What is a First Assistant Director
Category: Movie Job Descriptions
The job of the First Assistant Producer (First AD / 1st AD) is to be the Director’s right hand man. And is responsible for the logistics and set ups, so the Director can focus on the creative aspect of filming.
In pre-production the First AD, alone and sometimes with the Production Manager will breakdown the script into a strip board and a shooting schedule to make filming economically practical.
The 1st AD also coordinates all on-set production activity, from cast and crew, and organizing the course of production activity. He is also in contact with the production office, updating production schedules and filming progress.
The 1st AD also has several assistants, which include a 2nd AD, 2nd 2nd AD, and in some cases a 3rd AD, and of course production assistants. They are also in charge of the health and well –being of all cast and crew on set, and must be aware of any possible hazards.
While filming progresses on set the 1st AD must be aware of the time and hours worked, to coordinate break time for first meal and, in overtime, second meal.
They are also in charge of the coordination any changes in the shooting schedule and informing the 2nd AD on all information for the daily call sheets.
A strong 1st AD is authoritative, a team leader, motivator and most of all a multi-tasker.
During shooting on set you will hear the 1st AD doing the call outs i.e. “Waiting on..”, “Quiet on the Set”, “Final Checks Please!”, “Pictures up!”, “Roll Sound”, “Roll Camera”, “Background Action!”, “Going Again!”, “Back to One!”, “Checking the Gate!”, “Moving on!”
It is not unusual for a First Assistant Director, who has worked with a director on several projects to also, be given the credit of co-producer on the final project.