The Mechanics and Art of Being An Assistant Director

Taught by Jason Roberts

$74.50 $149

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Class hosted by: Jason Roberts Jason Roberts IMDB

(AD for Angelina Jolie, Doug Liman, Michael Bay, Alexander Payne, Seth MacFarlane)

Jason Roberts is a DGA Assistant Director with over 30 years of experience, who has FIVE movies opening up this year alone including; Downsizing (Directed by Alexander Payne starring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and Christoph Waltz), Ghost In The Shell (Directed by Rupert Sanders starring Scarlett Johansson), American Made (Directed by Doug Liman, starring Tom Cruise), Transformers 5: The Last Knight (Directed by Michael Bay, starring Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins) and First They Killed My Father (Directed by Angelina Jolie).  Over the years Jason has worked on a myriad of different kinds of projects. Some of the notable bigger budget films have been: Heat, Saving Private Ryan, 2Fast 2Furious, Collateral, Team America, Almost Famous, Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol and Jurassic World amongst others. Jason has also worked in the independent community on such notable films as: The Call, No Good Deed, The Good Doctor, Shrink, The Pool, Fun Size and Killing Zoe. Jason has hand a hand in several TV series ranging from: The original Melrose Place, Baywatch to Party of Five, and more recently: Better Off Ted, Dexter, Chicago Fire, Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior, Gang Related and Empire. Jason was born and raised in Los Angeles. He started his career working with and being an assistant to: John Ritter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Donner, Joel Silver and Ian Bryce. He worked as a PA on several movies and was accepted into the DGA Trainee Program in the class of 1993. He’s been a member of the Directors Guild since 1995. Jason has taught a variety of seminars in film production and working with background for: Central Casting, Chapman University, UCLA and USC. He is looking forward to sharing his many years of knowledge and expertise in the field of Production. Full Bio »

Summary

 

Learn what it takes to be an Assistant Director from the Assistant Director of blockbusters like Mission Impossible, 2Fast 2 Furious, Transformers and more!

Includes a detailed break down of 6 pages from the Jurassic World shooting script 

 

Countless filmmakers have started as AD's before finding their own projects to helm--even Martin Scorsese and Alfred Hitchcock! So what exactly does an Assistant Director do? And how can you become successful in this key role? 

Jason Roberts is one of the top DGA Assistant Directors in the business and has worked with filmmakers such as Michael  Bay, Doug Liman, Alexander Payne, Angelina Jolie and more. Over his 30+ years of experience as an AD, Jason has helped manage projects such as HEAT, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, COLLATERAL, ALMOST FAMOUS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL, JURASSIC WORLD among many others. Jason has built a name for himself as a go-to and effective AD on set which has allowed him to contribute to countless films, TV series and maintain a career over decades. He's now going to share how he is so successful in his role.

In this epic master course, Jason will call upon his 30+ years of experience to teach you the mechanics and art of an assistant director's role, including prep, shooting, working relationships with the director, producers, cinematographer, actors, and all tools you need . Plus, Jason will:

  • Leave you with an AD Production Packet - templates that you can use on your own projects: Script Pages, Call Sheet, Production Report, Story Boards, Partial One-Line & Shooting Schedule

 

 

Praise for Jason's Stage 32 Class

 

"Jason's webinar was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I loved his work ethic. That's why he's where he is today."

 

"Jason was and is wonderfully inspiring!"

 

"First of it's kind for me in the 'behind the scene' look at his life in the business. Quite fascinating. I'm sure he has many many stories to tell. Boy, that was a fast class."

What You'll Learn

CLASS 1

Section I: THE OVERVIEW

  • Introduction to Jason 
  • Creative Aspects of the Job
    • Prep – Breakdown & Scheduling from Script to Game Plan 
    • Shooting – Set Management & Directing Background 
    • Differences between Film&TV; Day & Night; Stage & Location
    • Working Relationship between the AD and Director, Producer, DP & Actors 
  • Why We Do It
    • What I’ve learned over the years 
    • We are a mix of; Traffic Cop, Bartender, Kindergarten Teacher, Cheerleader, Psychologist, Juggler & CEO 
    • Day to day Energy, Pace, Crew Moral and Motivation 
    • Tools of the job. Shoes and what to carry in your pockets 
    • The need for outside influences and a life away from the work 

