Being a director is not an easy job and producing a film isn’t any easier. It is actually quite stressful and a very difficult if you are planning on doing everything yourself, which is almost impossible to do. That’s why many successful film directors hire crew members to get the job done. Hopefully, these tips help you as you learn how to be a great assistant director.

One the most important members of the crew is the Assistant Director (AD), but there could potentially be up to three hired if the director wants to get the job done well.

Some of the responsibilities that fall under the AD include keeping track of the time cards/time sheets, tracking the daily progress against the production schedule and maintaining a  general sense of order.

Remember, if that if you want to be a great assistant director, you need to understand that this isn’t your artistic vision. Always keep in mind that you are here to support your directors artists vision. Understanding the vision of the director is one of the most important things you could do as an AD.

Always make sure to observe and watch how the director works, talks with the actors, and about the show. Pay attention to what’s most important in the storyline, in the characters, and in the process the Director does things. Once you understand what’s important to the director, you will be able to support them and their artistic vision. You might even be able to offer options that they might not be seeing.Now I am going to break down the roles that an assistant director has to do in a more in-depth description, so pay close attention if you want to become a great assistant director someday.

Here’s a behind the scenes look on how to be a great assistant director

There are many tasks an AD has to do before the production such as:

Breaking down the script:

One of the jobs for the AD does in the pre-production part of the film would be to break down the script. This means going through the script, reading it a couple times and then take notes of the most important aspects that would require more specific attention such as special effects, sound, and props. Color coding lines is also a must that an AD does when going through a script.

Breaking down the script into 8th’s

Assistant directors with more experience are able to break the script into 8th’s by eye alone but those that are starting out tend to mark their script by 8th’s to make their job just a tad bit easier. Marking down the scripts by 8th’s is a very important job because it helps both the schedule and call sheets. Each script page should equal about one minute of screen time.

Create a one-liner

Assistant directors have to create a one-liner document that helps show the scene that will be shot in order. This also includes scene numbers, scene name, time of day, one line descriptions and how many pages.

List of all locations

Assistant directors make sure to keep a list of all the locations the film will be using, they keep track of the locations real name as well as the name used in the script. Having your crew in the right place at the right time is a hugely important step in learning how to be a great assistant director.

What does an assistant director do during the productions?

During the production, the AD’s have a lot of responsibilities and tasks to do. They need to make sure the crew knows exactly what they are doing and what they are supposed to do. They are also the ones that organize rehearsals if there is something that needs to be corrected or improved. Once everything is ready to go, the AD’s makes sure to have everyone aware.

They are also the ones that call for a lockup, quiet, roll cameras, and roll sound.

  • You are the voice Assistant directors make sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing and keeps the crew and cast in place.

  • Introduce yourself Make sure you let everyone know that you are one of the assistant directors to avoid confusion and to keep everything well organized.

  • Keeping the day on schedule Make sure you organize the referrals when they need to be done, and motivate the crew to not fall behind schedule.

What skills are needed to be an Assistant Director?

1) Being organized:

being organized is a must-have skill for an AD. There are a lot of things going on during film production so it would be very helpful to have organizational skills.

2) Confidence:

AD’s have to communicate a lot with the crew members, so being shy isn’t an option if you want to be an AD.

3) Problem-solving:

Unfortunately not everything in life goes as we plan it to be, that’s why an AD needs to stay calm during sticky situations and try to think of a solution to every problem that may come their way.

Overall an assistant director is the one that keeps everyone motivated and has the most authority during the set. They need to have really good leadership skills and be able to help everyone’s needs as well as to help the whole production stay organized.

4) Managing time:

If you want to be a great assistant director you need to be great at managing not only your time but everyone else’s time as well. Make sure everyone is on schedule and not wasting any time. Time is money.

5) Great communicator:

Communication skills are key if you want to be an assistant director because you are going to be constantly communicating with others. Great communicators are able to rally people and explain effectively and accurately what needs to be done.

6) First Aid Training:

It is required that an Assistant director has their first aid training in case of any accidents that could happen on set.


So there you have it, learning how to be a great assistant director takes hard work and determination, you need to have a lot of skills and knowledge to be a great assistant director and to be prepared for responsibility and a lot of work.