I’d like to start off by saying that I have had experience in the assisting director role throughout the duration of my course. I have worked on short films, documentaries, format productions and individual projects all of which have involved directorial elements. If there is one thing I have learnt from these experiences, it is that it is important to voice your opinion, as it could well improve the outcome of the finished product. It is better to be heard than to stay in the shadows being a sheep. Input and communication is key.
FIRST YEAR – MARK WOOD DOCUMENTARY
Being 1st AD for this I took part in the research and pre-production, planning, production and post-production (primarily editing using Final Cut 7).
All of the development for this project can be found here:
SECOND YEAR – OVER THE HILL
During the pre-production and production of ‘Over The Hill‘ – a short film produced in my second year – it was my responsibility to keep things in order to the schedule, make the actors feel comfortable around us, allow them feel less under pressure and treat them as friends rather than just colleagues who were helping us on a student film. I briefed them on the script, went through it with them before the shoot so they knew exactly what to do. We saved a LOT of time by doing this.
I timed shoots, and if they were too long I consulted the director to let him know we had finish up and move on. Executive decisions have to be made in order for progress to be made, for the greater good of the final outcome.
Along with our director, I kept the team to a strict timeline, as we had to get shots done in time before either the lighting changed dramatically or the actors got bored. We stuck to our shooting schedule to ensure everyone knew what was expected of them, where we had to be and when, when our breaks were etc. I also took control of the budget:
Not only this but I created a detailed storyboard for the film:
And also made a list of ALL the required items for the shoot:
During my format production module I attended a session with Philip Lewis (http://www.philiplewis.co.uk/) a 1st AD with over 25 years experience who works for BBC and ITV on various drama soaps – Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Casualty – (and Narnia) who taught me many techniques about the role of 1st AD.
Being a First AD requires a knowledge of every single other role on the production team, from lighting, sound, camera all the way down to the runners. I have experienced aspects of all of these roles. I have worked in format production as a presenter, floor manager, camera operator, sound engineer and assistant director.
When teaching the television studio to the chinese students I made sure that everyone was happy with their roles and even had a go at directing; if anyone had a problem I could understand their issue as I had had the experience. I am currently working as DOP for the Culturae Mundi projects and producer for the BBC Big Screen Olympic Sports videos and although I enjoy these roles, I want to be in the directing side of production; that is what I am more interested in. Without presenting myself as big-headed, I would say I am a good communicator. I am not shy and I like to talk with people and crowds. This is vital for a 1st AD to possess.
I have worked with members of the CORE team already and am more than comfortable with working along side them again on this project. I cannot wait!
So far I have shown that I am reliable, efficient, organised and hard-working. After trying my hand at many different, diverse roles within a variety of production teams, I have discovered that I am truly passionate about becoming an assistant director once leaving University, therefore I want to build up a profile of professional work to add to my portfolio. LA is my shot at this!