Profile: 2nd assistant director
James is the 2nd assistant director (AD) on Doctor Who. He is based in the production office and communicates schedule changes, script alterations and actors' availability to the set.
The director of a drama usually has three assistant directors to organise a shoot and make sure it runs to time. Each AD has specific responsibilities.
2nd ADs oversee the movements of the cast, ensuring the principal actors are in make-up, in wardrobe or standing by on set.
"I find my work satisfying when the job I do affects the look of the programme." – James DeHaviland
They must deal with a large number of people, convey messages and give instructions clearly, concisely and confidently. Good communication and time-management skills, as well as the ability to work well under pressure, are crucial.
Based in the production office, James communicates schedule changes, script alterations and actors' availability to the set.
One of his main responsibilities is to draw up the daily call sheet. Among many other things, this "bible" contains transport arrangements with information about who needs to be on set at what time and any extras required. It is distributed to the cast and crew who then work from it throughout the day.
James also assists the 1st AD in liaising between the set or location and the production office, updating key personnel on the timings and progress of the shoot. This means that he’s in constant contact with the 3rd AD who is on set.
Patience and tolerance are essential, he says, but the extremely long hours can be very enjoyable.