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Home » All Posts » Recent Media X grad Mike Camacho tells us what it’s like to work on the set of “Dear Evan Hansen”

Recent Media X grad Mike Camacho tells us what it’s like to work on the set of “Dear Evan Hansen”

June 5 wasn’t an ordinary Saturday for Media X graduate Mike Camacho ’21. The recent grad received an opportunity to work as a production assistant during a reshoot for “Dear Evan Hansen,” the movie version of the Tony award-winning musical, which will be in theaters starting Sept. 24.  

He was eager to share his experience working on set at Universal Studios and give insight into the kind of work production assistants perform.  

Q: What does a production assistant do? 

A: Production assistants (PA) can do a lot of different things. In a way, it’s kind of like you do what you’re asked to do and whatever else is needed to be done. So that might be going to talk to a cast member, telling them that their shoot is coming up in five minutes or retrieving equipment for shoots to start or getting breakfast for all the actors. Essentially, you’re assisting the production department, which I know sounds redundant, but that is the best way to explain it. 

Q: What did you do during your workday?  

A: Specifically, what I did for “Dear Evan Hansen” was I started off by delivering breakfasts to all the extras and to all the cast and crew at six in the morning, which was fun. Then I did what’s called walk-ups. I was stationed at a certain part of the set where somebody could walk onto the shoot, or perhaps make a lot of noise, and while the camera was rolling, I was in charge of making sure sound was down and people were not walking into the shot.  

Q: Have you ever done PA work before? 

No, this is my first experience which is funny enough because I was dubbed the “Green PA,” which means that everybody knows that this was my first time doing something like this. 

Q: What was the most memorable moment from this experience? 

A: I have two memorable moments. The first one, though, specifically relates to being a PA and sitting there and watching how the shots are being made. It’s really fascinating to watch 200 individuals set up an entire scene that’s only going to take five seconds to film. How many things really go into the shot just blew my mind. It’s such a well-oiled machine and it just works and it works really smoothly. On top of that, I did get to go to Universal Studios Backlot for one of the shots, so that was really cool. Being on Elm Street as well as being right across the street from the “Jaws” set.  

The second memorable moment was that I got to be an extra in the movie! 

Q: What is a reshoot and why does it happen? 

A: So, a reshoot is essentially taking scenes that you have already filmed and doing them again. So “Dear Evan Hansen” has already been filmed in its entirety but maybe the director doesn’t like how a shot ended up or maybe they would like it from a different angle. It allows the production company and the production itself to have more angles on certain shots, or perhaps to redo an entire shot so they have more options when it goes into postproduction. 

Q: What made you interested in film and the Media X major?  

A: My career interests had flipped so many times in the four years leading up to going to college. For a while didn’t know what I wanted to do and in my senior year of high school, I was kind of freaking out.  

One day I was sitting in my front room watching “Dragon Ball Z,” which is one of my favorite shows and I realized that I still love cartoons, and I love watching movies, and I love, you know, diving into all these worlds and understanding how stuff gets created that way. I found it all fascinating and thought that I would love to do that as a career. 

So originally when I started at Pacific, I wanted to do animations for cartoons, but I slowly found my way into the production side working with camera equipment, audio equipment and doing the jobs that the production system does. I just found that all to be fascinating. 

In the end, it was just my love of cartoons and my love of movies and creative outlets that led me to the Media X major

Q: Is there a dream project you really want to work on? 

A: I still love cartoons so I would love to one day be able to produce my own cartoon and have it air on a big cable network or streaming service like Nickelodeon, Netflix, Cartoon Network or Disney. That would be my dream goal.  

Q: Is there anything else about the PA opportunity that you want to talk about? 

It was just an incredible experience. I mean, it was a long day. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning. I got to the set at 6 a.m. and there are two things that the assistant director told me that are very true: PA’s do not sit and they are always doing something. I was moving around every single hour, every single minute that we were shooting and doing something, and we ended at 12:30 at night. 

I would do it again if I could or if the opportunity came up. It’s an incredible experience just to see how it all comes together, and I’m forever grateful to Jonathan McGarry for allowing me this opportunity. I’m still in awe that I was able to actually do it. And on top of that, being extra in the movie. So hey, you get to see me in the movie, hopefully. 

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