Entry-Level Hollywood Assistant Salaries

UPDATE: Some extraordinary things have happened since the first post of “Entry-Level Hollywood Assistant Salaries” on Any Possibility in 2016. In 2019, the #PayUpHollywood movement started a conversation in the assistant community about fighting for better wages. That conversation was picked up by the media and supported by people in higher places who advocated change.

Verve was the first agency to make a change, raising assistant salaries up to 40%. Assistants at Verve now make $18.50-$20 an hour. Then CAA followed suit by raising their pay above minimum wage (which is $15 an hour) to $18 an hour. ICM raised its rates to $20 an hour. UTA is the highest paying at $22-$26 an hour for assistants, which is much more on par with what the pay should be for the experience and requirements of the job. This information is important because agencies often set the precedent for wages across the assistant board – this means for production companies, studios, networks, etc. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but this is a great start!

Pay Rate for Hollywood Assistants

Entry-level Hollywood assistant salaries might give you a heart attack when you factor in the cost of living in Los Angeles. The minimum wage in Los Angeles County as of July 2021 is $15.00 an hour for both large and small businesses.

From the 2000s well into the 2010s, the base salary for an entry-level assistant job in the entertainment industry hovered around $600-$650 a week. While the cost of living in California kept climbing each year, wages went stagnant. Then another hard truth – hardly any assistants worked a forty-hour week. Workdays are usually 9-12 hours depending on the season or type of office/production environment (writer’s room, post house, etc).

Another hard truth is that “entry-level” doesn’t mean what it implies in Hollywood. You might be “entry-level” for the first ten years of your career as a junior-level Hollywood professional in an assistant or coordinator role. Moving up isn’t what it once was. Stagnant wages started translated into stagnant upward mobility.

I rounded up the following salary information by doing something unorthodox and asking the people I know how much money they make. Going in, I had some theories. One was that baseline entry-level salaries are all pretty much the same. The second being that assistants are overworked and underpaid. So let me give a huge, huge thanks to the anonymous assistants who helped pull together this information.

The following are estimated salary rates for assistants at agencies, management companies, and production companies as well as salaries for television assistants in proximity to the writers’ room such as showrunner’s assistants, writers’ assistants, writers’ PAs, and post PAs.

Sources to check out: 

Anonymous Excel Sheet: 2019 Assistant Salaries

Variety: Hollywood Chain is Broken

LA Times: #PayUpHollywood explained

#PayUpHollywood Survey: Liz Alper explains

New York Times: Assistants are Fed Up

Types of Hollywood Assistants

Agency Assistant

Rates & Raises: Many agencies work on an hourly rate plus overtime.

As of 2020, agency assistants make $18-$26/hr. UTA pays $22-$26. CAA pays $18/hr. ICM pays $20/hr. Verve pays $18.50-$20/hr. Because of COVID-19, overtime has been cut at many places, so that’s a consideration going forward.

In 2019, that’s $14-$15 an hour plus overtime. More if you’re at a coordinator level or have gotten yearly raises. Yearly salary seems to be around $31-33k.

One friend reported making $11.50 an hour (x1.5 overtime) at a major agency around 2015-2016. Another reported $11.25 an hour with overtime after 8 hours (a typical day is 9 hours, more during pilot season if you work in talent theatrical). They ended at $12.50 in 2013. When the company hired a new assistant, they went back to the initial rate. In a third instance, the rate was salaried at $600 a week.

Major agency raise was less than 50 cents over year. Some companies raise 25 cents every six months.

Benefits: Full healthcare benefits after 3 months, 2 weeks paid time off during holidays

Negotiation: No room for negotiation at major agencies, sometimes room for negotiation at a boutique or smaller companies.

Bonus: Several hundred dollars at the end of the year.

Management Assistant

Rates & Raises: Management companies tend to be smaller than agencies and pay similarly or less. In 2019, salaries ranged from $500-$800 a week including overtime ($500 is illegal).

Older example: In one instance, someone started at $500 a week and worked their way to $800 a week over four years. Another started at $26,000 a year and is working for about $40,000 a year in 2016.

Benefits: Healthcare included for one friend, but not for two others at different companies. Expense accounts, 2 weeks paid time off during holidays

Negotiation: No one negotiated their initial salary, but many negotiated pay, expenses, travel to festivals, etc… over time.

Bonus: Holiday bonus of several hundred dollars in one instance and $1500 in another.

Production Company Assistant

Rate & Raises: The yearly salary seems to average around $40-$45k for entry-level, though some smaller companies offer much less. It’s about $15 an hour in 2019 for smaller companies. A coordinator might make $20 an hour depending on the business, sometimes much more.

One person reported an hourly rate of less than $12 an hour with overtime at x1.5. This was for 2012-2013. Another person quoted $30-$35k a year.

Benefits: Healthcare included.

Negotiation: Took what was offered. No room for negotiation.

