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Common Assistant Director Terminology

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/19/2010

Here are some common terms that you will hear in the assistant director department of film production.

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    The Assistant Director

    The assistant director position is the one that is truly closest to the director. The assistant director can act as the medium between the director and the rest of the crew and is really the person who runs the set. This coordinating position in very involved and requires a lot of communication, which puts more emphasis on the terminology that the assistant director uses. Here are some of the most common terms you are going to find used in the assistant director department.

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    Teams

    The assistant director department is often in charge of the call sheet. In reference to this you may hear the assistant director say the 1st team, which refers to the principle actors and crew that will be on set. The 2nd team are the stand-ins and extras, all of which are not crucial to the production as individuals. The call sheet that the 1st team gets is called Exhibit G.

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    Second Assistant Director

    There will be a second assistant director that serves a number of functions that the assistant director does not do. On larger productions you will also hear of the 2nd second assistant director. This 2nd second assistant director does different duties as issued by the second assistant director, which usually involves checking on things around set and arranging the actors.

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    Union Rules

    Grace is a decision that is made by the assistant director. What this means is that even though according to union rules the shoot should not extend into scheduled meal times, the AD can call Grace once or twice in a week so as to extend the shooting into the meal period to get the needed shots. Grace cannot be called too many times otherwise it will violate the union restrictions. On the other hand, a Meal Penalty is a penalty that will occur if the crew and actors do not get enough time for scheduled meals. If a meal must be eaten during work without a complete break then it may be called a Walking Meal. Set meal times are dictated, by union rules, to be only considered begun once the last crew member is in line. The phrase for this used in the AD department is "Thirty Minutes After Last One Out." A Forced Call is when a person is required to be back on set in a shorter period of time than the required turnaround time set by the unions. Turnaround in general refers to the union set guidelines that say how long the crew must be allowed between the end of one production day and the beginning of another. A Push Call is when the call time that has been set by the assistant director department is into a crew members turnaround period, which then pushes the set call time. The SAG Count refers to the number of SAG actors that must be on set before union rules dictate that the producer and assistant director are able to use non-SAG actors.

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    On Location

    A Cover Set is a set that is arranged by the AD to back up another set that may have problems. The Cover Set will usually refer to a constructed set that could take the place of an outdoor location if the weather or situation is difficult. If you are on a location shoot and the AD did not get any official permission to shoot there it is called a 50/50.

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    Eyes

    When an assistant director says Eyes it means to keep an "eye out" for important cast or crew members that are going to need to be found in a rush. Eyes are only usually kept on main crew members and cast that are featured in a given scene.