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assistant director, 1st assistant director part1

assistant réalisateur, 1er assistant réalisateur partie1

Job Profile

1st Assistant director

 

This week I’m going to talk to you about the assistant director, finally, to be more fair, I’ll tell you about the 1st assistant director. This is not an article I will provide you with on the dole, but rather 3 : 1er assistant director, second assistant director and third assistant director.

The articles for the 2nd and 3rd arrive later since it is essential to differentiate these 3 posts for you to understand how is structured a shooting and the role of the assistant directors. If a shoot needs so many assistant directors, is that there are several reasons why ;o)

Before entering the heart of the subject, know that this job profile is particularly dear to me. If you follow the blog for a while, you know that…

this is my (one of my) business ;o)

I’m not going to suggest to you to interview…myself, to talk to you about each position, even if I know them all. Instead, I will introduce you to some assistants with whom I work or who I worked with. The article is in two parts, I’ll post those INTERVIEWS later ;o).

You can, in this way, you have even more evidence , of course, and especially visions on these trades exciting.

Assistant director, what is it ?

I often say to people who ask me what is my profession, that an assistant director is like a master to work on a construction site. His work is to prepare and coordinate.

The first assistant director second and accompany the director in his project, both artistically than technically

He works closely with the director, he also collaborates with the production manager and the location manager.

Once on the plateau, the first assistant director runs the shoot, ensures that the actors are there and ready, co-ordinates all team leaders in order to optimize the time for the director to make his actors direction in the best conditions. The assistant director is also responsible for upholding the peace on the plateau. This is why you hear a shout : ” SILENCE “ on a fairly regular basis ;o)

With the help of the second assistant director, he plans the next day thanks to a document referred to as : the leaf of service.

The first assistant director works with a second and a third assistant director.

The work of the first assistant director is a multiple

Prior to the preparation (pre-preparation)

The first assistant director , started his work even before the preparation of the film has started. It is responsible for the production of make a pre-plan of work in order to evaluate the time of the shooting and the constraints. This will allow the production manager to adjust their quote and whether the project is feasible. In addition, it tracks all the issues of titles of sequences, structures or inconsistencies of the characters…does that remind you of anything ? ;o) he will report to the production and to the authors.

At first, he begins by making a very careful of the scenario. It will record all the information and comments within a document which is called : general count.

It will put in sequence : the actors and their presences, sequences, effects (day/night) and (int/ext), the special effects, vehicles, props, extras, vehicles, figuration, effects, electric, the machinery, the timing, the costumes, the make-up and hair*, waterfalls as well as a summary of each sequence.

Before speaking of the plan of work, know that with this general count, several documents are going to be edited. This will also allow the other heads of position to compare their counting with hers so that everyone can raise potential problems or shortages. With the general count as the first assistant director, one leaves :

– Counting actor

– Counting accessory

– A pre-tabulation and figuration**

– Count suit

– Counting vehicle

– Counting in the order of shooting***

– Counting sets

What we mean by skinning it is just a list listing a category (accessory, vehicle, etc…)

Once he has done his general count, it will associate the sequences by sets and organise the entire shoot making a plan of work. The whole team relies on this document to know what is planned over the days of shooting.

ATTENTION : make a work plan is more complicated than associating sequences by sets ! There are a number of important parameters to be taken into account : availability of places, unavailable actors, time of construction etc…

The preparation of a first assistant director

The role of the first assistant director is of paramount importance during the preparation. The duration of the preparation of a project varies if it is a telefilm or a feature film. Today a telefilm turns between 21 and 23 days, or 5 weeks of preparation. For a feature, the number of weeks of preparation equals the number of weeks of filming (in general :o))

Beyond putting the plan of work update and revise, if necessary, for reasons ofunavailability of actors, change text etc…, it driver various spots : rehearsals, location scouting, test suits, test makeup, test rig, camera testing, reading, audition) in making a planning (calendar) and all the invitations that these tests shall be the responsibility by ensuring that everyone has the right information so that everyone is working in the same direction.

He did his general count in case this is another wizard that has done the pre – work plan and, therefore, the pre-counting (see above what is the counting of votes)

It also organizes the technical locations. The scouting techniques are simply visits to all the sets by the heads of department such as :

– the director-general

– the chief electrician

– the chief machinist

– the chief operator

– the chief decorator

– the first and second assistant director

– the locator

– the production manager

So that everyone can give their opinion on the sets and the feasibility of the project in each of the places as well as problems that these decorations may cause : installation is difficult, rotate the morning or the afternoon depending on the sun etc..

The first assistant director, a position of responsibility

Make a plan of work is a great responsibility. The first wizard doesn’t really have the right to be wrong. If in its forecast, it has been estimated that such a film could be done in 23 days, then he must keep his commitments ! Therefore, it must optimize all of these days and of course having worked with the filmmaker to know his desires of accomplishment.

Ditto for the hours that he gives to production. He had planned a 9-18h, it should take the schedules. If during the preparation, it turns out in the end, to keep the day, he must have recourse to overtime, he has a duty to report it to the production. It may, therefore, be a 9-18h + 2 hours. (If the budget allows)

Knowing that all the extra hours are expensive and do not have the same cost, they are turned of day or night.

The 1st assistant director must also know a little about the labour law and collective agreements. He must take the hours of rest of the team into consideration. He can not finish a day with 23 hours and resume the next day at 7 o’clock in the morning. Other rules must be taken into account in the design of its work plan at the risk of dropping the production manager.

The first assistant on the tray

I’m going to wring the necks of a legend…finally, I want to say is that it is said sometimes that it is the 1er assistant director who made the map service.

In the reality of a shooting, this is the 2nd assistant director who is in preparation, based on its count, the first assistant, as well as on the work plan. And then on the plateau, he gives it to the first assistant so that he confirms it or makes the necessary changes based on the latest information of the day (change of PAT (ready to shoot) of a comedian, chief operator who wants to turn earlier or later because of the light or because the 1st assistant director must invert the order of the sequences of filming). Then he gives back to the 2nd assistant that the checks again and gives his turn to the commissioner-general so that he can fulfill his part. PHEW !

Another thing wrong : this is not the first wizard that places the figurative but the 2nd wizard staging ! Of course, the first assistant may refer the 2nd according to the wishes of the director but the movements and the investments of the figuration it is the job of the 2nd. PHEW 2 !

Now it’s done ;o)

On the plateau, the first assistant director does not leave a outsole with the director (film director). It is all the time on the board to put the plan in place, according to the wishes of the director. He coordinates all the teams to all go in the same direction and that nobody is wasting time. It is also him who tells the team what we have done. Once a plan is completed, he shouts the number of the sequence or of the next plan, giving the axis and the value, if known.

That’s it for this first part of the article on the job profile of the 1st assistant director. I hope this has enlightened on the opportunities that you have and this exciting profession. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to post them at the bottom of this article. We will see in the second part : the qualities of a 1st assistant director, the career, the opportunities and the salary ;o) Click on the link (in blue) to go directly to the suite.

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Thank you to those who will make it ;o) and those who already are ;o) you are every day more numerous, thanks to you I live an amazing adventure made of sharing and film ;o)

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Soon,

Tom Weil

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