5 Set Roles Every PA Should Know

5 Set Roles Every PA Should Know

Congratulations! You’ve decided to dip your toes in the world of film and video production. Now you’re wondering what path you’ll focus on. There are literally hundreds of jobs within our industry and as a PA you’re positioned to learn about them all. However, it’s good to have some kind of focus.

Here are 5 of the most common roles we see on set in today’s world.


By definition, “a person responsible for the financial and managerial aspects of making of a movie or broadcast or for staging a play, opera, etc.

Think of producers as the group leaders of the production. They develop the project through idea conception, script finalization, financing, and manage the entire production team on each job.


By definition, “a person who supervises the actors, camera crew, and other staff for a movie, play, television program, or similar production”

Probably the first role you think of when it comes to making a movie. The director is responsible for the overall assembly of the film. The director, while responsible for the overall vision, is inextricably linked to every other department.

DP / Cinematographer

By definition, “a person who oversees or directs photography and camerawork in movie-making, especially one who operates the camera.”

The cinematographer, the person with the camera, is also known as the DP (Director of Photography). They work closely with the director to develop the overall look of what you’re shooting. They communicate with the Grip and Gaff departments to create the best camera and lighting setup.

1st AD

By definition, “tracks daily progress against the filming production schedule, arranging logistics, preparing daily call sheets, checking cast and crew, and maintaining order on the set.

The 1st AD is absolutely one of the most important jobs on set. They keep everyone, even the director, on schedule. They also assure set safety which is always critical.


According to MediaMatch, “Grips’ responsibility is to build and maintain all the equipment that supports cameras. This equipment, which includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs, is constructed of delicate yet heavy duty parts requiring a high level of experience to operate and move.

The Grip department is doing the majority of the heavy lifting on set. They are in charge of building anything the camera will be used on. They also work closely with the Gaff department.

We’ll explore Gaff and more next time!