Career Path 2nd AD

After being a 3rd AD you may get promoted to 2nd AD. You primary role as 2nd assistant director is to assist the 1st, this could be by creating the call sheet and getting it signed off, getting any and all talent to where they need to be, whether that be the make up department, on set, or back at their trailer. The 2nd AD is also considered to be the voice between the production office and the set it is there job to ensure that everyone knows what their job is and what they are having to do on the respective day.

The qualities that are needed to be a 2nd AD, while similar to those of a 3rd AD to differ slightly. The 2nd AD’s skill set relies more on organization, paper work, and the delegation of jobs. And while they do need strong communication skills it is more about having a good understanding of scheduling and time management.

Time Management is very important for a 2nd AD as he will often me rescheduling daily routines for the 1st AD, he will also be in charge of getting the talent to where they need to be and on time, he will also have to communicate with the other departments to ensure that they all know what is expected of them.

Another role that the 2nd AD has to perform is the delegation of jobs, this is mainly required on shoots where one person plays more than one role, if that person is you then it is occasionally except-able  to transfer some of your responsibilities to other member of the team such as the production assistants or interns.

It is vital for a 2nd AD to have strong communication skills, at any one time you could be communicating with many different departments at any one time. You have to ensure that your 1st AD is aware of where the talent and the background talent is at all times. He must know when the talent should be in makeup and  when they will be finished. A 2nd AD must be focused at all times and should be relaying accurate information to the correct people.

 

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Career Path 3rd AD

After around 2 years of being a runner and constant networking, you may get the opportunity to be a 3rd assistant director.  (This may happen sooner depending on your contacts and pure luck).

On a typical film set there is a 1st Assistant Director, one or more 2nd directors and more than likely more than one 3rd assistant director. While on the surface all of these jobs may appear similar, they all involve different tasks and require a different set of skills. The 3rd AD will normally be your first role after runner, this is because it is essential to have on set experience to be a 3rd AD. You can do this by either being a runner, or by applying for a film course that includes on set experience.

The 3rd directors main role is to assist the 2nd director, this will mainly involve ensuring that all extras are on the right set at the right time. 3rd director will also be involved in  directing background action on set, as well as being a messenger between different apartments.

The skills that a 3rd AD needs are communication, organization, confidence and patience. While these qualities are important in all media careers, for a 3rd AD its especially important to posses. Communication is important as it will be your job to send messages across many different departments, often via radio, and without good communication skills this may lead to great confusion. You also need to communicate well with the other assistant directors, doing this well will ensure that the day runs smoothly. Other people a 3rd AD needs to communicate well to is the extras, this is to ensure that they all know where to be and when they need to be in or out of shot.

Organization is another quality that a 3rd AD needs, similar to the communication skill the 3rd AD will need to organize the extras to ensure that they are all at the right place at the right time. There could be hundreds of extras on a shoot day, and it is your job to organize them. Another part  of staying organized is keeping in communication with your 1st and 2nd AD, knowing when and where you need to have your talent and get them there as efficiently as possible. 

Confidence is key, if you portray confidence as a 3rd AD then not only will the talent who you are in charge of respect you more, but your bosses will see you as a more viable candidate for promotion. Id you are at any point unsure about your job or role in production then you will inspire no confidence in those around you. Patience is the final quality i have listed, this is important in the 3rd AD’s role as, things are happening all the time on set, and this can become stressful and distracting at times. A good 3rd AD needs to keep there cool and concentrate on his job at hand to ensure they can do it professionally and to a high quality.

http://howtofilmschool.com/working-as-a-3rd-assistant-director/

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/tvorfilmassistantdirector.aspx

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Career Path – Networking

Another important skill a runner has to have, is friendliness. This will help you in many ways but the most important one is networking. Networking is the act of obtaining contacts in the attempt of furthering your career.

Networking is an important part of the media industry, especially at early stages when you are trying to make a name for yourself, as you never know who is going to give you your first break. Networking could consists of taking any media job available, whether it be a runner on a porn shoot or a technical assistant in a local documentary. Any contacts you can make in the industry will benefit you one way or the other, and if you are friendly and continue smiling throughout any job you are offered. People will remember your name, and offer you more work.

Once you have a contact, email them, and tell them that you are looking for work in the industry and if they knew of anybody looking for a runner. Do this for as many contacts as possible as the more you contact the more likely someone is to reply. Do not just copy and paste the same message to every person however, take note of what you contact does in the industry and tailor you message to his or her profession. If you have had experience already, including your portfolio of work in the message could also help create a good impression. However make sure it is only your very best work that you include.

What you should not do is expect every single person you contact to reply immediately, some may never reply, some may not reply for a few months. Just be patient and continue to contact as many people as possible, and don’t be picky, even if the job you are offered is nothing to do with what you want to do, still take it, as it will put your foot in the door, and this job may lead lead to another job, and another job and that job may lead you to your perfect career. The important thing is to talk to as many people as possible.

 

http://mediacareers.about.com/od/networking/a/Networking.htm

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Career Path – Runner

While it is easy enough to say “I’m gonna be a director”, the practice of it is very different, while some naturally (and financially) gifted people go straight into directing their own films, and never look back. Others have to spend years in the industry until they are given their first big opportunity.

The first role most aspiring directors go into is Runner.

Typing into google ‘How to be a good runner’ will result in many websites featuring advice about exercise and food consumption, however, type into google ‘how to be a good runner on set’ features very different results. As a runner is an entry level position, little to no qualifications are needed, although a degree or experience may give you a slight edge, the main purpose of this role is to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

A runner will often be given that asks that nobody else wants to do, these tasks could be hard labor, time consuming, or just our right boring. The tasks range from making tea for everyone on set, cleaning up sets and, meeting with stars or guests to the set, or just general admin work. The trick to be a good runner, is pretending that you enjoy doing all of these jobs, and doing all of them to a high standard, and with a smile on your face.

