A Day In The Life of a Production Assistant

Working in production, no two days are the same. From taking charge of the tea round to handling the talent, Production Assistant Rosie Portal sees it all. Having worked at Locate for over a year, here, she takes us through her day.

Mornings begin at 4am

Working hours are typically 9 – 6, but in this world, nothing is that predictable. We really don’t know what will be thrown at us at the last minute, so rigidity isn’t an option – there are a lot of late nights and early mornings, and on a shoot day we can be on set as early as 4am!


A close-knit team

One of the things I love about my job is how well we all get on. We tend to eat lunch together most days, and there’s always someone to lend a hand or an ear if needed. It’s nice to be in such an open and friendly environment. Outside of the core Locate team I spend a lot of time working with new people on set, which is a great way to really immerse myself in whatever project we’re doing. Situations like these really highlight the importance of being a team player, and of being able to adapt to different environments and situations.

Keeping the client happy

A big part of my job is ensuring the client is happy, which is obviously hugely important. I go to a lot of castings and so spend a fair bit of time liaising with casting directors and stylists etc, ensuring everyone involved in the process has read the brief, understood it, and is happy with next steps. A lot of things I do for the client can be quite time consuming, but more often than not a lot of fun. There’s a lot of pressure to get things done, and a lot of expectations to be met. I always try to go above and beyond, and will get the client whatever they need to feel comfortable. If they need a red car for a recce, for example, I will do everything in my power to get my hands on that red car. Sounds simple, but when no car companies have a red car in, it becomes quite a task!

Organisation is key

I look after a lot of models and talent, making sure everyone turns up on time, has places to park, and know what they need to bring on the day. I’m in charge of creating call sheets and scheduling time to ensure cast and crew know exactly where they need to be, what day and what time. I also research and book hotels to ensure everyone has somewhere to stay, and when we do car shoots, I find parking and overnight security for the vehicles. We do a lot of these types of shoots and it is super important to make sure that the ‘hero’ cars are secure. This can all be trickier for international shoots, as there are often different customs and time zone constraints to be aware of, but I always make sure it gets done!

A good cup of tea is very important

Set days are brilliant; it’s so nice to see all of your pre-production work coming to life, and to see everyone knuckling down and getting stuck in. A shoot day is very hands on, with a lot of responsibility. It’s important to never underestimate how much work goes into these things. Even getting the smallest task done can have so much impact to someone else’s schedule. There are a lot of logistics to work out on set days, and a lot of running around, but the energy of the team is great. There’s nothing quite like it. A word of advice I’d give to anyone looking to take on this kind of role is to just give your all, even if all you’re doing is making cups of tea – a good cup of tea is very important on set.

No day is the same

Life in this job alters drastically depending on whether we are on set or in the office. It’s never monotonous and there’s always something new to work on, which I like – there’s never a risk of being bored or having nothing to do. I can’t stress this enough, there’s so much variety. From day to day I can be doing anything from location research alongside our scouts, taking part in conference calls with new clients, and running around on set making sure everyone is fed and watered. There are perks to both working in the office and being on set, but personally I most enjoy being out in the thick of it.

Feelings of jet lag

We sometimes have a few shoots back to back, so after work I tend to just relax and catch up on sleep. It’s a funny feeling coming off a shoot, especially. I often find my mind stuck in organisation mode, full of adrenaline. I can be lying there trying to unwind and just be going over and over everything in my head, it’s a little like having jet lag. You really do have to adjust to a busy working environment in this job as it can be very full on, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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