Section II: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

  • Prep
    •  Jason will share how to actually breakdown a script using two scenes from Jurassic World as an example. He will input it into Movie Magic Scheduling and then use that material as a launching board for teaching call sheets and other paperwork
    • What is expected for a 1st AD and how to do it?
      • Schedule
      • Scout
      • Department Meetings
      • Background 
    • What is expected for a 1st AD and how to do it?
      • Rehearsals
      • Fittings
      • Interface with Actors
      • Tech Scout
      • Background Casting 
  • Shooting
    • What is expected for a 1st AD
      • Running the Set
      • Moving the Company Forward
      • Executing the Schedule 
    • What is expected for a 2nd AD
      • Setting background
      • Prepping the next day
      • Running the 1st Team
      • Being the Communication Liason with the Office and Rest of World 
  • Maintaining Safety
    • Meetings 
    • Legal Responsibility 
    • Knowing When to Say No, Knowing how to say no 
    • Know all the Equipment 
    • Know what it takes to get it done 
    • How to instill trust in your Departments 

 

CLASS 2

Section III: THE FUN PART - PAPERWORK

  • Call Sheets
  • Production Report 
  • Exhibit G “Sag” Sheet 
  • One-Line Schedule 
  • Shooting Schedule 
  • Cast Day Out Of Days 

Section IV: ON-SET STORIES & PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

  • Practical stories to show good and bad days of the job

Recorded Q&A with Jason

About Your Instructor

Jason Roberts is a DGA Assistant Director with over 30 years of experience, who has FIVE movies opening up this year alone including; Downsizing (Directed by Alexander Payne starring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and Christoph Waltz), Ghost In The Shell (Directed by Rupert Sanders starring Scarlett Johansson), American Made (Directed by Doug Liman, starring Tom Cruise), Transformers 5: The Last Knight (Directed by Michael Bay, starring Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins) and First They Killed My Father (Directed by Angelina Jolie). 

Over the years Jason has worked on a myriad of different kinds of projects. Some of the notable bigger budget films have been: Heat, Saving Private Ryan, 2Fast 2Furious, Collateral, Team America, Almost Famous, Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol and Jurassic World amongst others.

Jason has also worked in the independent community on such notable films as: The Call, No Good Deed, The Good Doctor, Shrink, The Pool, Fun Size and Killing Zoe.

Jason has hand a hand in several TV series ranging from: The original Melrose Place, Baywatch to Party of Five, and more recently: Better Off Ted, Dexter, Chicago Fire, Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior, Gang Related and Empire.

Jason was born and raised in Los Angeles. He started his career working with and being an assistant to: John Ritter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Donner, Joel Silver and Ian Bryce. He worked as a PA on several movies and was accepted into the DGA Trainee Program in the class of 1993. He’s been a member of the Directors Guild since 1995.

Jason has taught a variety of seminars in film production and working with background for: Central Casting, Chapman University, UCLA and USC.

He is looking forward to sharing his many years of knowledge and expertise in the field of Production.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Great class! The anecdotes were as valuable as all the nuts-and-bolts info! All I would ask for the future is that maybe cover doing the forms by hand - for those of us who either can't afford the software, or like me, would rather learn the hand-written old school way, so the software makes deeper sense. Thanks!
  • Totally amazing, kind of a tour de force of assistant directing from someone who is the real thing!
  • Feedback for Jason Roberts’ “The Mechanics and Art of Being an Assistant Director” Hi, As requested by Jason and Stage32 webinar feedback form, here is feedback from the webinar. Positive’s I really liked the two-part session, as this allowed for the participant to absorb material from the previous week. As I work seven days per week, the class time was convenient. Noticing that there were other participants from other countries, I think was a landmark event! Jason is very intense as a presenter, which I like, because he is very knowledgeable. He really filled up my buffer (as the saying goes), which I didn’t mind. I really enjoyed the handout materials, and it was good to receive a Handout packet for both weeks. I believe I have received value for the tuition paid. Thank you for your first-time experience delivering an online class! More Upcoming Positive’s Because I will probably be meeting you sometime in the not-so-distant future, I am not giving you any “not-so-positives.” Has Jason considered: • Teaching for other online institutions. Other teaching curricula ideas for Stage32 webinars: • Jurassic World: the Entire Filmmaking Process – where Jason would cover the initial stages, through Production and various department, to the Final version of the film. • The Making of an Action-Adventure Film – where Jason could differentiate this film genre from another genre, production-wise. • The Making of a Marvel Studios movie – what’s involved in bringing a Graphic Novel character from printed page onto the big screen. Jason’s active use of his Apple Airbook, has also prompted me to invest in an Apple notebook (hardware & software). I currently use a PC for my other client workflow, but working in the Entertainment field, I will need to have two different laptops. As computers was my first career, it’s been 31 years since I’ve last operated an Apple (Macintosh computers, MacBook). I can still learn.
  • I highly recommend this class. Jason is an excellent communicator and generous professional with a wealth of knowledge that he graciously shared. He was thorough, specific, and inspiring. Thank you, Jason.
  • First off, thank you Jason for staying late! I really felt you should have had a three day class because there was so much great information to be covered. One of the things that I enjoy about these instructors are the stories they share about their own work experiences. The class was very helpful for anyone starting out on Movie Magic, and the insight of Jason on who they use it for productions is quite helpful. I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in becoming a Union AD.
  • Five Star.
  • As an Actor I found myself interested in crew work and becoming a 1st AD is my second passion next to Acting. I found Jason's class informative and interesting. I highly recommend Jason's class to everyone who wishes to be an AD. Thanks Jason from Australia

