1st AD Protocol (Cheat Sheet)

This is a streamlined “cheat sheet” for seasoned 1st ADs. Twirl open any callout and the complete description of that step will be displayed. Please remember that all GREEN CALLS are made over the radio and are repeated by the 2nd AD, while all BLUE CALLS are made to on-set crew only and are not repeated by the 2nd AD.

Daily Protocol

Morning Meeting

We are having the morning meeting
  • Precisely at call time, the 1D gathers the crew by the trucks for the morning meeting. The 1D goes over the logistics of the day and addresses safety concerns.
  • COVID: Due to the congregation of all crew members, the morning meeting should ideally be performed outside.
Work safely, everyone
  • This concludes the morning meeting. 1D then gathers DR, DP, SS, 2C, and goes to set.

WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING

Clear the set for blocking
  • If DR is ready, the 1D asks 2D to escort the actors to set, so that DR and actors can work out the blocking. During this time, 1D manages crew staging, while periodically monitoring DR.
Are we ready to mark the blocking?
  • If DR is ready, 1D invites DP, SS, and 2C to set and oversees the determination of coverage.

WORKING OUT THE COVERAGE

Observe the crew working out the coverage
  • DR and DP watch the action that’s been worked out with the actors. Together they discuss any changes. 1D watches and checks that: DP watches the coverage through a viewfinder or lens; SS watches eyelines and notes coverage plan; 2C marks the actors’ stopped positions with colored tape.
Are we ready for the New Deal?
  • Only when the plan is agreed upon, 1D calls:

NEW DEAL

We have a New Deal
  • 1D confirms all department heads are present. DR shows the action.
Questions on the blocking?
  • DR fields queries, then shows/explains coverage.
Questions on the coverage?
  • DR fields questions on the plan. 1D facilitates, making sure every department is anticipating issues.
Is the plan good?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

BUILDING IT

OK, let's build it. Thank you, First Team.
  • 2D escorts First Team (DR and actors) to base camp. 1D quietly gets a setup time estimate from the DP. (Note: No one else but 1D and DR need ask about time or guess how long things will take.) From this point on, 1D is quietly monitoring progress and updating department time estimates.
  • Ways of being helpful throughout this process include: “Let’s get the frame” … “Let’s get focus” … “Let’s get a boom line” … “Work quietly”
Are we ready for camera rehearsal?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Camera Rehearsal

Camera rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 2D asks DR if they wish to be present. DR either comes to set or 2D informs 1D to proceed without DR. (If DR does not come to set, 1D calls “action” and “cut” instead.)
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
We are going for camera rehearsal...
  • Action is called. Technical team runs shot.
...That's a cut on camera rehearsal
How was that for camera?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
How was that for sound?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

BAD FOR EITHER
Troubleshoot

GOOD FOR BOTH
Proceed

Camera ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Rehearsal

Essential personnel only, please.
  • COVID: The set is about to become a Zone A space, so 1D clears the set of all non-essential personnel.
First Team in, please
  • 2D brings DR and actors to set. Everything must be ready!
Everyone work quietly. First team is on set.
  • DR works with actors. (Note: Rehearsal moves directly into shooting. If any technical issue arise that cannot be solved immediately, 1D releases First Team until it is solved.)
  • COVID: Actors should ideally remain in masks during rehearsals.
Rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 1D waits and confirms visually when DR is ready.
Quiet, please. We are going for rehearsal...
  • DR calls “action” and “cut.” This should be treated like it is a take by all set personnel. Make sure the set is locked up.
...That's a cut on rehearsal. Stand by.
  • While DR checks in with the actors, 1D checks in with camera and sound for feedback. 1D relays this information to DR, who chooses to rehearse again or proceed. Are we ready to shoot?
Are we ready to shoot?

NO
Call: “We are going again. Stand by.”

YES
Proceed

Last Looks

Picture is up. Last looks.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Director ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Going for picture

We are going for picture. Lock it up.
  • It’s GO time. Listen to ensure set is locked up. Be very sure EVERYONE is actually ready, especially DR and actors, before calling:
  • COVID: Actors should remove their own masks.
  • COVID: If hair and makeup needs to make an adjustment due to the masks, this should occur swiftly.
  • COVID: If DR wants to go again quickly, and actors consent, masks can stay off between takes.
Roll sound...
  • If sound is being recorded on a dedicated field recorder, use Cadence for Dual-System Sound.
  • If sound is being recorded by the camera, use Cadence for Single-System Sound.
Cadence for dual-system sound

  • SM calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

Cadence for single-system sound

  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

That's a cut on picture. Stand by.
  • 1D checks in with camera and sound to see if the take was good or if a technical issue may require another take.
  • 1D relays this information to DR, and checks to see if the DR would like to go again or move on to the next set-up.
Ready to move on?

NO
Repeat

YES
Proceed

Moving on

Thank you, First Team
  • 2D escorts the actors (and DR if desired) off set and the crew comes in to execute the next set-up.
  • COVID: After the First Team has left the set, 1D allows crew to re-enter the space.
We are moving on to... (describe next set-up)
  • Move on to the next planned set-up as indicated previously during the New Deal. 1D restates shot as previously described.
  • Return to BUILDING IT and proceed until all scene coverage is complete.
  • When the scene is complete, return to WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING for next scene.
  • Continue this process for the rest of the day.
  • During the day, if the production falls behind schedule or if any problems arise, 1D should be proactive in conferring privately with DR and/or DP on how to solve the problems. This can be done quietly and discreetly on set or during breaks, such as lunch.

Important Time-Based Items

Start of Day

First shot is off at (state time)
  • Recording the time of the first shot of the day (and the first shot after lunch) is an important item that is reported to the studio on the DPR.

Midday

That's lunch
  • At exactly the 6-hour mark after first call time Lunch must be called. If the team has already rolled on a set-up you can go into “Grace,” which means work must then be completed within 12 minutes. You cannot shoot past this or you are in meal penalty.
  • During lunch, 1D talks to DR and the DP about the rest of the day’s work and participates in making any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule to help make the day.
  • COVID: Since masks need to be off for eating, extra precaution must be taken. Eating outside is recommended.
Ten Minutes
  • Ten minutes before the end of lunch the 1st AD announces this to everyone.
We're back
  • This call marks the official end of lunch. All crew is required to return to work. 1D should remind everyone what set-up is first up after lunch.

End of Day

This is the Abby Singer
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the second-to-last set up. (Be sure it actually is before announcing.) This is a morale boost as the day nears its end.
This is the martini
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the last set up of the day. (BE SURE it actually is before announcing.) This is a bigger morale boost as the day nears its end.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(actor's name)
  • Crew applauds to thank the talent for the day’s work or for their work over multiple days on the whole picture.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(production name)
  • Crew celebrates a hard day’s work. “Picture Wrap” can be an emotional call after weeks of work on a feature.
Company Wrap
  • 1D talks to the DR and the DP about the next day’s work and any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule.
  • 1D signs off on the Daily Production Report (DPR), which is sent back to production by the 2D.
  • COVID: 2D keeps access to location restricted until last crew member has left.