ADG  Update: January 2024 A New Vision Ahead

We are excited to introduce our routine quarterly newsletter, offering updates on AD Guild initiatives, upcoming events and opportunities to contribute for the wider membership community.

What did we achieve in 2023?

Throughout last year, we offered a variety of initiatives aimed at helping our membership in 11 different regions, spanning financial planning webinars and employment negotiation techniques, through upskilling initiatives like Movie Magic Training and Microsoft Excel training days. We also added access to helplines for bullying and harassment and partnered with Guilds and Unions across Europe to launch the very first Assistant Directors Awards event, shining a light (at last!) on the great talent of ADs within the UK and further afield.  

Last year the ADG also ensured, through HMRC, beneficial changes to the tax rules for IR35, helping our members and the wider AD community on to the list of those able to opt out of PAYE.  We also recently contributed our knowledge of Assistant Directing roles to the ScreenSkills AD Job Description list. This promotes a strategic vision on assessing the required experience required for individuals to progress between grades through their Step Up scheme and ensures an enhanced, consistent standard of excellence. 

The ADG ended 2023 by hosting a very successful in-person networking event at the BFI on the South Bank, which saw AD’s from across the UK come together for a festive celebration.

Rate Card Committee Update

We are a unifying force for ADs across the country and are proud that the ADG established the first ever UK AD Rate Card, enabling Assistant Director’s to check ‘real world’ achieved wage rates for each grade. In constant dialogue with the AD Branch of Bectu, we fight together for continuing the progress in wage growth and better working conditions. 

Following all the hard work gathering information on rates from membership through our various surveys and forums,  a revised rate card was drafted in 2023.. We decided to wait for the coming BECTU / PACT negotiations to publish this, with the hope of ratification or at least agreement. PACT have, however, continually delayed these negotiations for various reasons. 

We have decided therefore to publish the rate card with the new TV bands and a 5% increase across the board. This is a below inflation increase so we strongly advise membership to hold out for these rates. The last rate card was 2022 and CPI (consumer price index) inflation was 9.2 % for 2022 and 4.2 % for 2023, so we would like membership support to continually push rates higher.

Education & Training Committee Update 

We had a busy year of Education and Training events which cemented our efforts to work towards our ambitious goals for 2024. This includes kickstarting our 2nd AD Essentials course alongside the Production Guild, offering AD’s an opportunity to learn the basics through a weekend course designed and led by AD Guild. This course was part of our efforts to work towards greater standardisation, by promoting a grading system for ADs.  We are looking at the potential of this through a CPD Hub (Continued Professional Development Hub) on the website, where members can log courses and other grade certifications created/approved as a certified AD Guild training programme.

Secondly, we hope to continue our efforts across Health & Safety. We hope to re-engage with the firearm industry. Following a successful meeting last year, it was clear we needed a joint effort in the form of a framework and extended dialogue to support the armourer community with the AD requirements. We also noted various limitations, such as far more unity being required from the firearm space for the firearm sector to thrive, and for us to see measurable progress in this area.  The lack of regulation flagged by the HSE government sector has accelerated our efforts to prioritise Health and Safety this year, as one of our key areas for development. This includes sharing best practice across the board, through the support of great organisations such as the Mark Milesome Foundation.

We also look forward to thinking outside of the box this year with our resources and content.  This will include panel discussions with notable figures, podcasts and other multimedia content to populate our events hub online, with the goal to promote the work of ADs across the industry. Not to forget, another year of the AD Awards by partnering with our colleagues across Europe.

