2nd Assistant Director (TV Drama) – Lilian Sung

What is your job role and what does that involve?

As a 2nd Assistant Director your typical daily responsibilities include preparing the call sheet (which details the next day’s filming logistics) and coordinating these logistics with a range of departments such as costume, makeup, production, locations and transport. Managing the Unit Base i.e. backstage, is also a big part of a 2nd which involves overseeing the movements of cast to ensure they are ready for set at the correct time. There’s a number of other responsibilities which differ between filming and prep, and just to name a few this would typically involve breaking down scripts, booking supporting artists in line with budgets, and organising the likes of rehearsals and costume and makeup fittings.

What are the roles within your team and how important is the AD department?

Depending on the production, a typical AD Department would involve a 1st AD, 2nd AD, 3rd AD and a runner. The 1st AD represents the director on set, and the rest of the team by extension, but as a whole, the team help to bring the Director and crew together. The team oversees the daily progress of filming and help to ensure the day runs safely and efficiently on and off set so that cast and crew successfully complete the day as scheduled. It’s an important department as is every department and every role in any production.

What training do you have and have you always worked in this department?

No formal training but I was blessed to have on the job training (learning from mistakes!) and opportunities to shadow and watch. Like most, I started off as a runner (a little older) and worked in Production, then moved into Accounts, then into the AD Department. I didn’t have a clear plan of what I wanted to do (still don’t!) and I was lucky to be given the opportunities to move into and out of departments with great support and encouragement from the crew.

What key skills do you need for your job?

Whilst my skills are still developing as a 2nd AD, I believe you need to have strong organisation and time management skills to attain a level efficiency as well as good interpersonal and communications skills which are essential when coordinating logistics between cast and crew.

What job role might you go for next?

Always love to learn and to be challenged so grateful for any opportunity thrown my way!

Where have you worked – which regions?

Not many places sadly – London, Glasgow and the North East.

What jobs have you enjoyed the most and why? 

I’ve appreciated and enjoyed every job despite their ups and downs.

Is there anything that people should be aware of when pursuing this role?

To put it simply – its hard work with very little sleep so be prepared.

What should you definitely NOT DO on your first day on the job? 

I assume this question relates to your first job in film and TV, in which case –

Don’t be late. If you’re on time, you’re late.

What should you definitely do on your first day on the job?

I assume this question relates to your first job in film and TV, in which case –

Be early and be prepared. Hopefully you should have a rough idea of what you’ll be doing, so do some research and come prepared so that you’re one step ahead. For example, if you know you’ll be driving and going out to get lunches, then research the nearest food spots, download google maps/waze, bring a mobile phone holder for the car and a hands free kit, a notepad, pen, sharpie etc. Its simple stuff, but it’s doing the simple stuff well which make people stand out.

Any Top tips…

I assume this question relates to your first job in film and TV, in which case –

Hopefully not too clichéd, but always try to go the extra mile in everything that you can do – it really does make a difference.

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