Being a runner/PA is the basic go to entry level job for anyone who wishes to work in the film industry. It’s the lowest junior job role that spreads out into all departments. Being a runner gives you the opportunity to see how a film set works from the inside. The job lets you take a look at all departments before you decide which direction to go within.
The jobs vary from set to set, budget to budget. On low budget jobs a runner position might feel more like an assistant producer role. You might have to read lines with actors, you might be asked to set up a light (on low budget films anything goes but either way experience is experience).
If your looking to get paid well for a runner position look towards the big production companies BBC, Working Title, Universal, UK BECTU rates suggest runners get paid at least £10 ($15) an hour. Recently a friend of a friend got a 6 month gig as a runner for a major studio . I looked him up and here is what he had to about the work –
Quote from a runner working on a film set in London 2016
I’m working as a runner for a major studio, I got the work from a friend of a friend and moved to London from the northwest of England. As a runner I do a bit of everything from making teas to filing – any of the boring jobs no one else has been assigned to do. The work is good I get to see all of the varied roles on a film set. I work 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week from 7am-7pm. I’m working in the accountancy department so I am on the film for 8 months from pre-production-post. The pay works out as National Minimum wage (about £6.70 per hour). The production pays for my meals so I need only pay for accommodation whilst I am here. The plan is to keep friendly with everyone and move on to more crew based work after this production ends.