Production Assistant: Career Information & Job Outlook

f you’re looking for a career that promises something different every day, something that is so much more than just a typical office job, then becoming a production assistant might be just what you’re looking for.

Imagine spending your work days on the set of the next blockbuster film or award-winning television series, working right along side directors, producers, and the crew. As a production assistant, every day is different, and you will build an array of experiences and knowledge that will propel you towards a long-term career in the film production industry.

What Do Production Assistants Do?

A production assistant fulfills a large variety of roles on a film or television set, playing a large part in supporting a number of people from sound technicians to producers to the camera crew. As a production assistant, you will utilize your flexibility to complete a variety of tasks, doing just about anything and everything. You might help make script copies, pick up special equipment, conduct research, and generally help everyone on set with whatever they need to keep the production rolling.

You might find yourself helping to assemble furniture on the set of the latest HGTV home improvement show or grabbing hot coffee to warm up the crew of a big film shooting in snowy conditions. You will have every day opportunities to learn and grow, and every day will be different from the last.

Earnings: How Much Do Production Assistants Make?

Like many jobs in the film and television industry, there is a fairly wide salary range for production assistants, depending on a number of factors. Location, production company, production budget, and the length of production time. Currently, the median salary for a full-time production assistant is just over $29,100, according to Salary.com.

As a production assistant (as with any other professional position), salary generally increases with excellent job performance and increased experience.

Work Environment: Where Do Production Assistants Spend Their Workday?

As a production assistant, your main workplace will be the set of the movie or television series you are assisting for. However, because your job is to complete any number of tasks and be the go-to person for just about everything, your work environment will also change by the day- or even the hour. You will travel to different locations to pick up equipment, copy or print materials, get meals for cast and crew, and anything else needed for production.

Career Requirements: What Training or Education Do Production Assistants Need?

Completing an educational program focused on film and television production can give you a serious advantage over other prospective production assistants, because you will have an excellent foundation of knowledge to prepare you for a career on-set. Graduating from a high-quality media program will give you the background knowledge you need to understand the instructions you are given on-set, as well as industry-specific jargon.

Ideal Skills and Requirements: Who Makes a Good Production Assistant?

One of the most important skills a production assistant needs is the ability to be flexible, and a willingness to listen and learn how you can be of assistance to everyone on set. You will also need the ability to think quickly on your feet, and be ready for all kinds of different requests. When you make the decision to become a production assistant, it is critical that you check your ego at the door: every task you are asked to complete should be received with a positive attitude and a determined work ethic, because each new challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, and demonstrate your passion for the industry.

Job Outlook: What Does the Future Hold for Production Assistants?

The future is bright for those interested in a career as a production assistant, especially in this exciting age of streaming television and film. Passion and creativity are fueling the film and television industry like never before, and with that comes a wealth of opportunities for those looking to work on-set. As a production assistant, the stability of your position depends largely on your ability to demonstrate work ethic and build respect in the field. Long-running television series generally offer the most long-term work, while films have generally shorter (though very intense) production periods.

How to Get Started: How to Become a Production Assistant

If you are interested in starting a career as a production assistant, your first step should be to enroll in a high-quality, hands-on film and video production program like the one offered at M&S Media School. Here, you can build the foundation of knowledge you need to embark on an exciting career journey that will take you directly to the sets of the next big hits in television and film.

Contact our school today to learn more, and begin working towards your dreams sooner rather than later.

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