Reel Opportunities

2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)

What is a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?
What does a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) do?

The 2nd Assistant Director is the right-hand man of the First Assistant Director (1st AD). The main responsibility of the 2nd AD is to ensure that all of the 1st AD’s orders and directions are followed. Under the supervision of the 1st, the 2nd AD’s prepare and draw up the ‘call sheet,’ which is the document that details daily filming logistics and is distributed to all cast and crew; they supervise all cast movements, ensuring that the principal actors are in makeup, wardrobe, or standing by on the set at the appropriate times.

The 2nd AD may also be in charge of finding and looking after background artists (extras) on smaller productions without a Third Assistant Director. The majority of 2nd ADs also assist the 1st AD in liaising between the set or location and the production office, keeping key personnel up to date on the shoot’s timings and progress.

The film’s 2nd Assistant Director reports directly to the 1st Assistant Director. The 2nd AD will typically use a headset and/or walkie-talkie to communicate with the film’s 1st Assistant Director at all times.

What’s a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) good at?
  • Planning

    Co-ordinate the schedules of various departments including camera, make-up, hair, costume, design, and visual effects, think ahead and create call-sheets

  • Time-management

    Coordinate logistics, make arrangements, and draw up detailed plans for the 1st AD's review

  • Innovation

    Think of creative solutions under pressure when the unexpected happens

  • Communication

    Able to let a wide range of people know exactly what is required of them and get them to work together, ability to listen to the director

Who does a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) work with?

The 2nd Assistant Director works directly with the 1st Assistant Director. They also manage the movements of the actors and work closely with the hair/makeup and wardrobe departments.

How do I become a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?

Like many roles in film and TV, there are many routes to becoming a 2nd Assistant Director. From getting degrees, diplomas, certificates, internships, apprenticeships, or even freelancing and volunteer work, there is no standard recipe. Training on-set is also a great route, and there are lots of ways to do it, both extended and short-term.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

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