What does a second assistant director do? First of all, you must know that the term assistant director is actually a job description.

It’s not one job, but several responsibilities. So when we’re talking about what a Second Assistant Director does, it’s important to note that in one production he may have a completely different job than in another.

Second Assistant Directors can also be called 2nd ADs or 2nd Assistants Directors. They are the right-hand assistant to the 1st Assistant Director (AD).

The AD will tell them what scenes are being shot each day, where and when they will be shot, who is scheduled to be on set, and what the budget is for the day.

What Does A Second Assistant Director Do

What Is A second assistant director?

A second assistant director (2nd AD) is a member of the film crew whose primary responsibility is to help the assistant director (AD).

They are responsible for many details as well as being able to deal with an array of personalities.

One of their main responsibilities is for crowd control. On large productions, there may be several 2nd ADs assigned to deal with different departments.

The Second Assistant Director works with the First Assistant Director to ensure the production stays on schedule and within budget. They are responsible for assisting with scene preparations, managing the location crew, tracking equipment and props, and compiling call sheets.

They also supervise background actors (extras) during shooting and make sure they are where they are supposed to be.




What Does A Second Assistant Director Do?

The 2nd assistant director’s main function is to help the 1st AD fulfill their duties by making sure everything goes smoothly on set, but they’re an important member of the team both on and off set.

The 2nd assistant director will mostly run around on set doing whatever needs to be done at any given moment.

They’ll keep track of time and breaks, make sure that everyone is where they need to be at certain times, and warn people if they are running late or behind schedule.

If a scene needs to be reshot or redone, it is up to him/her to organize everything and make sure that everything is running efficiently and smoothly.

Second Assistant Director Job Description

The second assistant director is the lynchpin of production. They are responsible for the smooth running of the set, and for making sure that all personnel, equipment, and facilities are in place. 

In addition, the 2nd assistant director works closely with the first assistant director and production manager to help maintain a schedule, keep track of time, and meet budget restrictions. 

The individual must be able to work well with others as well as possess strong leadership qualities and organizational skills.

A good 2nd AD is a problem solver and can react to any situation with speed and decisiveness. 

The 2nd AD must be able to communicate effectively with those involved in a production – the director, other department heads, assistant directors, crew members, cast and extras – as well as those not directly involved such as caterers and security staff.

Their responsibilities include: 

  • Ensuring that each department knows what they need to do. 
  • Liaising with cast and crew on behalf of other departments. 
  • Organising timekeeping for everyone working on set.
  • Keeping track of call times and meal breaks for each day of filming. 
  • Planning each day’s schedule so that filming can progress smoothly from one shot to another. 
  • Monitoring day-to-day running costs to ensure that they don’t exceed the budget.
  • Casting actors in roles they are best suited for based on their previous acting experience, if necessary.
  • Looking at weather reports to ensure adequate outdoor filming time
  • Supervising walk-throughs with cast and crew before each shooting day to review schedules and identify any potential issues that may arise during filming.

Essential Skills For Second Assistant Directors

The second assistant director’s responsibilities vary depending on the production and size of the crew.

However, it is always a position of tremendous responsibility, since the second assistant director is in charge when the first assistant director is not on the set. 

The following are some of the essential skills that a second assistant director must possess to excel in this position:

  • Knowledge of union rules and regulations. A successful second assistant director must be able to adhere to all union guidelines.
  • A second assistant director should be organized and detail-oriented. This is an important skill because the second assistant director will likely have numerous responsibilities for one or more productions, including logistics and scheduling.
  • A good communicator, a successful second assistant director can effectively convey information from one party to another. They are skilled at listening to others’ opinions and finding solutions to problems.
  • Because they are relied upon by everyone on set, a successful second assistant director should have sound judgment and maturity. They must be able to think clearly under pressure, make decisions quickly, and still get the job done efficiently with little or no supervision.
  • Conflict management skills, they’ll serve as a mediator between cast members and crew members, employees and employers.

The job of the assistant director is a very important one in film and television with immense responsibility. Anyone who aspires to become an assistant director must be prepared for long hours and hard work.

Working on a film set is stressful and there’s no room for error. It can be difficult for anyone to keep their composure in a high stress environment where mistakes are costly and time is limited.

But the assistant director has to be able to remain calm under pressure and make sure that things run smoothly day in and day out.

How To Get Started As A Second Assistant Director

I am a second assistant director and have been working in the industry for around twelve years. I would like to share my knowledge and understanding of the job with you. 

The following is a step by step guide to become a second assistant director.

The first thing to remember is that this isn’t an entry level job and anyone who thinks they can get into it straight out of college or film school is sadly mistaken. The second (and equally important) point is that this is not a glamorous job.

You won’t be running around on set with the stars and directors, but you will be directing traffic, ensuring craft service has what they need and helping everyone else look good by making sure things run smoothly on set. 

That said, if you are willing to work hard, learn from people who have been doing it for years, and put in the time, you can have a long career as a second assistant director.

First off, why do you want to be a second assistant director? It’s not easy work. 

You will often be breaking up fights between actors, making sure extras are happy with their lunch and holding things so that your first assistant director doesn’t have to interrupt his or her coverage of the scene being shot. 

While it may seem impossible at first, this is actually one of the easier positions to break into because it isn’t directly related to another position such as being an actor or writer. 

Some positions will require you to network with other crew members for recommendations on how well you will do in your role. You may even be required to complete an internship before beginning.

After you have read this article, you should feel more confident about landing that job as a second assistant director.