Role of a 1st AD

As the days pass by we are getting closer and closer to our short film project and this time I am suppose to play the role of a 1st AD now if you know me you’d know that me and pre production never really bonded well until I became a student at SAE.

Well as I progress through each trimester I am learning new things about production and they have been very fruitful to me as I used that experience in one of my sound project where I helped in directing and screen play but for my short film these skills would be put to test.

As this trimester has nothing but amazingly educational for me and have progressful for me it came to me a surprise when I was told by Heidi that I will be doing first AD in our short film. At first I would be honestly I felt like the floor slipped beneath my feet as this is a very big role and I have never thought about seeing myself as an AD. But in time I realised that up till now I have been challenged by Heidi to bring out the best in me as a film student and I am sure she must’ve considered a lot to see how I will perform in something outside my comfort zone and for this reason I wont shy away from my role.

With that being said let me briefly tell you the tasks of a first AD I have done some research by looking in to articles and videos of youtube which will be mentioned in the end of this article and then I will discuss on the duties I will perform in my Short Film Project.

Well a first AD roles act as a team leader through out the film from the preproduction phase till the end of the shoot the most important tasks for any first AD is

  • Scheduling
  • Follow the Schedule
  • Health and Safety

Scheduling Phase

After the script have been written and finalised the Assistant Director goes through the script and come up with a script break down and make the shot list a shot list contains of the scheduling of the shots that needs to be recorded on shooting day and their order of filming  and how much time each shot will take.

During this phase the Assistant director work closely with the Director and come up with filming schedule & storyboard for this he needs to be aware of the availability of the cast and crew the budget, Location hiring and timings, Weather forecast any other external factors that might effect the shooting.

With the factors mentioned above in mind the First AD keeps on updating the call sheet which is distributed to every cast and crew members which includes there contact details the shooting logistics & The location details


Filming Phase 

The second and most important job for an AD is once the schedule has been made it need to be followed and making sure everything is being done in a timely manner and the shot list is being followed. There job not only requires them to work with the cast and crew but also keep things organised on the set.

For this they need to make the director aware of the shots being filmed how much time we have left and weather or not they should extend the timing for those shots and update in their schedule.

They also needs to be a bridge between the crew and the director and making sure that the production goals are met at the end of the day for this very reason a First AD must be punctual, have an eye for details, be a motivator and a leader must be flexible and adaptable and to work under pressure.

Health & Safety

Probably one of the most dominant duties of a first AD is that everyone is safe. A first AD must foresee any sort of  harm or hazard that might occur on the set and remove it and minimize it by briefing the crew and the cast.

He must also be aware of emergency routes near by hospitals and police station and should update them in the call sheets.


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