Book Assistant director : our opinion

The Assistant director is a book written by Jean-Philippe BLIME, and published by The editor DIXIT. The author has worked for more than 20 years on the sets of film shoots, including 15 as an Assistant Director. It is also one of the founding members of the French Association of assistant Directors (AFAR).

Introduction to the book

“The cinema is an art, haunting and dangerous. Mesmerizing as it attracts people of all generations, nationalities… Dangerous precisely because it is mesmerizing. Under its influence, how many men of business dreaded are transformed into fragile apprentices ? How many people seriously have they changed in pitres ? The films made lose the reason. But the cause is a good one : one remembers his whole life from the hour and a half spent in front of a good movie. {…} Some of these artisans work in the light, while for others, the shadows should be better. It is there, in the shadow, that we find the assistant director… “

The Assistant to THE director ?

The book is rather complete. The author explains the job and its constraints, without staying in the pure theory. He does not hesitate to appeal to his personal experience as assistant director on many shoots in sharing many anecdotes.

It presents the job of Assistant Director as a key role for the director, since he gave it many tasks, but also for the majority of people involved in the creation of a movie that will often have to interact with it, precisely to avoid overloading of the director of information and problems ” side “.

According to Jean-Philippe BLIME, the main function of ” assistant director, is theorganization of the filming of a movie. The organisation consists of two distinct phases : the preparation and the shooting. “To a certain extent, the assistant director has more responsibilities on the board than the director himself, dealing with many aspects of the shoot, where the director must be able to focus on the staging, and work with key stakeholders on their interpretation during the various sequences in turn.

The author insists much on the fact that the occupation is that of Assistant director, and not an assistant to THE director. The assistant director does not render account only to the producer but also (and especially ?) to the production, who wants to make sure that everything is in place on the shooting and doesn’t want to take late. It also reminds us that there are usually several assistant directors. “The distribution of work between the first assistant and his second is fairly well defined : it is understood that the first assistant “glue” to the board and the director. The second is close to the actors, it is with the shuttle service between the lodges and the plateau “. They are often assisted by an intern, who came to learn the trade, that the leaves of certain tasks throughout the day.

The assistant to the director and his interactions with the other trades

In addition to the tasks specific to the job of Assistant director, the author is interested in various trades, from pre-production to post-production, through the key step of the shoot. The jobs of stage manager, set designer or director of the production are addressed in turn, in order to understand their role in the process of creating the film and especially their relationship, their relationship with the assistant director.

In the second part of the book, the author focuses more concretely to the different documents that an Assistant director must understand and use to understand the different facets of their business and be operational on the shooting. Are discussed in turn in the scenario, the counting, the continuity, the list of sequences by decor, the artistic list, the list of figures and extras, the work plan and roadmap service. For each of these documents, examples are integrated so you can know what they look like and the main challenges and constraints are discussed. It is a part more a laborious but necessary, because these documents will be essential to the daily life of the assistant director.

How to become an assistant director ?

In the end of the book, one finds a variety of parties, including one devoted to the different ways to learn the trade and, in particular, in the training and film schools, as an example of the typical day of an assistant director and a glossary.

In the end, this is a book really pleasant to read. The author discusses his business without decision-head, with a lot of humor and many sketches for purposes of illustration.

This book of 176 pages is sold 15€. Order the book

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