shooting, and get things done. When we say to get things done, this means you need to be aware of the jargon used on a walkie-talkie. You must know how to use the walkie-talkie and what some of the jargon is to ensure minimal redundancies and smooth operations.
Yes, just like how you’re going to be using relevant jargon for communicating on a walkie-talkie, there are certain words to use on the set. You might not know what the words Stinger or Martini mean on the set. Martini refers to the last shot on the set for the day while stinger refers to an extension cable. Just like these two, there are a couple of important words that you need to know to be able to ensure that communication is going smoothly without any breakdowns.
One of the key requirements for a job as a production assistant is to have your own transportation. The media company requires someone with a readily available car to do supply runs whenever needed. At times there are very short notices and you need to be ready for that.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your supply runs.
- Always ask for petty cash. If you are asked to pay for the stuff first, kindly refuse. Not all companies are top lads to deal with and you might come across some production houses that lag on their payments. It’s never a good idea to spend your money and then wait for the production company to clear your dues. There are people who have reported not getting paid a dime after they worked for shady production houses.
- Don’t be in a rush while driving. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Remember, when you get involved in an accident, the production house will not help you out with it.
- Make sure to always ask for receipts whenever procuring items during your supply run. Receipts are used by the finance department to verify payments and balance their books.
Your search for production assistant jobs NYC, may have led you to this point that we are about to discuss. Yes, you would need to stage the meals. People on the set work from morning to afternoon and some even into late nights. It would be your job as a production assistant to provide them with meals (in most cases, lunch).
Here is what you should do when it comes to staging lunch.
- Add signboards in the area to guide people to the lunch place.
- Set up tables and chairs so that the people can sit and each lunch. This gives them a bit of time to relax as well.
- Make sure to put trashcans in the area to dispose of the trash. You need to keep the area clean at all times.
- When everyone is done eating to their fill, you can then sit down and have your lunch.
Collecting Equipment And Cleaning
Okay, so you’re going to be only responsible for your equipment or your departments. You can not go around touching expensive equipment because if something happens, then you might get blamed. If there is expensive equipment lying around unattended, use your walkie-talkie to inform the relevant department.
You’re responsible for getting rid of the trash and ensuring the place is clean. If there is trash piling up, take it to the garbage truck. There will be times that there won’t be any garbage truck around, so you can take the trash to the trash lot on the site and dump it there. It is not your responsibility to ensure that the trash leaches from the shipyard or junkyard.
You have to take responsibility for the paperwork. You will be handling a lot of paperwork to deal with or to keep with yourself. These can be essential documents holding important information about the cast or crew such as social security numbers, addresses, and more. If information like that gets into the wrong hand, it can become a case of identity theft.
If there are employees who haven’t completed their paperwork, it would be your responsibility to ensure that they do and then you can hold on to those papers. If anyone asks you for personal information (emails, phone numbers, addresses, and so on) about a cast member or crew, politely refuse as it is your responsibility to keep this information safe unless higher management requires it.
Production Assistant Compensation
Now that we’re done discussing the roles and responsibilities of a film production assistant jobs NYC, let’s go over the bit you’re all here for, the compensation for production assistant jobs NYC.
So, how much do production assistant jobs NYC pay? Well, this is a bit of a tricky question to ask as a PA (Production Assistant) job can be anywhere between a few weeks to a couple of months. You might not get an annual salary but there can be exceptions if the studio chooses to employ you all year round. But usually, these are rare situations.
Back to the question of how much does production assistant jobs NYC pay? You will get paid for the day which is a total of 12 hours. Most of the pay in this industry range between $150 to $250 daily depending on the sector you’re employed in. Indie films pay and music video pay starts at $150 while film and TV show PA gets a starting pay of $200 per day.
A production assistant jobs NYC pay is per hour and usually, the average sits at $14 an hour. So if you’re working 12 hours, which is 4 hours additional to the 8-hour working hours in the United States, you will get a higher hourly rate. For the first 8 hours, your pay is $14 an hour and for the next four hours, production assistant jobs NYC pay $21 per hour.
$14 x 8 hours = $112
$21 x 4 hours = $84
If you add them together, that’s $196 (around $200 that we mentioned earlier. And you do get overtime if you’re asked to stay after the 12th working hour. So overtime hours for production assistant jobs NYC are charged at 200% of the initial payment which is $28 per hour. These figures are all industry averages and can vary. Check the pay requirements according to the different jobs you apply to.
Now that we’ve looked at the salary of production assistant jobs in New York, let’s go over how you can find production assistant jobs near me.
How To Find Production Assistant Jobs Near Me
There is no surefire way to get a PA job in NYC. You need to be patient and keep on applying. There are a few ways you can apply for a PA job.
EntertainmentCareers is one of the best platforms if you’re looking for post-production assistant jobs or office production assistant jobs. However, this portal is aimed at employers looking to employ PA for the long term. This means that you do need to have quite a bit of a resume before you can start applying here. The site does have entry-level jobs but there are better platforms that you can explore such as ProductionBeast.
ProductionBeast is a great platform if you’re new to the game. The website is simple and intuitive for employers and this is why a lot of professional houses use this site. You can start your search for a PA job here if you don’t have any experience. They do post other vacancies so keep on checking, perhaps you might find a job that you fancy.
This is a great way to stay in touch with the industry. There are so many relevant Facebook groups for people looking for short-term PA jobs in NYC. Employers or production houses are already on these Facebook groups and post jobs every now and then.
If you’re graduating from university with a related qualification, then you might find a job board in the department you were or are studying in. This job board is a great opportunity for graduates and soon-to-be graduates to find vacancies and apply for a job. Many film schools are signed up with production houses who approach them to post vacancies. This is not a new practice and is similar to other schools like business schools that are in touch with businesses.
Word Of Mouth
One thing that works in this industry is word of mouth. Oftentimes production houses will ask their PAs if they know someone and trust someone to hire for a position. If you know a production assistant, simply approach them and let them know you’re available. If it is a close friend, they would be more than happy to vouch for you. Word of mouth is the trend in this industry because those that can be trusted can be around the cast and crew.
Combining all the skills and responsibilities that we have mentioned, doing a couple of internships, and checking out the platforms that we have recommended are some of the best ways on how to get a job as a production assistant. Stay committed and have a great work ethic.
You might come across production houses that would pay you $12 rather than the average $14 per hour. Don’t be so quick to drop that opportunity. There are many people wanting a job and if you get the offer, it’s a great way to add some experience to your resume. If you already have enough experience, then of course there is no need to accept all the offers that knock on your door. Know your worth. But then again, if you have experience, we doubt you’re going to be reading this guide as you already know the ins and outs of this industry.