In November, I spent my first time as a PA on set. For those who don’t know what that position is, he’s basically coffee-and-odd-errands boy. Any set can technically get by without a PA, but having one or more can make things move faster and more smoothly.
I ran out to get actors’ coffee. I played the lead’s hands in a few close-ups. I ran all the way to Staples, then OfficeMax, then a random print shop just to find the right kind of printer cartridge. I ran food and coffee upstairs to the crew every five minutes for ten hours. I carried metal chairs and tables, c-stands, sandbags, extension cords, and other pieces of heavy equipment from a truck two blocks away until it was empty, then I filled it again at the end of each night. I had no idea what I was doing, and yet I did just about everything I was qualified to do on that set, except act in the film itself.
So why would an actor seek out a position behind the camera?
You need to learn to respect every position on set. Every position. That, and now a producer out there knows how reliable and hardworking I am, which is a great thing to know about an actor when you cast them. Who knows, maybe she’ll cast me in an Oscar-winning role someday. Or maybe she’ll never give me an opportunity to act in a project. Either way, I’m still proud of how far I went to make sure the little things got done before they even crossed her mind. I can’t thank her enough, and I’d happily PA again for her anytime, whether it ever leads to acting or not.
It’s good to feel proud of yourself for something else once in a while.