Being an AC

So, you wanna be an AC

Sounds like a cool gig! If you’re interested in working in film and video production, becoming a Camera Assistant (AC) can be a great starting point. AC’s are responsible for assisting the Camera Operator + DP and making sure that everything is running smoothly.

If you’re keen on becoming an AC on commercial and video shoots, or even working your way up to the Hollywood TV and movie industry, here are some tips!

The first step is to get your feet wet. Many ACs start as production assistants or Camera Team Interns on TV shows or Movies -  and work their way up to the camera department. There are two types of Camera Assistants – the 1st AC & the 2nd AC. Both help the operators and DP with the camera & gear to nail the shot.

The 1st AC pulls focus and helps the operator move the camera & set it up.

The 2nd AC helps change lenses, move the rest of the gear, place marks & slate each shot (including keeping track of the scene numbers).

More on their specific rolls in another post!

The 2nd AC assists the 1st AC, who then assists the Operator. They are the glue that hold the whole camera team together. It takes a cohesive team to make every TV show, Commercial, or Movie!

So how do you become an AC?

Here’s my tips from my journey.

1) Take any opportunity to get involved with film or video production, whether it’s through school or local community organizations.

To get started, learn the basics of camera equipment and terminology. This includes understanding different camera formats, lenses, and accessories. You can find online resources or take classes to learn these basics.

2) Networking is crucial in the film and video industry.

Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with other professionals on social media. Don’t be shy! Ask questions and seek advice from others in the industry. And big things is DON’T call yourself an AC before you even know how to do the job!

Apprentice your way up and learn from people who have done it. As to help out or be the Camera PA!

Their tips and tricks will make the job that much easier to grasp and get good at!

3) Kits

As an AC, you’ll be responsible for maintaining and operating camera equipment. Start building your own kit with the essentials, such as a toolkit, lens cleaning supplies, and a camera slate.

4) Samples of Work (only if you are a 1st AC)

To showcase your skills as an AC, create a reel of your work or a YouTube playlist of examples.

Build an AC specific resume too. Include any footage you’ve worked on as an AC, as well as any other relevant experience you have.

Such as here:

Or take a tip from these industry pro’s:

Walter F. Rodriguez -

Lance Mokma -

5) Go work at a Rental House - Camera or Grip House.

You’ll learn gear and get paid to learn at the same time. Plus you’ll meet and be able to network with the industry pro’s!

It’s worth the time to learn the gear before jumping into it all

Once you’ve gained experience and built your network, start looking for AC positions on commercial and video shoots. You may need to start as a second AC before working your way up to a first AC position. Be patient, work hard, and stay focused on your goals.

If you’re aiming for the Hollywood TV and movie industry, there are a few additional steps you can take. Move to Los Angeles, New York or Chicago (Atlanta & New Mexico and secondary markets), where many productions take place, and start building your network.

Join professional organizations, attend industry events, and work on independent films to gain experience. Eventually, you may be able to land an AC position on a TV show or movie set.

Becoming a Camera Assistant takes hard work, dedication, and patience. But with the right skills and connections, you can work your way up in the film and commerical industry.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and see if it is the right fit!

If you have any questions - give me a follow on Instagram!