Is this role right for me?
To do this role, you will need to:
What does a First Assistant Director (First AD) do?
First ADs' main duties are assisting the Director, co-ordinating all production activity, and supervising the cast and crew. They are also in charge of a department of other Assistant Directors and Runners.
Overall, they provide the key link between the Director, cast and crew, whilst also liaising with the production office, and providing regular progress reports about the shoot.
Before the shoot, the Firsts' main task is to create the filming schedule, working in careful consultation with the Director. When drawing up the shooting schedule, First ADs must also be aware of the budget, cast availability and script coverage.
Preparing the storyboard, overseeing the hiring of locations, props and equipment and checking weather reports are all key pre-production duties for Firsts.
During production, they must ensure that everyone is on standby and ready for the Director's cue for action.
First ADs' main responsibility is to keep filming on schedule by driving it forward, so they make announcements and give directions to co-ordinate the cast and crew. They also control discipline on the set, supervise the other Assistant Directors and oversee the preparation of the daily 'call sheet' (a document with daily shooting logistics, distributed to all cast and crew).
Firsts are also responsible for health and safety on set or location, and must take action to eliminate or minimise hazards.
Will I need a qualification?
You don’t need a formal qualification to become a First Assistant Director.
In particular, you will need specific experience in planning and budgeting (and how this affects scheduling), as well as in-depth knowledge of, and qualifications in, current health and safety legislation and procedures.
You should take regular health and safety training courses to keep this knowledge up to date.
You will need a full driving licence.
What's the best route in?
You can expect to start your career by getting work experience as a Runner on a film set or in a production office before working your way up through Third Assistant Director and Second Assistant Director.