Regarding yesterday’s diatribe, I wanted to mention an AD I know who is an exception to the rule.

He is one of the nicest guys that I’ve ever met.  And not “nice” on the evil-troll-to-asperger-syndrome scale that most ADs are rated on.  I mean, even compared to normal people, he’s really, really nice.

Other than the fact that he’s supremely organized and efficient, you would never know this guy is an assistant director.  He speaks calmly and clearly.  He respects the work of others on set.  Hell, he smiles.

But, alas, I can’t name this particular AD without compromising my own identity.  Instead, I’d like to request comments.  Have you ever worked with an assistant director whose company you enjoyed?  Who treated you and others well?  Who didn’t yell and scream and holler at the slightest provocation?

If so, take a moment to mention them by name here.  Let’s see if we can encourage that kind of behavior, if only a little.

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19 Responses

  1. I’m a foolish ‘new-to-the-business’ type but I have worked on a feature and many a classroom set where it seems some people think an AD is someone who yells the most on set, even if there’s nothing to yell about. My question is: are these ‘nice’ ADs as effective as the tyrants? I worked with one who made people cry regularly but people still respected her because dammit, she got the job done.

  2. I just moved to ATL to attend the Art institute for video production. I had went onto Craigslist asking different producers to come volunteer on the set not only to help, but to get some training. One producer called me back named Leandre Fiorri, he is excellent. The first day I worked with him, he had already excepted me to be on his team. At the end of production each day he thanks everybody, by the end of each evening he gives everybody a personal phone call thanking them again. I love working with people like that. He always says he does not want to be one of those directors who act like assholes. I thank you Leandre for allowing me to be part of your team. He says we are all family. Could anyone ask for a better producer.

  3. DAVID TICOTIN!!! The nicest most respectful AD in the business. Funny enough, two men who worked under him are both mentioned in this blog.

  4. I haven’t worked with as many ADs as I would have liked, but I’ve had my experiences with both good and bad (mostly good). Sam Mahony and James Moran, though, are hands down the calmest and coolest guys I’ve worked with so far.

  5. I guess I’ve been lucky:

    Dale White
    Caryn Shick
    John Stewart (not that John Stewart)

    All great ADs to be around and work with.

  6. I’ll also add Joe Reidy into the mix. He’s Scorsese’s guy, I worked with him on Shutter Island and he was absolutely remarkable. Any aspiring AD would be unbelievably lucky to spend just a few minutes around him.

  7. I too have been very fortunate to work with some wonderful AD’s. However, I have worked with a few AD’s that are nice to the scripty and the keys (we can save their ass!) But were jerks to their own department!

  8. Vern Davidson, Val Finkle, and Brad Morris (2nd AD) are all friendly and good at their jobs. I worked with them recently are really think they’re fantastic.

  9. When I was juicing, best-boying (what a term…), and gaffing commercials, I worked with countless terrific ADs. Nice people with a great sense of humor, well organized and calm under fire — rather than point fingers and shout blame, they worked with each department to solve whatever problems arouse. These were the sort of people I wanted to have dinner with after work.

    Sure, we had to endure the occasional dick, but life in commercials back then was truly sweet — cost-plus jobs, ten hour rates, lots of location work in gorgeous locales. Money falling from the sky. Everybody was happy to be there.

    Now that I toil in the trenches of television, it’s not so nice. Episodic AD’s are the worst, but theirs is a thankless, miserable job. That doesn’t excuse their assholeishness, but an explanation isn’t an excuse. And since misery loves company, miserable people often seem to gravitate to miserable jobs.

    Things are better in multi-camera sit-coms, another cloistered world where people are — by and large — happy to be. The money isn’t great, but at least we don’t get flogged and keel-hauled like those poor bastards in episodics. Accordingly, sit-com AD’s tend to be a lot more pleasant. I have run into the occasional up-tight, self-important jerk on a sit-com, but that’s rare. Doug Tobin is a good one, but I’ve worked with many — unfortunately, after three glasses of wine, I can’t remember their last names. Now that I think of it, I can’t remember MY last name…

    You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway — among multi-cam directors, three stand high above the rest IMHO: Lenny Garner, Steve Zuckerman, and Jaime Widows. There are other good ones, but those three possess a combination of talent, skill, and a very human sense of graciousness that makes the work day so much smoother and infinitely more fun on set.

  10. I worked with one AD years ago. A hell of a nice guy. He’s retired now. Never lost his cool and was always quick with a joke or pun.

    So many good people back then. I miss them.

  11. I’ve been working in Atlanta for about a year now and all the ADs I’ve come across have been wonderful people. The three ADs I worked with full time thanked us every night and were genuinely kind and awesome. I’d love to work with them again. 1st AD – Angela Gomes, Key 2nd AD – Rhonda Guthrie, 2nd 2nd AD – Chad Wheeler.

  12. Apparently, I’ve been really lucky. I’ve worked with LOTS of A.D.s and I can only think of 4-5 off the top of my head who were/are total dicks. In case you might be thinking that maybe NY A.D.’s are somehow different, the Dick contingent and Nice contingents are pretty evenly divided between NY and L.A. folks.

    And I’ll leave you to explain the prevalence of stupid job titles to VJ.

  13. I’m not in “the industry”, but… (well, I am in _an_ industry, just not y’all’s)

    …where in the hell does an “Assistant” _Anything_ – even Director – get off being a dick to anyone? Unless the actual director is an überdick, then I guess it’s ok.

    But you would think they would save the dickery until they had a title without “Assistant” right up front.

  14. Hey, “Me” (who isn’t me), why don’t you name names? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, since you’re being so complimentary.

  15. Mark Constance. Formerly an LA AD now based out of New England, works on a lot of Boston movies. He’s one in a million.

  16. I worked with a great SET of ADs on my last show before I moved to LA. They didn’t yell, they didn’t curse. They did rib us to death, but it was actually FUNNY. They made us laugh even. One day, they thanked us for working late. It was pretty excellent. I would work with them any day of the week.

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