chapter  Chapter 1
5 Pages

Pre-pre-production

ByLiz Gill

Francois Truffaut said that making a film is like going on a sea voyage: starting to hope for a pleasant journey, and ending to clinging on, praying to survive. This may be an extreme example, but the metaphor of the ship is accurate, and in this scenario the assistant director (AD) is the first mate. The First AD is largely responsible for making sure that the day’s work is completed, directs the background action, supervises crowd control and maintains communications between the director and the crew. At best, it’s like being a conductor leading an orchestra in Bach’s most beautiful concerto; at worst, it’s like trying to control a class of sugar-fueled three-year-olds let loose in a paint factory. In any case, it’s never dull; no two days are ever the same, and every job is unique. It’s the ultimate collaborative process, in which the First AD manages the balance between creativity and forward motion.