Ever watched the credits at the end of a movie and wondered what all of those people do?

Well, here’s your answer. Below is a simplified list with a real world description for most of those positions.

1st Assistant Director

This is a crew member that some people would put in another department category. I however think that this is a proper category for the AD to belong. An AD is basically the Sergeant of the set. They are in charge of making sure that everything is running smoothly and that your film maintains the schedule that has been set by production. They are also in charge of making sure that all of the talent paperwork is taken care of and all of the talent are in position and ready for each scene.

2nd Assistant Director

This is the assistant to the Assistant Director. They usually handle all of the paperwork for the talent and the extras and help to wrangle them to the set. They are also the ones who handle your main actors and make sure that the actors are getting to set on time. On a larger movie you would also have a 2nd 2nd AD and a DGA trainee AD who assist the 2nd AD, but for your purposes, and your independent film you will probably not have these roles.

Talent Wrangler

On some sets with large amounts of talent you will also have a Talent Wrangler. This person keeps track of all of the background talent and makes sure they get to their correct location. This person reports to the 2nd AD and on your film, may in fact be the 2nd AD. Depending on the amount of talent there could be multiple talent wranglers or there could be Production Assistants specifically assigned to the AD team that help in this process. On my last film we had 350 kids and this position was invaluable to keeping them under control.

Tip#3:

Many times, on an independent film, you can get a volunteer to be your talent driver and assistant, as long as you pay their mileage. Remember you will need as many volunteers as you can get to make your film a success.

2nd 2nd Assistant Director

This person, on a larger movie, is in charge of the daily call sheets for the crew and cast and handles any extra paperwork for the 2nd AD.

DGA Trainee

This is someone that is in the Director’s Guild Of America Trainee Program and is training to be an Assistant Director. This person is there to assist the AD, the 2nd AD and the 2nd 2nd AD and is in charge of the Production Assistants who have been assigned to the AD department.

Tip#1:

A good AD can do his job and keep everyone moving along at a quick pace without having to yell at everyone. Do your homework and make sure you get an AD that is firm and kind. It will make the morale of your crew that much better which in turn shows up on the screen.

Tip#2:

Make Sure your AD and 2nd AD are prepared with their paperwork prior to the shoot. If they need duplications of something, have a PA help them with this ahead of time.

Talent Driver/Assistant

This is a person who is usually assigned to your star talent.

This is a good idea to have as the rest of the crew will be on set well before the actors, preparing the scene, and on set after the actors, wrapping out the location. So having someone who can come at a later time to the set with the actors and leave with the actors is a great help and does not leave you short handed. This person can usually serve as the actor’s assistant as well on an independent film.

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