Q: How do you interview an AD?

September 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Mail Bag

Q:  How do you interview an AD?  How do you know he/she is worth the chance as so much is riding on his/her capability to handle chaos and remain calm?

Jake H.  Wahoo Nebraska

It’s interesting because I just did a consultation with one of my students at NYFA the other day about how to choose the right DP for their shoot.  So, I am going to make this a general how to interview someone post because I feel that each role on the set is important.  Yes, the AD is a super high pressure job and it may seem more important that you get the right AD than getting the right grip or PA, but the truth of the matter is, one person that does not fit within the team could equal disaster for a production.

The key is to know how the producer and director work.  So much of being good at these two jobs in particular, is knowing who you are as a person.  You need to know this so that you can fill in the holes and make sure to get a balanced crew.  You must know what each crew members job in general is so that you can ask for a sample schedule and ask how long it takes them to do a schedule, but the most important question is…how do you like to work.  If you know that you like to have a meeting right before the shoot, then after lunch, then at the end of the day and the person you’re interviewing really doesn’t find it necessary and in fact thinks it’s stupid, then they are probably not the right person for you to work with.  The thing is, there is not right or wrong way to do the things it takes to make a movie (as long as you’re being ethical) so it’s not a “bad” thing for you to hire people that work the way you do.  If you like to laugh and have a lot of fun on set and you are interviewing an AD or DP or anyone for that matter who is sitting across the table from you for like 20 minutes and hasn’t cracked a smile, do you think this person is a good fit for your production?  They may be super qualified and really good at their job, but you are going to have to spend a lot of time with them so they may not be the right fit.

If you’re the producer and you know that your director is very internal with his process, it’s probably not a good idea to hire an AD that is an introvert.  On the flip side, you know your director is very A.D.D., be honest (and respectful of the director) when you are talking to the AD and tell them what the director is like and ask them how they would handle that.  Part of your job as a producer is to be able to see who will work well together and who won’t.

One particular thing to remember when interviewing an AD though, is that their job can be VERY stressful, so make sure that they have a calm demeanor and that they are respectful enough to ask the crew how long it will take to set the shot and that they trust the crew to do their job, but can get them to work efficiently.  Above all, TRUST is the word you need to remember when hiring key crew members.  Do you trust them to do the job well?  Do they trust you to do yours?  Do they trust the crew to do theirs?

It can be a tricky process.  One last thing I will say on this and it’s a really hard one for new producers and that is, you may have to fire someone.  It’s OK as long as it’s because the project or the crew is suffering because this person is on the project.  It’s really not a personal thing or an ego thing so make sure that you remember that.  One bad apple on set can poison the entire shoot so you’ve got to be able to do what it takes to make sure the process is smooth.

Q: What is the best scheduling program for beginners?

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Mail Bag

Q: What is the best scheduling program for beginners? Elaina H., Omaha, Nebraska

I don’t know about the best and I certainly don’t think that being a “beginner” has anything to do with it.  The industry standard is Entertainment Partners (or EP, formally known as Movie Magic).  This program is the most widely used in the industry so it’s good to jump right in and learn it so that you can communicate with others during production without issue.  Meaning, if you are working with another AD and you’re scheduling a shoot they are, more likely than not, going to be doing the schedule on this program so they can email you files without having to convert them into another program.  It just makes things easier.  There are some other programs out there that are good as well, but they are not as widely used.  So, if you are going to be doing a single project with you and your buddies a program like Gorilla might work perfectly well for you.  But, if you are looking to pursue a career as a professional AD, then EP is the way to go.  It really depends on the scope of your project and what your personal goals are moving forward.

Episode Seventy-Two: The 2nd A.D.s

May 18, 2011 by  
Filed under episodes

The role of the 2nd A.D. is an extremely important one and is very different from that of the 1st A.D. While the 1st A.D. spends all of his or her time on set, the 2nd A.D. is primarily in the production office, working with the producers to make sure that the production is running smoothly and planning the next day’s shoot. Holden Hume and Meredith Corrado join us to discuss both the 2nd A.D. and the 2nd 2nd A.D. positions in depth and explain how their jobs fit in to the grand scheme of a film production.

Holden Hume- 2nd A.D.