Other education that may be of interest to you:

60 Minutes With Jason Roberts (AD for Michael Bay, Alexander Payne, Angelina Jolie)

"Jason was and is wonderfully inspiring!"  Watch for FREE here:   Want to join Jason's 2-part AD class April 8 & April 15? Register here! 

The Step by Step Process of Developing a Book Into a Film or Television Series

Some of the most well regarded recent feature films and television shows were based on books, including the Oscar-nominated Little Women, JoJo Rabbit, The Two Popes, The Irishman and the Emmy-nominated Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects and many more. Authors spend months, if not years, formulating characters and worlds that make it onto the printed page. This creativity serves as great source material that would translate greatly to the big or small screen. If you're an author who's written a novel and are looking to get it adapted, a screenwriter that's written a script based off a book you have (or would like to obtain) the rights to, or a producer or financier who has the rights or are circling securing the rights to a property you believe would make a great film or TV show, you need to understand the steps to take to obtain the rights, protect yourself legally, and make the development process a smooth and enjoyable ride. Discovering an adaptation-worthy story can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting book or article at a bookstore, library or newsstand. Understanding how to obtain the rights and develop that material effectively is the harder part. It takes meticulous planning and approach to be able to get the rights to the desired intellectual property and successfully adapt and develop the material. Many factors go into getting an adaptation to the screen including negotiations, legal hurdles and making sure you're staying authentic to the source material. Once misstep and it could derail an amazing project. You need to be prepared. Jim Young has produced films adapted off of books and intellectual property such as The Catcher Was a Spy (starring Paul Rudd), Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and Life of King (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.). He's had his films premiere at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and has earned himself a reputation of being an expert in adaptations. Through years of working with authors, publishers, talent, financiers and distributors Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish. Jim will teach you how to acquire the rights to a book you're interested and go over where to look for title, how to approach the author and publisher and how to close the deal. He'll give advice on the story development process and how to engage the author during that time, as well as tips on how to avoid liability. You'll learn two essential people you must have in your pre-production phase and how to work with the cast, crew and author on set. You will get insider tips on what to do before your film or TV show hits the screen to gain momentum for your project. And, finally, Jim will give you six legal elements to have in place prior to your project's release. This is must-know information coming from someone who's prolific in producing films based off of books.     

Stage 32 + Vail Film Festival Present: Women in Film - Personal Stories

Stage 32 and Vail Film Festival have joined forces to bring you an exclusive FREE virtual Q&A with top female filmmakers from the festival! Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in! The 2020 Vail Film Festival took place online from May 15-17, and had a special focus on female filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival included filmmaker Q&A sessions, a filmmaking workshop, and a women in film panel discussion featuring leading female producers, actors, and directors. The 2020 film program will showcase narrative features, documentaries, short films, and student films. This year's lineup includes films starring Simon Pegg, Annette Bening, Juno Temple, Alexandra Daddario, Wendie Malick, Danny Trejo, Maggie Siff, Sabrina Carpenter, Natalie Zea, Jay Mohr, Jason Ritter, Kristen Vangsness, Rose McIver, and more. The lineup for the 2020 Vail Film Festival is unparalleled, and we encourage Stage 32 members to attend the virtual festival and support their fellow filmmakers. As part of our partnership, Vail Film Festival is offering Stage 32 members an exclusive 25% off discount on all-access passes to the online festival. Stage 32 members can use the code stage32 at checkout. For more info and to purchase a pass to the online Vail Film Festival please visit: www.vailfilmfestival.com

Crafting Scene Descriptions: Make Your Prose Leap Off the Page!

