Production Assistant Pay [Updated]

The only thing a PA is missing is the Y – Anonymous

How much does a Production Assistant get paid? —  seems to be a recurring question, so I’ll answer it:  NOT MUCH!

PAs don’t get paid hourly.  A PA gets paid on a “per-day” day rate, based on a 12 hour day.  Day rates depend on the type of show you’re working on.  On average, in Los Angeles, the PA day rate is around $125 a day.  A day rate is good, because if you work 6 hours instead of 12, you will still get paid for a full day.  Those days are rare, and you will more likely be working over 12 hours, most of the time.  For more information on how a day rate works, check out TAPAs post on the subject.

Commercials and Music Video’s tend to pay more than Movies and TV, but you don’t work as long.  I’ve been a PA on a couple photo shoots that pay a day rate of $250, but the shoots only last 1-2 days.  I’ve also worked as a PA on a couple commercials that pay a day rate of $200, but those shoots were only a few days long as well.  If you’re on a movie or TV show, you could be getting paid $125 a day for a few months. This is what I am currently trying to do…  and it’s a pain in the ass.

You’ll find that most industry jobs don’t do “pay by the hour”.  It’s either by the day, week, or job.

Ask any questions in the comments section, and I’ll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability.

[UPDATE]

So I just recently worked on a feature and figured out a little more on how we’re paid.

On this feature I was making $112 a day, with a guaranteed 12 hour day. So even if I only worked 10 hours instead of 12, I would still get paid for the full 12 hours.

Now on paper this breaks down to $8/hr for the first 8 hours. After 8 hours you get time and a half for the next 4 hours. So I’d be getting paid $8/hr for 8 hours and $12/hr for 4 hours. That makes the $112/12 day rate. Anything I work after 12 hours is double time, which would be $16 an hour.

Now on this feature I was working 6 day weeks. So my “6th day” rate is time and a half for every hour. So I would make $12/hr for the first 12 hours and then $16/hr for anything after 12.

I also got one $7 meal penalty per day. Basically you have to be fed 6 hours after your call time. Because I am a PA, I always have a pre-call. Which means If the call time for crew is at 8am, I’ll probably have a call time for 7am. When we break for lunch at 2pm, it’s been 7 hours of work for me before lunch… which means I get a meal penalty. It’s not much… but on a 6 day week that’s $42 extra in the bank.

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14 thoughts on “Production Assistant Pay [Updated]”

  1. Hey man,

    Love this blog about you starting out in the industry. I had a couple of gigs here and there and I agree, it is definitely tough trying to find that “in.”

    I’ve been on two long term gigs so far and about to start my third gig on a TV show. Would love to connect since I will be following this blog anyways.

  2. whats up, just started reading your page really helped me just moved to Resdea from santa barbara, to get involved in the industry. Thank you very much for your input really helped me get an idea on what i am about to get into. Ill keep checking in, thanks again

  3. Thank you so much for the enlightenment of the P.A world. I’m getting familiar with the this field thanks to Made in New York P.A program, I’m in training and so excited to get started.

  4. I just moved here from Ohio, and there I’ve been working on sets for about three years in various positions. I have been asked to PA on from indie commercial shoots and was asked what my day rate would be. I’ve never been asked, so is the average in LA $125 or $150. It’s not a union project as far as I know. I just don’t want to overprice…

    Thanks!

  5. Hi love this blog’s overview and detailed insight into the PA position on a film, music video, or commercial’s set. I have been working between the film industry and the AV industry though now it is time to further focus on film, forever more

  6. Thanks Nick!

    Hey Michelle! If you’re working a commercial shoot, and you have experience on set, I would say $200. If you’re working TV or Film I would say $125. If you’ve never worked on set before I would take whatever they’re willing to pay you just to get some experience and meet some people.

    - 12pt

  7. This is great! I came across your blog through the Anonymous PA. What a good find. I remember when I got started, I had such a hard time finding info like this. I’m glad to see someone is making it *a little bit* easier to make it out here!

  8. @Erica — Exactly! That’s pretty much why I started this website in the first place. It was hard finding knowledge out there, so I wanted to share with people what I was learning. I’m glad you enjoy it!

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