Diversity & Inclusivity Committee Update 

Our D&E committee has made significant strides towards greater accessibility. One of the priorities of the year was to ensure marginalised, minority voices were given a platform. This led us to contact Women in Film and TV in 2023 to discuss the potential of working on a panel discussion to create an open forum in which we could discuss the common obstacles of women across the industry. This includes the disparity between male and female pay, as well as the fight against ‘gendered’ positions across the AD grades which many members will know too well. We hope to hold a virtual panel in which not only ADs but other women across the Film and TV industry can discuss overcoming the ‘glass ceiling’, and actionable change by breaking stereotypes and ensuring the industry is adaptive and resilient across all talent despite age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Job Sharing and ‘split shifting’ was a term we heard lots of in 2023. However, there is still lots to be done in breaking the ‘taboo’ and ensuring that productions normalise job share roles into the future. For many individuals, whether they are women who choose to be mothers or simply ADs who would like an alternative job structure, split shifting offers a sustainable way to survive what can sometimes feel like an intensive and hugely pressuring role as an AD.

Finally, we have been approached by the Diversity branch at Bectu for collaboration. Our AD Branch Bectu reps will be an integral vessel between the diversity branch and ADG. Through this partnership, we will stay up to date on D&E objectives taking place throughout the industry through schemes and other forms of innovation, which we will support with open hearts.

Regional Committee Update

As part of our efforts  to both promote and engage with the fantastic talent of our UK regions, AD Guild has begun a productive dialogue with the Liverpool Film Office to discuss potential forms of collaboration that will allow us to support initiatives across the north of England.

We are looking to pilot our first regional Movie Magic Scheduling Training session in Liverpool which will allow us to capture our north of England members, and ensure we can deliver our flagship event beyond the London region.

We will also be looking at opportunities to exhibit and promote ADG across the UK at relevant film festivals, university open days and exhibitions, as part of our regional  recruitment strategy moving forward. 

If you’re an AD Guild member and want a fun and fit way of meeting those in your region, join the AD Guild UK Strava app, track your miles and move together. Alternatively, join your region’s Telegram group by emailing and the name of your region to stay up to date with all things local to you.

Pensions & Insurance Update

The Pensions, Insurance and Finance Committee have been working hard at engaging with leading Wealth Management and Pension providers to offer holistic support to our membership. Following our Pensions survey, we gained a full and integrated picture of the requirements for ADs. 

Whether it’s wealth management, pension plans, and mortgage support or  1-2-advice,  easy-to-access fact-sheets and resources, our pension and finance partner will be there to equip our members with the knowledge and support they require, as part of their AD Guild membership.

While this has been a long road of research, proposed ideas and engagement, we are making sizable progress. We will be sharing an update on the partnership soon. 

Overcoming Challenges

The Writer and SAG/Aftra strikes impacted the wider UK industry, meaning seismic changes for all AD’s. The ADG stepped in to help, giving flexible support, removing the joining fee for returning members until April 2024 and continuing to deliver on discounts such as tax-back on AD Guild membership subscriptions. 

We have also promoted the option to adjust your payment plans from annual to quarterly, should your lump sum membership be less affordable, by simply visiting your billing page to make the switch. Additionally, we launched our Earlybird Jobs Newsletter this Summer by sharing productions in-development and in pre-production. We know that we are limited with the information available via our subscription The Knowledge, so we are reaching out to production houses to form relationships, in order to secure AD Guild members positions and allow you greater direct access to Producers and Line Producers.

New Horizons

We feel hopeful for 2024. Our new structure has enabled us, for the first time, to invite non-AD Guild members from the wider TV & Film industry to sit on our Advisory Council, and to contribute to the future vision and strategic planning we will need as we develop as a membership organisation.

Big ideas take time, work and dedication and this is where our Directors, Advisory Council and Membership come in. They enable us to deliver on the issues that matter most to members, and ensure that the ADG continues to invest in the future of all AD’s.

More information regarding our upcoming elections for the Advisory Council will be shared over the coming period. 

Be the Change You Wish to See

Do you have an idea for the AD Guild you’d like to see take place? Are you a future leader with a hunger to make a change? Get involved by joining an AD Guild Committee to contribute towards our future. 

We will be switching our communications from Basecamp to a new platform to enable greater, more accessible contributions from wider membership. Until we make the switch, you can still keep up to date via our ADG Telegram chat, and regional groups. Stay tuned for more information.