Holden was born in Sterling, Colorado and lived most of his life in Sidney, Nebraska.  He gained a love of film at an early age, watching everything he could, which was at times difficult given the fact that the nearest movie theater was 30 miles away. When the local theater opened back up some years later, Holden began writing movie reviews for the local paper. He later went on to earn his degree in Film and Video studies at the University of Oklahoma. After graduation he moved to LA to pursue a career
in film production. He started out in LA as an intern for a small production company on the back lot of Universal Studios by day, and a night Auditor for a motel on Hollywood Blvd by night (an experience that was about as far removed from small town Nebraska as you can get). Holden’s first industry job was as a PA for 300 dollars a week on a small Horror Movie called DARK RIDE. He and went on to become a 2nd 2nd AD a 2nd AD and eventually a 1st AD for non-union productions Film and Television. He met his wife Meredith Corrado (also an AD), on a film set, and they now have a 1 year old son named Homer. They are both currently ADing, producing and writing. They live in the San Fernando Valley.

To get in touch with Holden or Meredith you can email them at hume8617@yahoo.com

Meredith Corrado- Producer, 2nd 2nd A.D.

I was born in Albany, NY, raised in Mexico, MO, and went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, AR.  After college, I moved to Chicago, IL for a few years, and at some point realized I wanted to make movies.  I volunteered my help at Movieside Film Festival and quickly fell into working on a documentary.  Around the same time, my twin sister was graduating from special effects school and wanted to move to Los Angeles, and here we are.  Finding a job in Los Angeles wasn’t easy, as I found out, you need to know someone.  I went from Production Assistant to Craft Services and eventually up the Assistant Director ladder to now Producing.  With my own production company, Corrado Studios, my husband and I get to work together doing what we love.

Jenna Edwards- Producer, Film Method Co-Host

For more information about Jenna Edwards please visit the About page.

Producing Sunflowers Website
Burbank International Film Fest

Episode Nineteen: The Script Masters

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under episodes

Episode19_photoIn our first episode of Season Two we talk to two heroes of pre-production: 1st AD and script supervisor. These two positions are crucial to the pre-pro phase of making a film. As we learn in this episode, the better prepared these two are for your production, the smoother the gears will run.


Episode Nineteen Guests

Elaine Gibson- 1st AD

Elaine_DriveThruA born and raised Californian, Elaine was raised in a family of photographers, painters, and writers, so her passion for the arts started early on. An adventurer since birth, Elaine has traveled the globe seeking out the new and unknown in art, which has taken her to 4 different continents. Though she spent her freshman year of college at Iona College in New York, a fateful 3-month trip to China soon landed Elaine in UCLA’s School of Film and TV. Despite studying to become a director, her constant need for a challenge and the joy of organizing choas lead her to assistant directing her peers’ films. She graduated UCLA TFT in 2005, with an award in socially conscious film making, as well as numerous films as an AD under her belt. After working for the likes of Scott Rudin and John Daly, Elaine decided her passion really lies with independent film. Elaine’s addiction to the unbridled energy of Indie sets, and the belief that working through challenges only make movies better, has time and again drawn her to the 1st AD’s seat. Elaine currently works as 1st AD and Producer on independent films.

Amy Arter- Script Supervisor

Amy_ArterAmy Arter grew up in San Diego. After studying at San Diego State University, Amy, who had always loved film but never thought there was a career in it for her, took a job in the art department on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 where fate placed her work station directly behind the Script Supervisor.  After a week watching the Script Supervisor work and finding out what the job entailed, Amy was hooked.  She immediately researched the job and was lucky enough to study under veteran Script Supervisor Robert Gary.

Soon after her training, Amy started working as a Script Supervisor and has been working consistently ever since.  She has been a script supervisor on over 45 different productions in the film, tv, internet and commercial world.

Jenna Edwards- Resident Producing Advisor

Jenna_ResizedFor more information about Jenna, see the About page or click here.

[nggallery id=32]

Episode Eleven: The AD Experience

September 2, 2009 by  
Filed under episodes

Episode11_photoYou may assume that an assistant director on a film set is helping to actually direct the movie. Judging by the name alone it would be easy to come to that conclusion. What you may not know is that the ADs are responsible for coordinating every department on set and all the actors as well. The different AD jobs are some of the most important on a film project and definitely not for the faint of heart.


Read more

Soonami Productions