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Production Assistant

by Staff Reporter
If you have an interest in working on creative projects and collaborating with different people then a career as a Production Assistant could be for you.

Career Overview

A Production Assistant works with different departments on production sets (film, television etc) as needed for various jobs and support tasks.  This career path can possibly be unpredictable and what you pursue in varsity or college may not necessarily be the key to a secure job. Experience and working on different productions is usually what will contribute to being a really well rounded Production Assistant.  

Required School Subjects

There are no specific subjects that are mandatory for this career however any creative subjects are recommended.

Recommended subjects:

  • Visual Arts
  • Design 
  • Dramatic Arts
  • Business Studies

Institution and APS

The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in the arts:

  • AFDA – No APS required
  • Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) – No specific APS required
  • University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – APS of 34+The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in the arts:

Required Qualification/s

In order to qualify as a Production Assistant, you will need to gain some experience in the industry.  In addition to this, it is useful to have a fomral qualification in the arts.  This could be from a private college, university or university of technology.  There are a variety of film courses that are available.  Another option could be to study towards a Bachelor of Arts qualification or a Higher Certificate in Film.  

Required Skills

You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Production Assistant:

  • Flexibility
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Eye for detail
  • Editing/styling (bonus)
  • Copy-writing

Where you can work

Production Assistants can either freelance and work for various production houses and join different crews with each show, or they can be contracted to working for a specific production company for an extended period of time.

Working Hours

The nature of the film/television industry often includes early mornings and very late nights (eg. 5am – 12pm) and Production Assistants will often be required to be present on set before shoots begin. They will also often be required to prepare certain tasks before the shoot commences. This will, however, vary from production to production and work hours can either be a lot longer or even shorter.

Expected Salary

A Production Assistant with less than 1 year experience can earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of R88 151 (based on 15 salaries). A Production Assistant with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R125 126 (based on 29 salaries). A Production Assistant with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R138 000 (based on 10 salaries).

What to expect

A Production Assistant plays a big role in the creation of a film or television production. They often work with a lot of the administrative tasks from the inception of the project and the idea till the actual shoot and production days. Production Assistants also at times work with the performers or guests of the shows in production around logistical arrangements such as scripts and making sure they are prepared for the shoot. This sort of job will require individuals to think on their feet, be versatile and ready for anything.

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