Writing scenes come naturally to many of us especially when we have an outline of what we are aiming to accomplish. Scenes require us to describe setting, introduce characters, establish tone, and achieve a list of other key elements. We are tasked with making the words in each scene exciting and engaging with a few precious moments - urging the reader to keep turning the page and for the audience to keep watching. The words that we use should guide the reader and allow our voices to shine through our work. Understanding the importance of the words you use is imperative to how well your script ultimately translates to the screen. Scenes are a building block to the narrative of your story. Without well-written scenes, the foundation of your story will crumble. It is important to examine each scene of your story and analyze what ways it can be enhanced so that it really adds to the overarching points you are trying to get across as a writer. This comes with proper execution of infusing your own personality and authentic voice in a way that uniquely connects with your readers. Although this can be difficult, there’s no need to run away from this challenge. We have the tools and resources to help your words spring off the page instead. Steve Desmond is an established award-winning and represented screenwriter who wrote the thriller feature ON YOUR DOORSTEP that sold to Treehouse Pictures which has worked with incredibly talented actors like Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Henry Cavill and he also created the horror feature, TWISTED AVENUE, which made 2015 Hit List honoring the best spec screenplays of the year. His successful portfolio of films continues with his current project, MONSTERS, that won the Comic-Con International Film Festival for Best Horror/Suspense Film and Best Overall Film and has been accepted into over forty film festivals. Steve’s well-renowned success has landed him amazing representation with APA who is connected to partners such as the Global Production Network, The Gotham Group, that produced projects such as THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES and THE MAZE RUNNER franchise, and Eclipse Law Firm which has represented projects like NARCOS, KING KONG, WATCHMEN, and YOUNG ROCK. Steve will instruct you how to effectively craft the scene descriptions of your story to make them truly come to life. After providing you with the critical Do’s and Don’ts when writing scenes, Steve will show you how to guide your reader on an exciting journey, set your tone so that readers can feel the words on the page, and craft character introductions that leave memorable impressions with your audience. He will also discuss directing on the page, rewriting scene descriptions, and the importance of reading scripts. Steve will provide you with several resourceful writing exercises that will help you generate ideas for your own prose writing. You will walk away from this session with your words leaping off the page! Steve is beyond excited to share his tools and expertise with members of the Stage 32 community.

How to Build a Successful Writer-Producer Relationship

Learn directly from Gotham Award-winning Producer Shaun O’Banion who's worked with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow.    Everyone will tell you filmmaking is a collaborative process and comes down to relationships. Possibly the most important relationship? The one between the writer and the producer or exec. This partnership is critical and is often the first spark that can get a project going. But this relationship doesn’t just materialize without any work put in. The truth of the matter is the collaboration and trust that’s built between the writer and producer, starting with the optioning or hiring process and going through all of development and production can be just as important as the script and production itself in how successful the film turns out to be. If you’re a writer, it can be challenging to find a producer who is the right fit and actually get on their radar or get them to read your work in the first place. As a producer, getting your hands on the script that you actually connect with and that you can feel confident in producing can be quite an undertaking. And whether you are the writer or the producer, navigating this creative relationship through the murky development process is complicated but absolutely crucial. So how does a successfully writer-producer relationship actually work? How do producers find scripts and how can you set up your own screenplay for success? And once you’re on your way, what steps can you take to ensure the relationship, and therefore the entire project, doesn’t fall apart during development? Let’s explore. Shaun O'Banion is an award-winning producer and the founder of production company Ravenwood and has worked with writers and filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow. O’Banion produced DAKOTA SKYE which became a cult hit and remained in the Top 100 Most Viewed on Netflix. He also produced GIRLFRIEND, the first film in North America to star an actor with Down Syndrome in the lead role. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, sold to Strand Releasing and won O’Banion an IFP Gotham Award. He joined the Producers Guild of America and co-produced THE AUTOMATIC HATE which made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film was released theatrically by Film Movement. Shaun has also worked as a post production project coordinator on some of the industry's leading films in recent years including JOJO RABBIT, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, THE AFTERMATH and OPHELIA. Shaun is well versed on building relationships to get films made and is ready to break down what he knows In this exclusive two-part class, Shaun will walk you through process of getting material produced from the producer's perspective. He’ll go through what producers look for, how doing your research matters, and how collaboration with your new partner is the key to it all. Plus, expect to learn the differences between setting up a short and setting up a feature. Shaun will also delve into the development process and give you a new set of tools to get your material in top form.   The development process is murky and hard to navigate, but Shaun will go in-depth on how exactly to see it through to the end by building a strong relationship with your producer.     Praise for Shaun’s Stage 32 Class   "Loved the up-front examples of how long it took to develop different films and whys behind it. Super informative." - Gina G.   "For people trying to break into the business, these kind of webinar chats where the info and experience rolls off the cuff is important and very effective for me. If you can't be around the industry and executives, having the opportunity to 'be in the room' and hear about process and how things are done is really important." - Diana L.    

