How to Become a Second Assistant Director

Become a Second Assistant Director

What is a 2nd Assistant Director?
Second Assistant Directors, or 2nd ADs, work in pre and post production. Assistant Directors bridge the gap between the Director and the crew. The First Assistant Director will liaise with the Director and delegate tasks to the Second and Third Assistant Directors.

An Overview of the Department
First Assistant Directors represent the Director on set. Second and Third Assistant Directors, by extension, work primarily for the First Assistant Director but may have other tasks given to them by the Director.

The First Assistant Director is responsible for organising much of what goes on on set. For instance, they are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of the set. Further, they will help create shooting schedules and to organise production meetings.

By extension, the Second Assistant Director will prepare call sheets, and be responsible for the coordination of various logistical activities. This can include coordinating actor transportation to filming locations alongside the make-up and wardrobe department.

The Third Assistant Director is usually responsible for the organisation of extras, managing members of the public when out on a shoot and ensuring the security and maintenance of locations.

The Role of the Second Assistant Director in Pre-production
During pre-production the Second Assistant Director has numerous responsibilities. Some of their main responsibilities include breaking down the scripts in order to gain an in-depth understanding of them, attending production meetings, and working with the make-up and wardrobe department to align logistics. Further responsibilities may include organising Director rehearsals and creating budgets.

The Role of the Second Assistant Director in Post-production
During production they are responsible for ensuring the right actors are on set for filming, producing call sheets and communicating with a range of departments to include hair and make-up and wardrobe, caterers and the production office.


  • Good organisational and administrative skills
  • A self-starter
  • IT skills
  • Willing to work long and sometimes unsociable hours
  • Able to work well as part of a team, and to take direction
  • A good multi-tasker
  • Work well and stay calm in high-pressure situations

How to Become a Second Assistant Director
So how do you become a Second Assistant Director? Well, as is the case with many of these roles, experience is essential. While a degree in a related field such as media can be useful, you will find that the most crucial skills are developed on the job. However, it is worth noting that in a highly competitive industry a degree can be good grounds for differentiation.  You may look to gain experience working as a Runner, Camera Assistant or Production Assistant before moving on ahead to this role.

Become a Second Assistant Director Today
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Second Assistant Director vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.