How to Get a Job as a Production Assistant Production assistant job description Where to find production assistant jobs How to find a production assistant job: useful tips Conclusion
How to Get a Job as a Production Assistant Production assistant job description Where to find production assistant jobs How to find a production assistant job: useful tips Conclusion
Updated 04/12/2020

How to Get a Job as a Production Assistant

Production assistant vacancies are the first step to a career in filmmaking. Considering high demand, you will need to work hard to stand the competition. To succeed, get familiar with the tips in this article.

Production assistant vacancies are the first step to a career in filmmaking. Considering high demand, you will need to work hard to stand the competition. To succeed, get familiar with the tips in this article.

Production assistants are integral members of a shoot, whether for a movie, music video, commercial, or TV show. Through their daily tasks, they ensure a smooth shooting process contributing to the final product's success.

The PA position is a strong start for professionals who want to build a career in production. It is a great way to get familiar with different film departments, make useful acquaintances, and understand how production works. The road to a successful filming career is long, but if you follow our tips on how to get a production assistant job, your chances will significantly increase.

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Production assistant job description

The production assistant role suggests helping and supporting any area of production to make sure that the shooting process is smooth. Production runner is an entry-level job that requires completion of non-skilled tasks—for example, getting snacks, cleaning the set, or moving equipment. However, it is the right place to be if you want to start a career in filmmaking.

You may be promoted to a camera operator, sound tech, video producer, associate producer, or casting director after gaining experience.

Production assistant responsibilities:

  • Preparing the set with equipment, lights, etc.;
  • Helping costume designers, camera people, producers, and other members of the team;
  • Printing and distributing scripts and other papers;
  • Coordinating extras;
  • Doing crowd control by placing signs, locking down the sets, and directing gawkers away from filming;
  • Distributing instructions within the cast and other team members;
  • Answering phones;
  • Completing errands.

Production Assistant Checklist


  • High-school diploma
  • Production training/relevant courses
  • PA experience (not required but is a big plus)
  • Knowledge of filmmaking terminology
  • Passion for production
  • Intrapersonal skills like self-management and being calm in stressful conditions
  • Resourcefulness
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Walkie-talkie trained
  • Completion of first-aid courses (not necessary, but desirable)

Usually, production assistants are paid on an hourly or weekly basis. On average, they earn $14.91 per hour or between $150 - $250 per day depending on experience and the job. An average yearly salary of product assistants equals $38,121.


Where to find production assistant jobs

Getting a production assistant job with no experience may be much simpler if you know where to look for the vacancies. Here are the most popular channels you should keep in mind:

  • Your contacts. The most effective way to get your foot in the door is to be recommended by a person you know. This may be a relative, colleague, or a college friend. If you know someone who works in filmmaking, ask whether they can help.
  • Social media. There are many social media groups where you can meet local producers and find a production assistant vacancy. For example, Facebook groups such as Commercial Filmmakers Network, I Need a PA, and Film Crew Availability are useful for finding job offers and chatting with filmmakers about the industry. However, you should go beyond Facebook because such platforms as Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube can also introduce you to the industry and help promote yourself as an aspiring production assistant.
  • Networking events. They can be found on dedicated websites, Facebook groups, open events at film schools, and film festivals. If you plan to attend one of these events, don’t forget to bring business cards.
  • Company websites. Four of the six biggest film studios, including 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures, are located in the US, and you will rarely find their vacancies on job sites. Instead, they have career pages on their own websites. Make a list of local filmmaking companies (both big and small) and keep an eye on their job postings.
  • Job boards. You can search either on general websites or platforms like EntertainmentCareers and StaffMeUp. They are helpful when searching for a production assistant or any other vacancy in the entertainment industry.
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How to find a production assistant job: useful tips

Now that you are familiar with a PA’s requirements and responsibilities and the right places to search for vacancies, it is time to proceed with the most viable tips to help you land a successful career.

1.Get a degree

A college education is not a must if you want to become a production assistant. Still, it is rather important to stand the competition and enter the filmmaking industry (especially without work experience). The most relevant degrees are broadcast journalism, film making, and communications.

2. Find out about local filming projects

Even if you live outside Hollywood, perhaps there are films, commercials, or TV shows being shot in your area. Call the Economic Development office or the local film commission, explain that you want to get experience, and ask whether they know about ongoing projects. Pay attention not only to big-budget movies but also independent films.

You can also head to the state’s film commission site to be aware of the area’s latest productions.

3. Call production companies directly

Reach out to filmmaking companies to show your interest in becoming a production assistant. They may already have enough assistants, but you can ask them to save your contact information and consider your candidacy for future projects. When cold calling, ask if you can come by and discuss possible opportunities. Be confident, polite, and professional.

4. Grow your network

Wondering how hard is it to get a production assistant job? Well, everything depends on whether you know the right people or not. The filmmaking business is about who you know, so you should make friends when possible. Usually, the production lasts for several months, so if you don’t know anyone who can help you find the next project, the process may be callous. Therefore, pay special attention to the networking events we talked about earlier.

5. Work for free

It is difficult to convince a potential employer to hire you as a production assistant and pay money if you don’t have any experience or connections. That is why one of the fastest and best ways to participate in the shooting is to offer your services for free. If a producer is impressed with your volunteer work, they may invite you to future projects. If you work as a production assistant for free, ask for a PA credit. It is proof of your work experience and can help to get hired in the future.

