In part 6 of this series, we talked about how and when to ask questions. No one expects you to know everything so you’ll most likely have questions, but there’s a big difference between asking questions to help you complete a task and asking questions because you think have a better idea of how to do something. Part 7 of How to be a Good Production Assistant talks about why it’s important to be seen and not heard.
Be seen, not heard. If you really have nothing to do and you’ve already tried all the suggestions from Part 4 of this blog series, don’t just slink away to a far corner where you can play Words with Friends on your phone assuming someone will call you on the walkie when they need you. Being seen means you’re available to help and more likely to be in the right place at the right time. Being “not heard” is just as important. There’s nothing more frustrating than a PA (or any other crew member) trying to give suggestions without being asked. If there’s something you really think is important to share, go to the person directly above you. If you’re asked for your opinion then by all means share away. That’s not to say that your opinion is not valid, but keep in mind that you were probably just brought onto the project for that day, while the director and client have been working on it for weeks and even months. A good director will often pull ideas from his surrounding crew, but this isn’t always the case.