Bonus: No bonus, but gift from boss


Rate & Raises: This is typically a minimum wage job. For a 40 hour work week, the pay would be around $600 a week or more depending on the company in 2021.

In 2016, one person started at $26,000 a year and ended at $27,000 a year.

Benefits: Healthcare included.

Negotiation: No one negotiated.

Bonus: Small bonuses, typically around $100.

Post PA

Rate & Raises: $650/week with overtime after 11 hours. Studio standard increases pay by 3% after a year, making the salary for the 2014-2015 year $670 a week.

Benefits: Healthcare (small amount deducted from paycheck to cover costs)

Negotiation: Attempted to negotiate after one year, was shut down.

Bonus: No bonus. A gift card from boss.

Writers’ PA

Rate & Raises: $700-750/week with overtime after 12 hours in 2019

Benefits: Healthcare included (small amount deducted from paycheck to cover costs).

Negotiation: Took what was offered

Bonus: N/A

Writers’ Assistant

Rates & Raises: As of 2021 under the IATSE union, the pay should be around $1540/week for a guaranteed 60 hour work week, which breaks down to $22/hr. There is usually a stipend for computers and cell phones.

Rates for this job have a variable based on perceived experience and the company that’s paying. A first-time writers’ assistant may be paid less than someone who has done it before or someone who is already working on the show and transitions into the role.

Older Numbers: In 2019, a 60-hour workweek pulled in $800-$1000. In 2016, the approximate entry-level rate for this position at a major studio was around $750-$900 a week. Pay raised about 2% per year. The pay is broken down hourly. So, it is one rate for 40 hours and then x1.5 for the next 20 hours and double time for anything over that.

Benefits: Healthcare (small amount deducted from paycheck to cover costs). The two-week holiday break is usually unpaid (unlike at agencies or management offices).

Negotiation: Can be negotiated.

Bonus: On one show there was no bonus, but the bosses gave one out of pocket. On another show, the bonus was several hundred dollars.

Check out this interview with a writers’ assistant for more info: HERE

Showrunner’s Assistant

Rate & Raises: In 2019, it’s about $750-950/week depending on overtime and the company.

In 2016, the average rate is between $700/week to start and $850/week for a more seasoned assistant (including a laptop rental fee for the use of a personal laptop). Someone recently told me that the set rate for a showrunner’s assistant in their first year on a show at one major studio is $12.80 an hour plus 1.5x overtime.

Benefits: Healthcare included (small amount deducted from paycheck to cover costs).

Negotiation: Did not negotiate.

Bonus: Holiday bonus of $600.

Check out this interview with a showrunner’s assistant for more info: HERE

Script Coordinator

Rate & Raises: As of 2021 via the IATSE union, the pay should be $1750/week for about 60 hours a week with a computer and cell stipend on top of that. The hours for this job are very demanding as script coordinators can be on call at all hours.

Older information: In 2016, a seasoned coordinator made $1000/week as a script coordinator.

Benefits: Healthcare included (small amount deducted from paycheck to cover costs).

Negotiation: Room for negotiation

Bonus: Several hundred dollars


Rate & Raises: Readers are often paid per script. Rates vary tremendously.

Full coverage rates go from $60-$130 per script for non-union freelancing (found at production companies, agencies, contests, etc…), but $75 is a good starting point ($60 is low for a feature). A more experienced reader starts at $100 plus. Some companies, which do not require full coverage, like the Blacklist, pay readers $40+ per script.

As of 2021, union reading and non-union studio work pays $30-$48 an hour.

Rates may vary on the type of material: pilots (30-60 pages), features (90-120 pages), or books (middle-grade, YA, adult, etc).

Benefits: No benefits, technically self-employed.

Negotiation: Did not negotiate.

Bonus: No.

Set PA

It’s a minimum wage job. In 2019, that would be around $210 for a 12 hour day.

(Older info 2016: Minimum wage is $140 per 12 hour day. That’s $10 an hour for 8 hours plus $15 an hour for 4 hours.)

Check out The Anonymous Production Assistant‘s site for more info on being a PA.

You should know:

  • A company under five people does not have to provide you with healthcare.
  • Hours are typically 9AM-7PM, longer in production environments or during something like pilot season in representation.
  • 1099 employees need to be registered as a business.
  • Salaried employees do not get overtime.
  • Lunch is typically one hour.
  • You might need a side gig to boost your income.
  • Shows have an unpaid hiatus between seasons, ranging from weeks to months. You can collect unemployment during this time.
  • An assistant also brought to my attention that on shows “sometimes there is a ‘rental fee’ of $25 or $50 per week paid for [the use of my personal laptop]. This money is not taxed and you are sent a 1099 for it later. For example, this $50 is included in the $850/week I make.”
  • For help making your resume pop, check out Hollywood Resumes.

This roundup is not scientific. Keep in mind that these rates may vary. And, as always, let me know if you have a different experience! I’ll keep it updated.