If it has been a life-long ambition to become a film director, then you must start with understanding how to become a production assistant! Your questions about becoming a production assistant are answered right here.

How To Become A Production Assistant

For some people, being a part of mega-starrers stayed as a childhood dream but, for others, it lived on. The thought of creating blockbuster hits or moving towards alternative cinema is as appealing as it is demanding and difficult. It must be kept in mind that the film industry discards junk and keeps only the cream of the talent. If you think you have what it takes to make it big, then you are on the right track! A PA or a Production Assistant for television or film is the entry level position for this profession. Assistants learn basics from the ground level activities of running errands to calling casting companies on behalf of the producers. Although these duties change on a daily basis, if you have the drive and commitment, then there is no turning back. As they say, inspiration sometimes comes from a single thought, so, here’s your chance. Read up the following article to know the requirements and eligibility of becoming a production assistant.
Becoming A Production Assistant
There are no educational requirements which are absolutely necessary to join a production team as an assistant. But doing a degree in Media Production can prove beneficial. The course trains you to handle the camera, audio and video production, etc. It is a Bachelor’s degree and takes approximately 3-4 years to complete. Master’s degrees can also be pursued. Getting experience is of utmost importance. Look for production assistant jobs in television, trade publications or on specific websites. Usually one starts with a low-paying, freelance position, etc. but with experience, contract hires come along. Next would be an internship with a production company to gain some hands-on experience.
Courses Required
  • Diploma In Production: This is a one year course available in most accredited universities and it trains students to work as executive producers and production managers.
  • Certificate In Production: Certificates are ultimately targeted at those who want to become production executives but they are also priceless on an assistant’s resume. It is generally a six-month program.
  • AdvancedCertificate In Media Production: This is also a 6 month course that gives new entrants the desired exposure of media production techniques. 
Skills Required
  • Being responsible. Production assistants need to be good at what they do, or else they are replaced. Being lazy, lethargic and hard to manage is not a good way to go. They also need to stay on their toes most of the time, even if it means working late shifts.
  • Listening skills are a must because directors give instructions just once and efficient implementation of these instructions depends entirely on your interpretation. Communication skills are equally important to relay the information accurately to the production crew.
  • Willingness to learn. A willingness to learn is an innate quality. Learning as much as you can from the sets is an important part of how much you are destined to grow in your career. Polishing your computer skills like making spreadsheets, editing and software applications is also essential.
  • Patience. This is a virtuous skill that needs to be developed as a production assistant. If you act in haste, then it might be the end of your journey too soon. Watch, be patient and learn!
Roles And Responsibilities
  • Contributing to the production of an interactive media product like a film or show by helping the cast and other members. This is a good place to build a portfolio and get an awareness of the industry, processes and professionals.
  • Sometimes production assistants have the function of preparing and optimizing graphics. Usually, they work under the designer’s supervision but may even undertake the operation themselves. As assistants, they also need to be aware of inter-relationship between content and technology and understand the large project at hand and their deadlines.
  • Tidying up the area, cleaning the sets before and after production with the help of cleaning staff, attending to the needs of the actors, producers and directors are some of the menial roles of a production assistant.
  • They may also take up technical duties like coding scripts, providing bug reports, troubleshooting technical issues and so on, under the direction of a developer. For this, there must be computer literacy in the applied field.
Career Prospects
There is no one way to develop in this industry. Networking is a vital part that comes to people who are social and persuasive. This way, a PA can progress to the position of a personal coordinator, supervisor, assistant director and maybe even director! As long as the media is an important part of our daily living, the scope for these individuals is great. Being experienced and nurturing skills in a specific area of specialization is possible and highly desirable.

More in Career Planning