A background production assistant works in the AD department. Their main focus is to organize and oversee the background actors, or extras, on set.
A background pa works with the 2nd AD to prepare for the shoot day. They’ll organize vouchers for the extras and study the shooting schedule, script, and location maps. They will need to know where departments and bathrooms are, where extras will check-in, and where to hold extras as they wait to go on set. The bg pa will also plan for extra help from other PAs to control large crowds if needed.
Each day, the bg pa arrives early to get ready for extras. They will set up a visible check-in spot for extras, communicate with the 2nd AD as they arrive, and then guide them to hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The bg pa remains in communication with the 2nd AD about how long it is taking for extras to get ready, making any casting adjustments necessary to keep the shoot on schedule and the bg count as the director and 1st AD planned.