Films and actors change faster than seasons. Oscars, BAFTA, and premiers are annually anticipated upon by movie buffs from all over the globe. The glitz and glamour of the film industry has always been the enigmatic underbelly of the business for those of us who are not directly involved, which got me into thinking that most of us tend to focus only on fascinating side, but how about the other one? Which coincides with the question, how do movies REALLY get made? We judge a movie based on how it stirs our emotions, how it is seamlessly similar to the situation we’re experiencing now, how it tells OUR story, but behind all that, do we even bother to know what goes on behind the curtain? Who are those telling the tales off-screen?
Personally, the heart and soul of the movie does not lie on the shoulders of the Director, but it is a team effort of the production crew. While the director is in charge of the creative handle of a film, the person who really puts that plan in motion (on set) is the ASSISTANT DIRECTOR. As “first mate” to the “captain”, the AD is in charge of making things run smoothly and is involved in everything from scheduling the shots, making sure the production stays within budget, and helps the Director in making his vision a reality, while troubleshooting at the same time. The spotlight may always shine upon the Director, but the one whom you should befriend during production is the AD, simply because, he/she runs the set. Being an AD is not as simple as it seems, which makes it a double-edged sword for those who have experienced it.
This made me wonder if I actually know someone who calls this his field of expertise, while browsing (stalking) my favorite social networking site, I came across Satti’s page. I met her through a common friend the last time she was home from New York (she spent the last two years studying/working at the big apple). What stayed with me was her answer of “compassion” in our debate about the most important trait an assistant director should posses. She explained that not only should the AD be a fast and critical thinker and doer (because as Murphy’s law states, “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong”) but must also show compassion not only for the big picture, but also to each and every member of the “fleet” as there is no such thing as smooth sailing in the vast seas of Film/TV production. She certainly fits the image of someone knowledgable about the industry, having juggled numerous productions since graduating from New York Film Academy. She’s seemingly branching out to every aspect of the production having worked in different departments during each filming. She is currently working on a project with her fellow Filipina and is embarking on a new but related industry of publishing.
Here are the photos of my friend Satti at work…