Assistant video and motion picture director


Assistant video and motion picture directors are responsible for the organisation, scheduling and planning of the cast, crew and activities on a set. They assist the video and motion picture directors, maintain budgets and ensure that all production activities go according to schedule.

Here are the typical duties of an assistant video and motion picture director:

  • Collaborate with the director to understand the creative vision and objectives of the project.
  • Assist in the development of shot lists, storyboards, and visual plans for each scene or sequence.
  • Coordinate with the production team to schedule and organize shooting locations, equipment, and personnel.
  • Assist in casting and auditioning actors, providing input on performance choices and helping to guide rehearsals.
  • Set up and manage camera and lighting equipment, ensuring proper framing, focus, and exposure.
  • Coordinate with the cinematographer and camera operators to achieve the desired visual style and mood.
  • Monitor and manage the continuity of scenes, ensuring consistency in actors’ performances, props, and set design.
  • Direct and guide background actors and extras, ensuring their appropriate placement and actions in each scene.
  • Assist in directing and supervising the work of the production crew, including grips, gaffers, and other technicians.
  • Review and provide feedback on dailies and rough cuts, offering insights on storytelling, pacing, and technical aspects.
  • Collaborate with the editor and post-production team, providing guidance and input during the editing process.
  • Assist with the coordination of special effects, stunts, and other complex production elements.
  • Ensure adherence to safety protocols and regulations on set, prioritizing the well-being of the cast and crew.
  • Handle administrative tasks such as scheduling, organizing production documents, and managing communication channels.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to assistant video and motion picture director:

director’s right hand man
director’s right-hand person
assistant director
second assistant director
assistant motion picture director
assistant video director
first assistant director
director’s right hand woman
third assistant director
director’s right-hand man
director’s right-hand woman
director’s right hand person

Working conditions

The work environment of an assistant video and motion picture director can vary depending on the project and shooting locations. They may work in studios, on location, or on outdoor sets, often facing demanding and unpredictable conditions. The role involves long hours, including evenings, weekends, and potentially extended periods away from home during production. The assistant director may need to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, collaborating with the director and production team to address any challenges that arise. They must be physically fit and able to handle the demands of an active and fast-paced production environment.

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in film, media production, or a related field is often preferred for this role, although practical experience in the industry is highly valued. Assistant video and motion picture directors typically start as production assistants or assistant directors, gaining hands-on experience and building their skills. Strong knowledge of filmmaking techniques, equipment, and industry-standard software is essential. Excellent communication and leadership skills are crucial for effectively working with the director, cast, and crew. Attention to detail, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to work under pressure are also important traits.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Assistant video and motion picture director is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Assistant video and motion picture director career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to assistant video and motion picture director.

broadcasting programme director
location manager
set buyer
publishing rights manager
script supervisor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of assistant video and motion picture director. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of assistant video and motion picture director with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

programme funding manager
post-production supervisor
video and motion picture producer
movie distributor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of assistant video and motion picture director.

  • Film production process: The various development stages of making a film, such as scriptwriting, financing, shooting, editing, and distribution.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of assistant video and motion picture director.

  • Apply company policies: Apply the principles and rules that govern the activities and processes of an organisation.
  • Manage budgets: Plan, monitor and report on the budget.
  • Consult with production director: Consult with the director, producer and clients throughout the production and post-production process.
  • Handle paperwork: Handle work-related paperwork ensuring that all relevant requirements are met.
  • Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
  • Coordinate transportation: Scheduling of transportation operations.
  • Coordinate rehearsals: Organise rehearsal schedules for actors and crew, collect and update necessary contact information as well as organise any additional meetings for the actors and crew.
  • Develop project schedule: Define the project completion stages and create a timeline. Synchronise necessary activities, taking into account the convergence of production elements. Establish a schedule.
  • Collaborate with a technical staff in artistic productions: Coordinate the artistic activities with others who are specialised in the technical side of the project. Inform the technical staff of the plans and methods suggested and obtain feedback on feasibility, cost, procedures and other relevant information. Be able to understand the vocabulary and practises concerning technical issues.
  • Apply organisational techniques: Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.
  • Analyse goal progress: Analyse the steps which have been taken in order to reach the organisation’s goals in order to assess the progress which has been made, the feasibility of the goals, and to ensure the goals can be met according to deadlines.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of assistant video and motion picture director. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Content marketing strategy: The process of creation and share of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.
  • Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.
  • Audiovisual equipment: The characteristics and usage of different tools that stimulate the sight and audio senses.
  • Cinematography: The science of recording light and electromagnetic radiation in order to create a motion picture. The recording can happen electronically with an image sensor or chemically on light sensitive materials such as film stock.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of assistant video and motion picture director. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Liaise with event sponsors: Plan meetings with sponsors and event organisers to discuss and monitor upcoming events.
  • Create storyboards: Apply story development and plot lines and edit animations to create storyboards that render the flow of the animation. Map out key scenes and develop characters.
  • Purchase props: Buy the required props for a performance.
  • Liaise with financiers: Liaise with people willing to finance the project. Negotiate deals and contracts.
  • Attend read-through: Attend the organised reading of the script, where the actors, director, producers, and scriptwriters read the script thoroughly.
  • Present storyboard: Present finished storyboard to the producer and video and motion picture director. Make adaptations when necessary.
  • Recruit personnel: Carry out assessment and recruitment of personnel for the production.
  • Calculate production costs: Calculate the costs for every production stage and department.
  • Fix meetings: Fix and schedule professional appointments or meetings for clients or superiors.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Analyse weather forecast: Analyse weather forecasts and the information provided on meteorological conditions, such as wind forces, atmospheric structures, clouds, and visibility. Provide analyses depending on the requirements of various different industries and service providers.
  • Search for a suitable location: Search for locations suitable for film or photo shoots.
  • Ensure visual quality of the set: Inspect and amend the scenery and set-dressing to make sure the visual quality is optimal with in constraints of time, budget and manpower.

ISCO group and title

3435 – Other artistic and cultural associate professionals

  1. Assistant video and motion picture director – ESCO
Last updated on July 6, 2023

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