I got my first Production Assistant job in 1997. If anyone reading doesn’t know what a PA does, you’re basically the lowest gofer on the totem pole, which requires you to do whatever anyone tells you to (not my strong point by the way). There are PA’s in production offices and on set. This was in an office and the company produced commercials. The gig required A LOT of driving, which sucked, and could also be the reason I decided I didn’t want to be a PA ever again. However, if I had any sense, I could have used that opportunity to get another PA job and then move up to Production Coordinator, then Production Manager and then eventually a Producer. But no, I was interested in performing and this was just another crappy day job as far as I was concerned. I didn’t understand at the time how I could have used that job as a stepping stone to getting in the door, even if it was behind the scenes. These are the crappy lessons you learn as you go that no one tells you. Some people come to LA with the intention of getting a PA job and working their way up, but I knew nothing about the production end of things, all I knew was about performing, and that was really all I cared about back then.
Maybe if I was on set as a PA it would have been different and maybe I would’ve been interested more, but an office PA job really sucks. You’re answering the phone, getting lunch, cleaning the office and driving all over the city while everyone shits on you. Here’s the deal with production people both on and off the set. Most of them are filled with self importance and find it necessary to talk down to anyone who is “lower “ than them. But the funny part is how stressed out they all are. A production office or set is the equivalent of an emergency room to these people, and many of them look scared all the time, and if you screw up in any way, they love to make you feel bad about it with passive aggressive remarks.
I did a PA job last year sometime because a friend of mine (production manager) needed a PA for this pilot, we were discussing it at a sex toy party. I was in between jobs so I did it. I didn’t know what it was for, and then I showed up and remembered how much PA work sucks. You should see how much time and money goes into shooting just a pilot. The amount of people working on this thing was small in comparison to a movie, but it was a 14 hour day with a full crew and craft services, which is where I hung out when I wasn’t being ordered around by the bitchy little self-important production coordinator .
Anyway, it turns out the pilot was for a talk show about moms with Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Leah Remini and Julie Chen called “The Talk”.
I thought it got picked up but I’m not sure now. Wait, it must have because Julie Chen is married to Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS. Hello? Now that’s how you get a show! They were selling it like it was “The View
for moms. UGH! Isn’t “The View” enough torture? I can’t watch it, the main reason being that I want to bitch slap Elizabeth Hassholeback, she’s just so god damn annoying and self righteous.
So, myself and another PA are sitting there as stand-ins so the lighting guys could do their thing. Leah Remini comes walking in with her hair in curlers and they had her sit next to me so they could get the lighting right for her. It turns out that I used to have her old phone number so I told her. I told her that people used to call my apartment looking for her, which is true, and in retrospect I should have played along and pretended to be her. She laughed. So she started guessing what number it was, and it turns out she’s fairly normal (for a celebrity.) Her mother, who came with her for some reason, said she recognized me. I said, “I’m not Chelsea Handler.” I think that confused her. Sharon Osbourne was friendly enough although I didn’t really talk to her. I wanted to tell her that I think “America’s Got Talent” should be called “America’s Got Problems”, or “America’s Got Crabs”, or something a little more honest. 🙂
Have a nice Tuesday…are you “occupying” somewhere?