An Awesome First Day as a P.A.

Last week I had the opportunity to act as a PA (that’s Hollywood speak for Production Assistant) on a commercial shoot for the 60th Anniversary of Korean War Commemoration Committee.  We call them ‘KW60’.  It rolls off the tongue a bit easier.  I learned a lot on set and can’t wait to shoot my next commercial.

The commercial will help launch the “Heroes Remembered: Voices of Korean War Veterans” Oral History Project.  The project is a joint venture between the GI Film Festival and KW60.  The purpose of the project is to encourage students attending high school to learn more about the “Forgotten War” while helping to preserve the stories of Korean War Veterans.  The commercial is one more way we’re reaching out to students to get them involved in this important project.

We spent all day shooting scenes of teens hanging out, working with their teachers and testing their skills as amateur filmmakers.  We shot all day at three different locations.  I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed that we did all of this with one PA, one producer and one director!  From what my friends in the industry have told me over the years, coming in on budget and on time with a skeleton crew is unheard of.  I’d like to believe that it speaks to the high-caliber of professionalism of everyone involved.

By the time we finished we had a strong set of imagery, the ‘actors’ were still having fun and we were all ready for dinner and a good night’s sleep!

Lessons learned:

  • Adaptability is key!

I know that anyone that has been involved in any kind of shoot – commercial, feature, documentary, etc – knows this lesson and hopefully you’re nodding your head empathetically.  Wardrobe malfunctions, rainy skies and AWOL actors can make or break your shoot if can’t adapt and overcome!  A life lesson succinctly put by our friends, the Brits, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  I think that these challenges can set free creativity and encourage ingenuity.

  • I need to learn a lot more about lighting.

Think that one is self-explanatory and I’ll write about my quest to become a lighting expert in future blogs.

  • We have an abundance of awesome young actors in Northern VA.

A brand-new generation of actors is coming of age in the DC area.  They have stories to tell.  Whether new experiences unique to their generation or old universally true stories with a new twist, they have different viewpoints and opinions about how to tell them.  I was blown away by their poise, maturity level and genuine awesomeness!

I can’t wait to work on my next shoot

In case this blog entry has piqued your interest, you can learn more at  There’s lots of time left to participate!

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