The only thing a PA is missing is the Y – Anonymous
[Post Updated August 7, 2018]
How much does a Production Assistant get paid?
This seems to be a recurring question, so I’ll answer it: NOT MUCH!
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT PAY
Production Assistants don’t get paid hourly. A PA is paid on a “per-day” day rate, based on a 12 hour day (which is broken up into hourly pay for payroll reasons). The day rates for a production assistant depend on the type of show you’re working on and are typically higher for shorter jobs and lower for longer jobs. On average, in Los Angeles, the PA day rate is around $125 a day (in 2011). A day rate is better than getting an hourly rate because if you work 6 hours instead of 12, you will still get paid for a full day. Those types of days are rare (you will more likely be working over 12 hours), but they do happen. For more information on how a day rate works, check out TAPAs post on the subject.
Production assistant pay on commercials and music videos is usually more than on movies and TV.
But you don’t work as long. I was a production assistant on a couple of photo shoots that paid a day rate of $250, but the shoots only last 1-2 days. I also worked as a PA on a couple of commercials that paid a day rate of $200, but those shoots were only a few days 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, including high level and writing jobs, don’t “pay by the hour.” They either pay by the day, week, or one fee for the whole job.
Ask any questions on production assistant pay in the comments section, and I’ll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability.
I just worked on a feature and figured out a little more on production pay.
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 six-day weeks. So my “6th-day” rate was 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 hours.
I also got one $7 meal penalty per day. On a show, you have to be fed 6 hours after your call time. Because I am a Production Assistant, I always have a pre-call. Which means if the call time for the crew is at 8 am, I’ll probably have a call time for 7 am. When we break for lunch at 2 pm, it’s been 7 hours of work for me before lunch… which means I get a meal penalty. (Production assistants are never guaranteed a meal penalty because there is no union for Production Assistants, but any good show will pay their PA’s meal penalties. If they don’t, throw a fit and demand it! ALSO– you will never get a meal penalty if you don’t fill it out on your time cards, so make sure you ask the 2nd AD how that works.) Meal penalties aren’t very much money, but on a six-day week that’s $42 extra in the bank. That’s a tank of gas!