An assistant director (AD) is a person who helps a filmmaker or theatre director in the creation of a movie, television show, or stage production.
In the realm of film, the duties of an AD include setting the shooting schedule, tracking daily progress against the filming production schedule, arranging logistics, preparing daily call sheets, checking the arrival of cast and crew, maintaining order on the set, rehearsing cast, and directing extras. Extended responsibilities may include taking care of health and safety of the crew. Historically the role of an assistant to the director (not the same as an Assistant director) was a stepping stone to directing work; Alfred Hitchcock was an AD, as was James McTeigue. This transition into film directing is no longer common in feature films, but remains an avenue for television work, particularly in Australia and Britain. It is more common now for ADs to transition to production management and producer roles than to directing. The role of AD has also expanded to become a separate technical profession.
In the realm of theatre, an "assistant director" can take on many different roles. Responsibilities range from helping the director take notes during the rehearsal period to actually staging parts of the play. Many aspiring theatre directors begin their careers assistant directing.
Often, the role of assistant director is broken down into the following sub-roles:
▪ The First Assistant Director (First or 1st AD) has overall AD responsibilities and supervises the Second AD. The "first" is directly responsible to the producer and "runs" the floor or set. The 1st AD and the unit production manager are two of the highest "below the line" technical roles in filmmaking (as opposed to creative or "above the line" roles) and so, in this strict sense, the role of 1AD is non-creative. ▪ The Second Assistant Director (Second or 2AD) creates the daily call sheets from the production