Why is the 1st Assistant Director so important? What are some of their responsibilities on a film set?
The 1st assistant director serves an essential role. They are the bond connecting the director to the cast, crew and production office.
The 1st assistant director, as the title implies, has the duty of assisting the director. Also, however, they are responsible for coordinating production, supervising the cast/crew and for being the direct department head of the other assistant directors and runners.
Before production, the 1st assistant director creates a filming schedule and consults the director, keeping in mind the budget as well as cast, crew and equipment availability.
During production, the 1st assistant director is responsible for keeping everyone on task and making sure the schedule they created is fulfilled by the end of the shoot.
While the number of responsibilities the 1st AD may already seem high, there is still more they must complete. For example, they are also often responsible for coordinating the health and safety preparation and precautions found on set. This also includes maintaining the discipline of the crew members on set and supervise other directors if they are present on set (2nd AD, 3rd AD, etc.)