A time that sucked:
We were shooting what was supposed to be a quick driving scene out in the desert. (Any time someone says something is going to be quick or easy, bad omen.)There were all of these winding driveways that were so long you couldn't even see the homes on the ranches they led to. PAs are dropped off at each driveway for lockups. We're so far apart, you can't see the next PA. It's BLAZING HOT. This was the same week the soles of my shoes melted because the ground temperature was 144°, as measured by the medic. So, we're all out there DEEP and far away in the heat. Radio reception is shotty, but I can still hear clearly enough to understand.
An actor, whom I won't name, decided to refuse to work until the scene was rewritten and wouldn't come out of their personal vehicle to come shoot. They waited until we were set and ready to go to throw this fit. They were a producer on the movie/franchise and surely had read the material before that afternoon. How long were we out there? Too long.
This is when the job sucks. At least I had my sun gear.
A time I felt supported:
Everyone has a horror story or 5 from PAing but there are those moments when you're very grateful for those with whom you work. Years ago, I was headed to work on location through mountainous terrain. My car gave out on an incline, as in the engine literally blew and an enormous plume of smoke came out of the front. After managing not to get in an accident, get towed and get an Uber, I made it to location. I'd called my bosses on the way in and let them know I'd be late.
The rest of the week they made sure to either personally pick me up for work or have someone come get me until I got a new car, and I was a DAY PLAYER. For all of the wild stories people have, I think there are far more people who are the kindhearted helpers Mr. Rogers taught us to look for.
Another time I felt supported:
I was working on a feature and all of the call times got pulled up. Somehow everyone got the email and memo except the guy running base camp...ME. So, I'm driving into work and get a call from my boss like,” Where are you?" "I'm in the car on the way in, what's up?" I'm cool. I still have no idea that I'm late. He tells me call got pulled up and I'm immediately sick.
I get into work and #2 on the call sheet comes in hot, but she's not mad at me. She wants to make sure that no one was mean to me, and she's ready to fight if they were. Then she informs me that she, and a couple of other members of the cast, had PAed before. They got base running and started themselves through the works. True professionals that cast. I will always love them. Haha.
Same show, but for those who think PAs only make coffee runs:
So, I'm running base and #10, who'd been a PA in a former life, calls me on the phone. She's got this voice like I'm her dad and she's about to tell me she fucked up at school. She tells me she's stuck on the freeway in a car she borrowed from a friend, and she's out of gas.
We had a lot going on that morning. Transportation was in the middle of moving a bunch of trailers, doing some returns and the captain was in a grumpy mood. I go up to him and I can tell he doesn't want to be bothered. I tell him the situation and he's like, “What do you want me to do? I can't spare anyone to help you right now." I'm pleading my case, trying to talk him into helping me. I managed not only to get him to give me one driver but THREE. I sent one driver to go get her and immediately bring her to base to start getting ready. I sent the fueler to put gas in her car and a third driver with the fueler to drive her car to base. I get her ready ON SCHEDULE and then after all of that stress they decide to change the scenes we're shooting that day and it doesn't even matter.
Also, my bosses never wanted to know the details or drama of getting folks ready in base, just if they were going to be ready by call. I finessed that whole situation and none of them knew.