You see the picture posted above, it is what a $300 baby gift basket looks like. How do I know it costs that much? Well, because I assembled it. Yup, me. That was one of my job assignments while working as a production assistant for a film. Now you're probably wondering what does putting together a gift basket have to do with making movies…. absolutely nothing (or everything depending on what your title is).
Being a production assistant is typically the first step to working in films and the areas to work in vary: you could be a 'set pa' and be near the cameras, the director, the DP (director of photography); you could be the locations pa and get to learn how locations are chosen and all the necessary paperwork/permits needed to make it happen; you can also be the accounting pa where you learn how to correctly handle pay roll and deal with making sure all the vendors get paid correctly or you can be an office pa where you think you'll be working closely with the producers (and unit production manager/production coordinator) but what you'll really be doing is making sure crafty (food left out in the kitchen) is completely stocked, empty out trash bins, answer phones, take messages, forward calls and make the occasional baby gift basket.
Sure, there are producers running around but they are way too busy to explain to you what needs to get done to make this film happen. Though you do get to hear them yelling at people over the phone through the crack in their office doors.
Now I did do some paperwork but with the office pace at high levels, all the time, it's hard to find time for someone to sit by you and explain every last detail to you but picking up groceries – that needs no explanation at all. And so you do that – A LOT! (That and paying EZ Pass, dropping off equipment, making sure car rentals are clean before pickup too).
Now, in all fairness, I REALLY enjoyed putting together that gift basket. Initially I was told to simply buy a 'high-end' basket on-line and have it shipped to Brazil (because one of the producers wives had just had a baby girl there) ASAP! And I suggested that it would be easier to simply put it together myself (to guarnetee the high-endness) and have Fed Ex ship it for us. Luckily my buddy Justice (who was my 'in' for the job) agreed that my sense of style would render a great basket and off I went…Amex card in hand.
When else am I ever buying baby clothes in Bloomingdales? Ralph Lauren onesies? Bulgari anything (especially baby soaps)? A $50 burp clothe? Seriously, it's all in there….and I loved every minute of it (and got to feel, for the ever so brief moment, that, I too, had money to spend so lavishly).
And then I returned to the office and pass out everyones lunch orders because, you know, I'm in the movie business now.