Do’s and Dont’s of a Set PA


There are lots of people who have worked on movies, tv shows, music videos, ect who have tips and tricks for set etiquette. I am by no means an expert, but I do know a thing or two about being an intern, and being a PA. There is an incredible amount of knowledge that anyone with a decent career in the industry can tell you, and we will all tell you different things. I am here to just scratch the surface on set etiquete for all you future videographers…so here goes:

The first thing that you should learn is time management. I cannot stress enough the importance of being on time. Just so you all know…being on time, means being early. In my experience, 15-20 minutes early is sufficient…you’ll get a “call sheet” (list of everyone in production and the time they should be on set)….find your department, or your specific name on the list and be 20 minutes early to that time. I have seen people be looked over for future gigs because of poor time management. Speaking of being early, If you’re lucky you might catch breakfast!

Food. This is another really important bit of information I would like to bestow on you…eat. Get there early for breakfast. When the crew breaks for lunch, get in the back of the line and grab a plate! You are going to be working very hard. Being an intern and working as a PA can be laborious work. Remember to drink plenty of water because you might work in blazing heat, extreme cold, hot muggy buildings…you never know. Keep yourself safe, full of energy and hydrated. On the other hand though…there is a “craft services” table…beware of this table. Chips, soda, jerky…this table can make or break you. I’m not saying don’t grab a snack occasionally (that’s why they have snacks, for you!)…but do not be the guy leaning against the wall every 5 minutes eating marshmallows when you should be working. That is a good way to get your first and probably last gig.

Wear clothing that is appropriate, comfortable and durable. Examples: black tee shirt, jeans, boots or sneakers. You may be wading through mud, climbing a ladder, sloshing through snow, hiking through the woods…take account for weather conditions, indoor/outdoor shots, locations, ect. Call sheets can also be a great resource for this information as well.

Touching things that you aren’t suppose to…this is a big one. You should never touch anything that you don’t know how to use, or that isn’t in your department. You don’t want to be known as the guy who broke the camera lens.

Another “don’t” : no alcohol. This can be a hard rule for me to follow, but it’s a good rule. Only drink at a “wrap party” (this is the last day of the shoot and there is a small celebration). If you DO decide to drink a little, then never ever get drunk. This is a reputation nightmare and I promise you, you will not get hired again. For interns, don’t even think about drinking whatsoever. You do not want your school to look bad, and you could instantly close every opportunity for yourself in the industry by having a beer.

This last bit of advice is personality driven. I call it being a “yes man”. If you are asked to do anything at all, just do it. Drag sandbags, set up a light, flat wrap, make coffee…it doesn’t matter. You are there to learn; and as a PA or intern, you are everyone else’s assistant. If you don’t know how to do something, either ask or find a way to figure it out. Ask someone in your department, ask another PA, youtube it…whatever you need to do to get the task done. Never say “no”, or “I can’t”.

Saying “hi” and asking questions (when appropriate) is a great way to network. This shows your enthusiasm and drive. You won’t be a PA forever (unless you want to), so the more you learn, the closer you are to your goals. Everyone wants to help and give advice, so ask away!

Sets can be a tricky and scary place to be. High stress levels, chains of command, and physical labor all come into play. Luckily you’ve learned the first few rules of set etiquette…now it’s time for ACTION!


31 thoughts on “Do’s and Dont’s of a Set PA”

  1. It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few
    interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  2. I don’t think I’ve scanned anything such as this before.
    So good to find someone with some original thoughts on this
    subject matter. great one for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the
    web, somebody witha little creativity. Very good job
    for bringing new things to the web!

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide
    credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the very same
    area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

    1. you are more than welcome to quote or copy anything that i have as long as i’m credited and there is a link to come back to my site. that would be awesome. i will also check out your site…maybe we can collab!

  4. Awesome posts from you, man. I’ve figured out your point and you’re simply really excellent.
    I really like what you have here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say
    it. You make it enjoyable. I cant wait to read a
    lot more from you. This is genuinely an excellent website.

  5. I’m honored to obtain a call from a friend as he identified the important suggestions shared on your
    site. Browsing your blog post is a real outstanding experience.

    Many thanks for taking into consideration readers
    like me, and I wish you the best.

  6. I’m thankful to obtain a call from a friend as he identified
    the key ideas shared on your site. Exploring your blog post is a real excellent
    experience. Many thanks for considering readers like me, and I wish you the

  7. I’m not that much of a internet reader in truth but your site is really nice, keep writing!

    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to return later.
    All the best.

What Did You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s