TV Production Assistant Job Facts

Most people working in production assistant roles are in the process of developing their careers into higher scale jobs in TV production. The production assistant jobs are important experience in the practical elements of the industry. TV production assistants have role based jobs and work within an industry that creates a vast range of career opportunities.

A typical day

Sandy, like most experienced TV production people, is a good self manager. He arrives early, 8AM, before the boss, and goes to work on the various jobs which have accumulated since 8PM last night. Sandy works in live TV, which is a very demanding production regime, requiring faultless production before streaming.

As expected, an email from Bob, the producer, is waiting for Sandy. Bob hired Sandy on his media qualifications and personality. He soon learned that Sandy was an excellent organizer with good interpersonal skills and a real flair for understanding the needs of the job. Bob is now happy to give Sandy some of the tougher jobs, like the first job in his emails, which is finding out what's going on with the studio lighting. Bob had an interested call from network management on the subject at 11PM last night. Sandy then finds the lighting manager, and works with the studio’s electrician to fix the problem. The next job is actual Sandy's scheduled production work, getting training from the camera crew and the production board team in TV studio production operations. Sandy's job is very useful in terms of his media studies, and the direct experience is a real career advantage at entry level. 

Sandy now goes to work on the rest of his production assistant work. A lot of production work happens off the screen. Sandy's work includes:

  • Writing camera scripts, timing schedules, shot lists and logs for post production: This is literally a "map" of camera work, scripting angles, shots, and content.
  • Checking copyrights and external materials for royalty requirements: All materials not in the public domain broadcast may involve payments.
  • Scheduling, attending production planning meetings: TV shows, particularly live shows are structured on carefully managed schedules and involve a range of production operations.
  • Liaising with everybody involved in the production: This includes scripts, continuity, publicity, public inquiries, artists and their agents, and internal clients.

The career environment

The production assistant role is very variable. Some production assistants work on location with a live crew, others work in  "back room" production, the heart of the broadcasting production process, working with every facet of TV production. Although production assistants often specialize in a particular role in their own production careers, this very broad based experience is absolutely essential. All TV production is integrated and coordinated by the production manager. A production assistant learns the business from the basics upwards. It's the basis of a great career.