LEGENDS OF COMMERCIALS PRODUCTION: First Assistant Directors

DAVID LETHAM
Age 38
Based at Freelance, based in Australia and divides his time between
London and Sydney
Daily fee £350-plus per day, depending on location

Career highlights Letham has assisted Rocky Morton, Daniel Barber, Paul Gay and Chris Palmer. He's also worked on commercials with Anthony Minghella. Letham classifies "painting a road in snow using black food dye and getting 100 husky dogs to pull a sledge through the snow as two of his career highlights.

Would you believe Letham went skydiving over Table Mountain to film a Mars ad with Jason Smith. He was once shooting an ad in the Arctic circle with the director Barney Edwards and overslept. While the rest of the crew took sledges to the location, Lethham bribed a helicopter pilot to fly him to the set. He's famous for his collection of military hats.

What people are saying "A disciplined, verging on militaristic, approach to assisting, but the job will be done excellently. He's worked with everyone and been everywhere in the last decade, Matthew Brown, the managing director of Rose Hackney Barber, says. "His nickname is Lord Letham because he's a bit of a throwback from the colonial era, Brown continues.

RICHARD HEWITT
Age 40
Based at Freelance, London
Daily fee £350 per eight hours

Career highlights Hewitt started out as a producer in commercials, but got fed up, so he switched to become a first assistant director. He does most of Frank Budgen's commercials and has also worked with Vaughan Arnell, who has directed Robbie Williams' promos. He has recently finished working with Oliver Parker as his first AD on The Importance of Being Earnest.

Would you believe "He exchanged his Wimbledon pad for a mansion in Essex with pillars and swimming pool - his four-acre garden is big enough to open to the public on Bank Holidays. Someone's paying him too much, his second assistant director, Matthew Penry-Davey, says.

What people are saying "He's the guy you need on a desert island to help you find your way, Jo Godman, the managing director of Godman, says.

CHRIS KELLY
Age 33
Daily fee £354 per eight hours

Career highlights Chris Kelly has worked in the industry for more than 13 years, mostly on commercials. Recently he worked as the first assistant director for Garth Jennings on the BT "fat pipe ad. He's assisted Danny Kleinman, Chris Cunningham and Sophie Muller on set.

Would you believe Apparently Kelly is extremely accident prone. He is known for constantly knocking things over when he's on set and has a habit of frightening off actresses, such as Samantha Morton, who told him she would never spend another day on set with him.

What people are saying "Kelly doesn't merely run a tight ship on a shoot. On the day, he effortlessly interprets new creative notions from the director and the team into action. He's also great fun to have around and is constantly cracking jokes, Kate Male, the head of TV at St Luke's, says.

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