On Studio 60 a few weeks ago, a comment was made about the production assistant, Suzanne, who was first to turn on the lights and make the coffee, and last to lock everything up, and these five or six, fourteen hours days paid only $350 a week.
When I landed my first paid p.a. (production assistant) gig thirteen years ago, the going rate was $125 a day. A couple years later, I was finding that the rate had made its way up to $150 a day. However, as time went on, up til today, the rate seems to have magically dropped to $115 a day, sometimes a little more.
While I’m removed from a grunt world of p.a. work, I still feel like the eager beavers are getting the shaft. To make things worse, studios and productions continue to abuse to concept of interns – unpaid labor who legally need to be working for college credit and under tight restrictions, but in reality are producer’s ways of getting people to fetch coffee and make photo copies for free. While the experience for an intern may be invaluable as a foot in the door, it gives an unfair advantage to kids who can afford to work for free, thus usually from better off families who can support the effort.
In any case, while I’m sure the working plebes have little time to spend online outside of MySpace, but I’m curious if any of readers are still working as an intern or production assistant, have considered doing so, or have graduated from those ranks.