In the past, we let you in on the keys to success in the life of an event coordinator. But now, the interns put a spotlight on what it takes to be on-site as a Production Assistant. At first, the role as a PA on-site seems broad and daunting. You have assisted the producers and coordinators in the office for the weeks and months prior; ordering props, making phone calls and organizing spreadsheets. But now it is time to see everyone’s hard work come to life on-site.
Before going on-site the office gave me the following advice:
1.“Bring layers, the convention centers are always cold”: Doesn’t matter if you are going to San Antonio where the weather is 120 degrees, or Toronto where it is barely above freezing, pack your biggest cardigan and softest scarf ALWAYS. Just keep in mind that the PA is there to run errands and track down office supplies and props, so always dress in layers for your constant trips in and out of air conditioned hotels and convention centers to the outdoors.
2.”Wear comfy shoes, do not wear your new flats”: This is not a drill!! On-site you will be working 12 hours days, and logging at least 20,000 steps on your fitbit. Pack your black nikes and wear them with pride.
Now that I have been on a couple events myself, here are some of the things I have learned:
1.Take advice from literally everyone. Every member of the crew has been in your shoes before and been new to the world of production. Learn the important lingo from them, along with their organization and backstage tips.
2. Always have a smile on your face and be willing to talk to everyone from the janitor to the manager, because you never know what they can do to make your time on-site easier
3. Be creative. Get ready to think outside the box in order to problem solve. Shipments arrive late, supplies runs out after store hours, clients make last minute changes, and you need to be ready to think on your feet and be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
4. Offer everyone on-site something to drink or eat before you do, because you’re there to make everyone’s job easier. And the crew will have an easier time doing their job if they’re fed.
5. If you’re not busy running around, take a chance to listen to the cues on headset so that you can learn about other aspects of the event, like graphics or audio.
6. Everyone hugs. EVERYONE.
7. Get used to waking up early and getting ready FAST, 5 am crew calls are not a joke
8. Bring a flashlight, or make sure to pack one in the PA kit. While producers and coordinators are discussing cues over headset, you will most likely be leading alent or executives in the dark backstage, so keep a flashlight handy so that 1. No one gets hurt, and 2. No one trips over one of the important wires that keep the event running.
9. Always take the wrapper off the water bottles, and always have water bottles stocked backstage
10. Last but not least…. Being on headset and being on-site is contagious. Once you work on one event, you’ll most likely want to work on more!