Hello all! I wanted to pick your brains about getting a position in the G&E department on a union shoot. I've worked as a Grip and Lighting Tech. on a number of non-union indie films. I've also PA'd on a ton of reality shows and have been fortunate enough to be able to handle all the lighting. I've even gone as far as ordering gear and setting up lighting plots for the DP on one specific reality show. My question is: Is there a way to work on a union shoot as a G&E PA? I want to join my local union but I really feel I'd need the experience on a union shoot first. Thanks!


  • Hi! I know it's been a few weeks since you posted, but thought I'd lend my two cents. From what I've heard, the best place for PAs to start getting into G&E is by calling up rental houses and looking for work there. Through them, you can make contacts and find opportunities on productions.

    Best of luck!

  • G&E on union shoots don't have PA's. As the poster above me said, find work at G&E rental houses and you can go from there. I have seen a PA get hired as a grip on a union show one time because he would talk with the key grip a lot, and the key grip liked him.

  • edited March 2017

    There is no such thing as GRIP/ELECTRIC PA in union shows. First off: There are two separate departments. Period.

    This is what I think your situation is right now., you want to join the union because you feel you have the G&E skills to do so... Now question is How to prove it since you dont have actual grip or electric credits ?
    My friend, as a Gaffer that works on Reality Shows, corporate, and Indies, I can tell you that I have used that position of a G&E PA as my response to producers when they simply dont or cant allocate budget into my department in order to hire grips and electrics. Remember, for them is more about giving me some one to carry sandbags and stands and can also drive the production van at a pa flat rate, than offering my a qualified individual.
    When I mention that a G&E PA as my response is because I want to have someone with the required skills filling the position in the budget which usually comes with $25-50 higher on the rate and also, gets that person out of the flat time situation. Usually is is an on going training position for people that I as a gaffer know and want to train so they can eventually move up to either coordinating or G&E.
    My suggestion to you will be first, rely on your previous gaffer and key grip contacts and ask them to start hiring you as grip or electric so you can start building those credits in your sheet. Then try joining the union.

    Keep in mind something my friend, the G&E PA "solution" not position, was created production to reduce the expenses (equation: 1grip + 1 electric a day= 1 pa per week?), hence eliminating the work opportunities of the same people you now want try to join. I will go the first route and build up credits before going straight and join to the union

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