I've spent the last two weeks ADing my good friends CP2 project entitled R.O.B. During that time ADing a few things have happened.
-I was told to shut the fuck up
-My close friends flipped out on me for pushing them.
-We wrapped early every day of shooting so far.
For those who don't know AD stands for assistant director. It is their job to make sure that everything gets done on time, even if it means making a few enemies in the process. If being the producer on set is like being the mom on a car trip; making sure everyone is happy and has everything they need, then being the AD is like being the dad; getting things done quickly and efficiently as possible even if it means raising your voice and making a few people unhappy.
Here are a few tips on how to be a good AD
1. Manage in ample time, but don't give it to them.
When making up the shot list be sure to allow enough time for each shot to be set up and have a few run throughs, 15 minutes usually works well. However when on set, don't give them that much time. You should push them to get what needs to be done be the best in can be in as little time as possible. This leads to the next tip
2. Don't let them know if you're on time
If things are going well, as they are likely too, you may get ahead of schedule. It is very important that no one else besides you and the producer know about this. If the director or DP know how ahead they are then they'll spend too much time worrying about tiny details which will quickly back up and slow down shooting time. Use the extra time at the end of the days shoot for pickups and anything extra that might be needed.
3. Be an asshole, but not too much of one.
Last semester I was 2nd ADing a shoot and had to fill in for the AD on the last day. At first I was friendly and submissive, allowing more time than needed and asking to move on instead of demanding. The director and DP kindly asked and suggested that I be more assertive and demanding. When you're ADing it is your job to make sure things stay on track and what needs to get done gets done. It is important to keep on the director and DP so they will accomplish everything set for that shoot. It is very likely that the crew will get annoyed with you, this however means that you are doing your job. As something that is only said on reality shows says "you're not here to make friends." It is important however to respect the directors vision and not shoot down everything they want to do. Allow them more time on things if you're doing really well, just don't let them know how well you are doing.