Confessions of a PA

 

Hi, my name is Bethany Henthorne. I am a Freshman at Arizona State University studying Film. I will be writing a blog about experiences I have had from working as a production assistant and during my journey thus far at ASU. I will try to update my posts at least 1-2 times a month.

I have grown up in this business. I have been fortunate to have opportunities to work on some pretty cool projects. I am learning and growing with each show.  One experience I recently had left me fearing I didn’t have what it takes to make it, when a simple errand almost went wrong.

I was working on the Soul Train Awards last November in Las Vegas.  My job title was Production Associate – and I was eager to jump in and do as much as I could for the show. My first day was seamless – I was busy helping the script-writers and production; making copies, delivering script changes, going on Starbucks runs – whatever they needed. Show day was on my second day, and that was when things got a little dicey….I was assigned to go on a run to get a black button down shirt. The task at hand was quite simple. I was given a $50 bill, a picture of the shirt that was needed in a size large, and the store I was supposed to go to. After a quick google map search, I found the nearest store located on the strip in Las Vegas inside of the Paris, Paris Hotel. I was honestly so excited to go on a shopping run, rather than the normal coffee run. Aside from the fact that I love shopping, I figured this task would be a breeze.  It was early afternoon, and the show was going to start in a couple of hours.  Still – Plenty of time!

Staying focused on my run, knowing I needed to get this shirt back ASAP – I avoided the urge to pop into a few of my favorite stores as I passed by. I went into the designated store and showed a saleswoman a picture of the shirt I needed. She took me to the section where the shirts were located, and I picked a shirt from the ones she showed me. I brought it up to the checkout and the total was about $16. I went into my wallet to get the $50 that I was given, but couldn’t find it. It’s okay, I thought, maybe I just put it in my backpack. At first I was calm, then became more panicked as there was no sign of the cash. I tore through my backpack to try and find the money, but I couldn’t find it. My stomach dropped to my feet. I could tell the clerk checking me out was getting impatient, so I handed over my personal cash, and walked out fretting of what was to come.

I could feel defeat and the tears started welling up. So, what does one do who is new in the business and not wanting to royally screw up their big break?? I called my mom. “Mom they’re going to fire me. I lost their money. This is my first big job in the industry and I completely screwed it up. I can’t believe I lost $50!”  My mom didn’t seem as upset as I thought she should have – I mean I was going to be FIRED. She calmly told me to double check everywhere I could’ve left it, check the car, check my wallet – which I did and still couldn’t find it. While still on the phone with her, I went to my car as fast as I could to see if it had fallen on the floor, but no luck. How could this happen to me? I told her I had to go, and hung up. I had to figure this out because the clock was ticking.

I sat down in the driver’s seat trying to collect myself. I decided I would have to pay for the shirt so I needed an ATM to get enough cash out to give them their exact change. I accepted that I was going to be out the $50 from my own money, which was a third of my day’s pay.

As I shifted in my seat, I felt a crinkle in my back pocket…and there it was; the crisp $50 bill! I let out a huge sigh of relief knowing that I would not get fired nor would I be out $50. I still needed to get the change for the purchase. This involved two more stops, an ATM to get cash of my own to use to get correct change, and a store to make a small purchase in order to get the change.  What should have been an hour run, turned into two as I worked it through. I slipped back into the production office quietly…placing the shirt and the change on the producer’s desk.  I made it back in time!

I added a note, confessing the reason the receipt showed why a $20 bill was used and not the $50. I never heard another word about the errand…were they chuckling at my misfortune, purely confused by the note…or did I handle it the best I could and they didn’t want me humiliated further….either way – lesson learned.

The rest of the show went great – I loved working on a live-to-tape production. Everyone was really nice and I learned a ton. Looking forward to my next adventure.

 

 

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