Oh to be a director! Is there a more dramatic and coveted position in Hollywood? Perhaps, but a director’s jobs are no joke! Directors are responsible for every aspect of what an audience sees and hears, and it is his/her job to bring the producer’s vision to life. Directors function as artists, psychologists, technical advisers, coordinators and more. With so much on his/her plate, a director needs a competent team to help get tasks accomplished. These people are the floor manager, the assistant/associate director, and the production assistant, each with unique jobs to help make the process of producing television run smoothly.
The primary role of the floor manager is to see to it that all activities taking place on the “floor” (the studio or location site) are taken care of, including being the liaison between the talent and the director behind the scenes. Before the show, floor managers are responsible for assisting in scenery set up, placing props in their necessary positions, dress the set, and put up displays. During the rehearsals and the actual production, floor managers must coordinate the floor crew and the talent while relaying the director’s cues. After production, floor managers strike the set and restore the location to its original condition. Remember the limitations of this role, however. The director is still in charge and before making any big decisions regarding the production, it is important to ask him/her first.
The main job of the assistant director is to assist the director during production i.e. the rehearsals and on-the-air performance or taping sessions. The assistant director many times will be the one giving “standby cues” telling the production crew to get ready for the next step. This gives the director more time to look at preview monitors and plan shots. Assistant directors also may need to direct rehearsals before the actual shooting to allow the director to step back and observe. At all times, be prepared to take over the show and direct if the director cannot for some reason direct, or if he/she needs a fresh view.
The production assistant is a very diverse role, and those in the position must be able to adapt. Some roles include but are not limited to: duplicating and distributing scripts, searching for props, welcoming talent, calling taxis, getting coffee, and perhaps most importantly taking notes. The majority of a production assistant’s job involves following the director and making necessary notes for the director to use later.
All jobs, no matter big or small are important in order to produce great television.