•  Step-up to 1st AD in Film

    Are you an experienced 2nd or 3rd Assistant Director working in Feature Films who is looking to step-up to 1st AD?

    Are you a recently stepped up 1st AD looking to consolidate your knowledge and gain more confidence in the role?

    Do you have 1st AD  experience in HETV and want to transition into Feature Films?

    If you answered yes, then this free to attend course is for you

    thanks to the support for ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the British Film Institute (BFI) as part of the Future Film Skills programme.

    Photo by Chris Murray on Unsplash

    The Step-up to 1st AD in Film training course will enable up to 16 participants to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to step-up to 1st Assistant Directors. This free to attend course is taught by established and leading Assistant Directors and is aimed at ensuring that UK Film productions have access to a cohort of skilled and educated 1st Assistant Directors who can bring increased value to the production chain.

    Assistant Directors need to be equipped to understand the necessary approach to take in what is a sensitive position, given that they are often torn between the needs of the direction and the requests of the production. This training course will ensure that  participants are better placed to serve both producers and directors, as well as maintaining a safe environment on set and ensuring they remain mentally healthy throughout the shoot process. It will also give experienced 2nd or 3rd ADs the skills and knowledge to feel confident making the transition to the 1st AD role.

    By the end of this training course participants will have:

    • been trained by respected and established colleagues;

    • gained a detailed understanding of scheduling and implications on the production process;

    • learned how to position themselves within both the operational and the creative process;

    • shared their knowledge, experience and concerns with colleagues and peers;

    • further developed their awareness of human resources management;

    • had personal mentoring support from an established film 1st AD;

    • had the benefit of a peer support network;

    This training course will provide an opportunity for individuals to not only improve their technical AD skills in scheduling a script but also their softer, leadership and management skills, to assess the potential and limits of their role in the shooting process.

    This course is recommended for:

    • Professional Assistant Directors who have held the position of 2nd or 3rd AD on at least three significant feature films or

    • Recently stepped up 1st ADs looking to consolidate their knowledge and gain more confidence in the role or

    • 1st ADs who are looking to transition over to film from HETV


    • Applications close - 11pm on 13th January 2021
    • Notifications - by 15th January 2021
    • Confirmation of attendance - by 18th January 2021

    Course Dates

    The course will be running over 4 consecutive Saturdays on Zoom from 09.30 -16.30

    • Saturday 23rd January 2021
    • Saturday 30th January 2021
    • Saturday 6th February 2021
    • Saturday 13th February 2021

About our funders

The project is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the British Film Institute (BFI) as part of the Future Film Skills programme.

Please note:

This course would normally cost participants £200, but thanks to funding from the ScreenSkills Future Film Skills fund, it is currently being offered to you free. If you fail to attend we reserve the right to request reimbursement of costs, unless your place can be taken by someone else.
  • This course is delivered by Film Industry Professionals and sector experts

    Neil Wallace | Course Lead

    This course will be led by experienced Assistant Director  Neil Wallace, who has worked as a 1st AD on high profile series and films such as King Fury 2, Charlie's Angels, Hellboy,  Johnny English Strikes Again, The Night Manager, Victoria, High Rise and A Royal Night Out. In addition to his 1st AD work Neil also regularly delivers training for a number of organisations including  the NFTS and The Production Guild of Great Britain.

  • Paul Sarony | Course Tutor

    Paul Sarony is a well-established  Executive Producer/Producer  with credits including  The Lovebirds, Show Dog, Vampire Academy – Blood Sisters, Lessons in Love, The Man Who Would Be Bond, Mrs. Brown, Welcome to Sarajevo; Bhaji on the Beach; Hideous Kinky, and The Englishman Went Up A Hill and Came Down A Mountain. He was Production Adviser on the Oscar-winning film Shine and formerly General Manager of HTV International.  Paul also guest tutors short courses and master classes at the National TV & Film School, the Production Guild and is one of the Skillset 100 registered tutors.
  • Application Form

  • Please provide a list of your 3 most recent credits. These can be either as a 2nd or 3rd AD on feature films or 1st AD HETV credits or a combination.

  • Please detail title of production, your credit and the director
  • Please detail title of production, your credit and the director
  • Please detail title of production, your credit and the director
  • Supplementary Information

  • Equal Opportunities

    ScreenSkills and Mission Accomplished are committed to Equal Opportunities within the screen sector. Applications are invited from all members of the community and particularly from those who are currently underrepresented in the film and TV industry, e.g. members of the Black and Minority Ethnic communities, from those who are disabled and from women. The information you provide will remain confidential.

  • The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'.
  • Ethnic origin is not about nationality, place of birth or citizenship. It is about the group to which you perceive you belong. Please tick one only. If you belong to multiple groups, you can indicate mixed background below.
  • Confirmation of Attendance

    ScreenSkills requires participants who are accepted on to course to have completed the following online courses prior to this course starting:

    We will ask for evidence of completion as part of the acceptance process.

    We would recommend all applicants consider taking these free online courses as a core part of their professional development.