Cheat Sheet for Assistant | First Day on a TV Show

These are action items I have on my mind when I start on a new show as an Assistant Editor. Being organized and having clear-cut communication with the other Assistants about workflows when starting your gig will prevent any hiccups down the line.

1. Continuity Template:

  • Create a continuity template from the one-liner to have one already made for the Editor’s Assembly.

2. Avid Project Organization:

  • Discuss Avid project organization.
  • Set up assistant hard drive storage for easy access to previous season’s final music stems, SFX, CTMS, leaders, and banners.

3. VFX Workflow:

  • Determine the workflow for temporary and work-in-progress VFX marking (locators, clip colors, cutting in of VFX) to understand the timeline.

4. Output Burn-Ins:

  • Determine the output burn-ins for screeners.
  • Select appropriate h264 settings to ensure compatibility with review platforms for the show.

5. Avid Settings and Room Installation:

  • Install the Avid settings for the editor on their workstation.
  • Take a photo of the room layout of monitors and furniture and send it to the Editor to ensure it meets their preferences before they start on their first day.

6. Script Review:

  • Read the episode scripts.
  • Identify potential SFX that can be pulled.
  • Note songs mentioned in the scenes
  • Note any VFX requirements.

7. Printing and Copying:

  • Check available copy/printing options.
  • Keep printing directions handy for the Editor’s convenience.

8. Dietary Restrictions:

  • Check lunch options available.
  • Inform the post-team of any dietary restrictions of the Editor you are assisting.

9. Scene Reference:

  • Print out scenes on index cards for the episodes.
  • Mount them on the wall for easy reference during editing.

10. Supplies:

  • Obtain small Post-it notes.
  • Gather favorite pens, paper pads for you and the Editor.
  • Ensure you have supplies for any guests during screenings.

11. Scene-Completed Cheat Sheet:

  • Create a scene-completed cheat sheet.
  • Include pending shooting dates to know what is left to shoot and when it will be complete.

12. Production Calendar and Contact Sheet:

  • Have a Post-Production calendar.
  • List the Cut Deadlines.
  • Keep a contact sheet printed for both you and your editor.

This checklist will help ensure that you’re well-prepared and organized in your role as an Assistant Editor, making the editing process smoother and more efficient.

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