The greatest asset a runner can have is common sense, while it may seem obvious to not talk to the director while he is working. Some things like, having water ready if an actor is performing a physical stunt, or asking the 3rd AD if their is anything they need help with. May not be as obvious, but something a runner must never do, is have nothing to do. there is always a job that needs doing, even if its just getting the director a cup of tea.

http://amyclarkefilms.com/how-to-be-a-good-on-set-runner/

http://www.gothinkbig.co.uk/features/jobs-in-the-film-industry-how-to-work-as-a-runner

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364 Module

To complete my 264 module I have been asked to research and develop an outward facing professional portfolio, using my own career aspiration as a basis. This portfolio should focus on a specific role and should not be a general show reel or portfolio. This blog will contain all the research and development material for my portfolio.

The career path that I have chosen is that of a director, the reason for this is that when playing the role of director I feel most comfortable. I also feel that the director has the most creative freedom and most influence on the outcome of the film. Another factor that appealls to me about the director position is the qualities that a director must have. Patience, listening skills, creativity and the willingness to see a project to the end. (More on skills later.)

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Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on my FMP and related trailer is that while I did encounter many problems during the production stage, the final project is something that I can be proud of.

Positives

  1. Good length – The film is not so long that the audience will lose attention after a short while, yet at the same time it is not so short that there is little story, or too few a things happening.
  2. Lighting – This is something that I was concerned about having not had a large amount of experience in this area, however I feel that I created the desired effect and have taken away new knowledge and wisdom about the importance of good lighting.
  3. Trailer – While the trailer may not portray the true feel or genre of the Short film, it does create an air of interest and intrigue. Enticing people to watch  the film
  4. Continuity – Continuity is a specialty of mine, and is something that I strive to ensure in each one of my films. While I did cut out some scenes and sequences is this film, I still managed to ensure a great deal of continuity throughout.

Negatives

  1. Loss of message – While I did try to keep the theme of technology running throughout the film, I feel that due to the postponed shooting date, I was unable to film everything that I wanted. Therefore unable to show just how much the couple relied on technology to socialize.
  2. Acting – The fact that I myself was forced to act in my own film is a big negative in my eyes. I feel it would have been much more beneficial to have me behind the camera at all times to ensure that the shot was accurate to my vision.
  3. Date scene – The very first montage was not what I desired it to be, I wanted it to be much longer and show the development of Bret and Alice as a couple. However due to actors not turning up, I was rushed for time and therefore had to comprimise.

If I was to do the project again, I would still use the same actress as she was very professional and punctual. However I myself would not be in the film, and I would also probably use a completely different story. In terms of whether or not I feel I pushed myself, I feel that I did, but only through one aspect of filming, The lighting. Havin to film in the dark and using Dedo light to recreate candle flicker was by far the biggest challenge of this film, and to some degree, the only challenge. The editing I had all done similar techniques before, I just had to use the same effect to a greater or lesser degree. The pre-productio also was pretty much the same as before, except the addition of a floor plan that I had to create in order to give the DOP and runner some idea of where to place the lights and camera’s.

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My EPK

For me this part of the module posed great difficulty, the main reason for this was that I had no idea what an electronic press kit was. However after some research into the mattter, and with a little help from moodle. I was soon feeling confident that I could do this work to a high standard.

An EPK is a collection of documents in regards to your short film that is often used by film festivals and film critics for the purpose of advertising the film. It includes

  • A Cover Sheet.
  • Key Information – This will include name, genre, length, format and year produced.
  • Directors Statement.
  • Biography of all cast and crew.
  • Production stills.

The brief specified no particular format for my FMP, it only said that I had to reference an url in my submission. So I decided to create a Website for my film, and place my EPK on their. The reasons for this was that in the future a website looks more professional, and the website would also be a good place to put my professional practice portfolio.

My cover sheet was something that I wanted to keep simple So I decided to take a screen shot of my opening title sequence, I then added to add my own name as the director, and include a solar flare effect to make it appear almost like it was on fire. To do this I used the website http://www.befunky.com/ which is a fantastic website where you can easily edit images with various effects.

The easiest way that I could think of to create the technical information spreadsheet, was to create a word document featuring it. The next problem I encountered was how to get the the word document onto the website, I could have simply uploaded the file and allowed any visitors to then downloaded the file and view it that way. However I didn’t want to do this as it may cause inconvenience to the viewer, So instead I took a screen capture of the document, placed it in the photo editing website mentioned earlier. Cropped all the unnecessary information from the picture, and then added it to the website as a picture. This worked wonders as it meant that viewers of the website could easily see the technical information without having to download any documents.

My Directors statement was simple, I had a lot to say about the project, most of it good, and it also gave me the opportunity to express why I made the film in the first place.

In regards to the biography of all cast and crew, I wanted to do it as an almost questionaire for each of my cast and crew. This would mean that the maximum amount of information was put across with as fewer words as possible. Making it an overall more pleasant experience for the reader.

The questions I asked were:

  • Name?
  • Age?
  • Years in the industry?
  • Favorite film?
  • Feelings about this project?

In my eyes this covered all the information about each member of my team that was relevant to for the reader.

My production still were an easy choice, I wanted to choose ones that showed both Bret and John as their relationship developed. I also chose stills from before and after the lights went out, showing the variety of lighting styles.

This is a link to my EPK.

http://thesnakeandthehat.wix.com/filmmakers#!electronicpresskit/ckjy

And this is a PDF copy

Electronic Press kit pdf

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