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Through the Eyes of the 1st Assistant Director

  • 25 Jun 2020
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Zoom

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  • Included with your membership

On Thursday, June 25, 2020, SD Media Pros welcomed accomplished Director and 1st Assistant Director Drew Rosenberg  (drewrosenberg.com). At our meeting called “Through the Eyes of the First Assistant Director,” Drew took us through the complete prep she does for a shoot. She mentioned she uses the industry standard scheduling software [MovieMagic] (https://www.ep.com/home/managing-production/movie-magic-scheduling/)  and displayed several slides illustrating how she uses it to keep a shoot on track and on budget.


At our meeting called “Through the Eyes of the First Assistant Director,” Drew took us through the complete prep she does for a shoot. She mentioned she uses the industry standard scheduling software MovieMagic, and displayed several slides illustrating how she uses it to keep a shoot on track and on budget.

An interesting on-set story Drew shared was working with firearms. As a self-proclaimed pacifist, she was very reluctant to handle any firearms. The weapon specialist on the shoot was adamant about her understanding how to handle and fire the weapon. His reasoning was that as the person whose highest priority is safety on set, she needs to fully understand the danger and responsibility of having weapons there. Afterward, she admitted it was extremely exhilarating and had a newfound respect for firearms.

Her presentation was followed up by excellent questions from our members. Drew answered every question in-depth, giving our members direct industry insider perspective on day-to-day operations on big Hollywood productions.

Drew speaks from experience when talking about life on set through the eyes of the 1st AD, having worked on six Academy Award winning films, and many well and suvccessful know television shows.

Drew ran through the responsibilities of a 1st AD both before and during production, always with an eye toward safety for the cast and crew. 

If you missed the program, you can watch the Zoom meeting on the SD Media Pros YouTube channel.

What does a 1st AD do BEFORE production?

  • Works closely with the director and Unit Production Manager (UPM) to organize pre-production tasks
  • Contacts and hires crew
  • Acquires gear: rentals or purchasing
  • Breaks down the script
  • Prepares a shooting schedule
  • In cooperation with the UPM, the 1st AD takes into account the production budget, crew and cast availability, location limitations, and the time necessary to achieve each shot

What does a 1st AD do DURING production?

  • Prepares call sheets
  • Ensures the documents are distributed to all relevant talent and staff
  • Supervises of the cast and crew
  • Directs background action as assigned by the director
  • Delegates and directs 2nd AD to wrangle cast and other duties
  • Calls the roll

In addition, the 1st AD plays a key role for safety on set. How will this change under the new COVID-19 protocols? We’ll cover how 1st ADs approached safety before and what changes are being made to prepare for COVID-19-era productions. 

Presenter Bio

Drew Rosenberg grew up in Princeton, New Jersey and graduated from Brown University. She began her career in the arts working in off-Broadway theatre in New York City, and as a classically trained singer. 

Although Drew’s primary professional focus on set today is directing, she spent many years as a first assistant director on Academy Award winning films LA Confidential,Philadelphia, Misery, Reversal of Fortune, Running on Empty, and Trevor. Other credits include Along Came Polly, Ghostbusters 2, King of New York, Friends with Money, and The Bad Lieutenant, as well as 7 features for HBO.

Drew has also worked extensively in episodic television as a 1st AD. She has garnered two Directors Guild of America award nominations and one win. 

Drew was one of a handful of directors who shot 65 one-hour episodes for Fox's locally shot telenovela series, Saints & Sinners, starring Maria Conchita Alonso, Robin Givens, Mel Harris, Charles Shaunnessy, Natalie Martinez and Scott Bailey. Drew wrote and directed the short film, Daybreak, which received an LA Emmy. Take a look at Drew’s [IMDB] - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0742204/

News You Can Use

Mark Maisonneuve discussed some of the changes we face on set with COVID-19. You can see his report at the beginning of the meeting recording.

His slides contain many great tips, and links to great resources - SDMP New 0620

Also, we have added a COVID-19 Update page to this website, with the links Mark mentioned, plus many other resources for the dealing with the changes to the production world during the pandemic. 

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