You may think that your services are unnoticed at some point, but producers and directors are always looking for good workers, so being a volunteer pays off if you work hard.

6. Create self-presentation documents

If you are searching for production assistant vacancies online, application documents become a vital necessity. They show why you are a good candidate for the project and help you stand out from other candidates. The two most essential self-presentation documents are resume and cover letter. Here is what you should remember when working on them.


  • It should be customized. Hiring managers detect generic resumes with ease, so if you send the same document to several companies, you risk never hearing back from them. When applying to a particular filmmaking company, research and reflect its requirements in your resume.
  • Use a functional resume format. If you don’t have work experience, a functional resume will be a good idea. It concentrates on your skills and abilities instead of related experience.
  • Use keywords. Write down job-related words from the vacancy and insert them into your resume. Thus, it will look more professional and pass an Applicant Tracking System test successfully.
  • Include only relevant details. Stick to the job-related facts and details and don’t indicate your marital status, gender, number of kids, or other personal information not to waste the recruiter’s time.
  • Proofread your resume. Make sure that it follows documentation rules and is free from grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.

Cover letter:

  • Address a particular person. Generic salutations like To Whom It May Concern give a bad impression, so you should take some time and research the name of a person responsible for the hiring process. This can be done via the company’s website, job description, or by calling the HR department.
  • Highlight your motivation. The cover letter is the right place to explain your motivation to join a particular company. To get started, research the philosophy, values, projects of the company. After that, apply this knowledge in the text. In this way, you will show your genuine interest and awareness and get extra points in the selection process.
  • Show your skills. The resume contains a list of your skills, whereas your cover letter explains how they will help you cope with the production assistant position. It will be advantageous to give an example of how a particular skill has already helped you succeed in the professional field.
  • Use a GetCoverLetter builder. With our builder, you can create a cover letter in a matter of minutes and won’t have to worry about improper structure and content.
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7. Approach the interview with all seriousness

Passing an interview is a rather stressful process that requires a comprehensive approach to preparation, especially if you don’t have work experience or related training. However, with the tips below, your interview will surely be a success:

  • Arrive on time. Thus, you show that you can meet your schedules. Plus, you can use the extra time to compose yourself and rehearse everything you want to say during an interview.
  • Be attentive and kind. Another piece of advice is to show that you can ensure proper communication in a team. As a production assistant, you’ll have to contact hundreds of people every day, so you should be able to make the process smooth.
  • Back your answers with examples. Instead of telling, show how you managed particular work situations in the past. Try to explain how you can contribute to the company once you are offered the position.
  • Pay attention to your appearance and body language. To stand out during an interview, you should pay attention to your outfit, appearance, and posture. Sit up straight, keep eye contact, and show your confidence. To remain on the safe side, choose the smart-casual dress code.
  • Use humor. It is a great way to break the ice and show that you are an easy-going person. Crew members hardly want to interact with a grumpy employee in-between the scenes.

You should also prepare for job-related questions in advance. Thus, you’ll be calmer and more confident. The most popular production assistant interview questions are:

  1. Why do you want to become a production assistant?
  2. How do you see your typical workday?
  3. What steps would you make to ensure timely production?
  4. Give an example of your multitasking skills.
  5. Share a story when you solved a job-related problem in a creative way.
  6. You are asked to make a budget for a commercial. How would you do it?
  7. Describe the entertainment projects you have worked on.
  8. You need to procure 10 items for actors overnight. How will you manage the task?
  9. How do you cope with tense situations?

8. Participate in internships

If you don’t have related work experience, internships and training programs may help you become a production assistant. You can find them on websites of film commissions and big companies such as Warner Bros, Street Lights, Georgia Film Council, Screenskills Education and Training, and BBC Work Experience.

Unfortunately, filmmaking apprenticeships are not available online, so this tip is applicable only if one of such programs is held in your location.

9. Work on your soft skills

In the entertainment industry, you will have to face numerous challenges daily: from meeting tight deadlines to coping with eccentric movie stars. That is why you should be hospitable, polite, and demonstrate solid communication skills.

Production assistants should also be responsible, organized, and flexible. Even if you don’t think that controlling crowds or delivering scripts is important, the film can not be made smoothly without these services. That is why you should approach your duties seriously and be ready for the responsibility.

Finally, you should be able to work long hours. A production assistant is not a 9-to-5 job, and most of the time, you’ll have to work 10-12 hours a day standing up. Therefore, skills such as resilience and endurance matter.

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10. Improve your technical awareness

Video production is a high-income skill that may help you get promoted from a production assistant to a videographer or film editor. Usually, each company uses a different type of editing software and trains production assistants on site. However, showing at least basic skills during the application process may help you land a job quicker. Such programs include Final Cut Pro, Quantel, Adobe Premiere, and Avid.

It is also a good idea to learn how to operate a camera. Usually, production assistants are not asked to do that, but mastering camera operation may significantly benefit you. If you are not planning to study filmmaking in college, take short courses or complete online training programs to help you work with a camera.



If you dream about working on television and are not afraid of flexible schedules and heavy workload, starting a career as a production assistant may be a great starting point. In this article, we have discussed 10 tips and tricks on how to stand out from other candidates and increase your chances of landing a dream job. Tenacity, devotion, and hard work always payback, so start your way in filmmaking, and you will surely succeed.

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