My typical day consists of being on set thirty minutes prior to call time. Say call time for the crew is 9am, I will have to be on set at 830am pushing people along making sure that people are ready to go once ‘we are in,’ meaning once we are officially on the clock. Film days usually last an average of 12-13 hours and some days we go over depending on how far behind we are on the shooting schedule for that day. Everything is on a budget, so we have to make our days to stay on budget. Otherwise the production loses money, and no one is happy when you lose money.
When I attended Film school at BC, we never really focused too much on the production side of film making. Never was there too much emphasis on being behind the scenes in terms of the AD department. We learned a little bit about being the 1st Assistant Director, knowing that they have to kind of keep everyone on schedule and they are in terms ‘the bad guy.’ However, being on set, well the last three I have done, the 1st AD is loved. He/ She run the show. My aspiration is to be a 1st AD, in doing so you have to work your way up the AD department which starts out by being a production assistant. My first film, I was just that. Then I got a call from our 2nd AD and she asked if I wanted to come be a Key Set PA, which is one step below being a 2nd 2nd AD. And after that film wrapped, a week later, I got a call from our 2nd AD on that project, asking if I wanted to 2nd 2nd AD. So, currently on my third film, which starts filming February 15, 2011 and I’m working my way to my goal.
In the film industry, the production department consists of several different groups. The AD department runs the entirety of the show. They look after everyone from top to bottom. From the talent (actors, directors), to the camera department, production design, art department, hair and make up, costumes, props, sound, etc. The AD department the high spot in production, they make sure everyone is doing their jobs, to speed up the process and make sure we stay on schedule for the whole shoot.
Like I said previously, the path you have to take in order to make your way up to be an AD, is through the PA route. Being a PA at times, yeah it sucks. But if you work hard and make others see that you’re working hard, it pays off. You will work your way up and then finally you will be able to reach your end goal.