Creating Realistic Characters for Television and Film

Whether we’re talking about a comedy or drama, sci-fi or horror, a film or television series, animated or live action, short-form or long-form, having good characters is essential. There’s no escaping it. Even a script with everything else going for it, if it doesn’t have strong, compelling characters, it’s not going to work. Great characters connect the audience to your world and ground it in humanity. They provide stakes, bolster your plot and keep it moving. It’s therefore crucial to understand what make an effective character and how you can create that in your own project. Unfortunately there’s not a step-by-step guide to crafting the perfect character. There’s no secret formula and there’s no surefire algorithm. Good characters are complicated and hard to define because so are people. Good characters hold a mirror up to reality and let the audience see themselves or someone else they know in them. And all of that might be fine and good in theory, but what does that actually mean in practice? If you’re a writer how can you create a character who serves as a mirror, who will stick with audiences long after the movie or show ends? And if you’re a producer or director, how can you recognize a great character from a mediocre one through the written word? Lee Sternthal is a screenwriter, director and photographer who has written screenplays for every major studio, including TRON: LEGACY for Disney, as well as scripts for Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and many others. His film, THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons was an Official Sundance Film Festival selection and was later bought by CBS Films. Lee is a Sundance Institute Fellow, and his work has appeared on The Black List. Through his writing career, Lee has spent more time than most considering the art of character and using that to aid his own career, as well as writers he continues to mentor and champion. Lee will walk you through the power of character and how to create great characters for your own project. He’ll begin by discussing why exactly characters are so vital to story and will teach you the key differences between a TV character and a film character. Next he will give you a brief history of character in storytelling and reveal the one fictional character from history that all other characters draw from. Lee will then discuss the difference between heroes and anti-heroes, as well as help you determine which of your characters is the driver and which are the riders. He’ll then delve into the art of a great antagonist and why an interesting adversary is so crucial to a successful story. Lee will help you frame your story through the clarity of need, both in character and in story. Next Lee will go over the classic Hero’s Journey and slightly re-imagine it for modern times. He will give you strategies and exercises to better understand and develop your own characters, including his “What’s Their God?” and “Changing A Flat Tire” games. He’ll then teach you the concept of revealing character through behavior and hiding character with words. Next Lee will delve into the idea of how your characters fit into your world, including how the environment might change your character. He’ll teach you the Shakespearean approach to character and compare it to the Balzacian approach, and will also discuss the difference between neuroticism and human comedy. Finally Lee will go over the dance between plot and character, illustrating how the two should work with and against each other to create a feedback loop that’s necessary for any great script.        Praise for Lee’s Webinar   “Great insight. Really helped me in moving forward.” -Martin R.   “I really enjoyed Lee's perspective on script writing. The examples he provided were very helpful. I'm very appreciative that he would share his knowledge, some of his techniques and be so generous with his encouragement.” -Simone L.   “Lee had a great way of explaining how to get a feel for the character and why they have the traits they do. Lee did a great job of covering a lot of character related topics which I am glad I have been exposed to.” -Karl H.

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