David McGiffert, First Assistant Director-Author-Episode #242

Apr 25, 2023 | 2 comments

David McGiffert was First Assistant Director on close to 50 feature films including: all three of the Back to the Future films, Rain Man, Batman Returns, Tootsie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Fisher King, Absence of Malice, Witness, The Firm, Vanilla Sky, King Kong, An Officer and a Gentleman and dozens of others.

David began working in film in 1969 when a friend offered him a job as the second assistant director on a movie he was working on. Two weeks later, when that person quit, David inherited the first assistant director position and was tutored by the film’s very patient Director who had, himself, been an assistant director.

Subsequently, David worked beside a succession of experienced mentors who put him in the right place at the right time and allowed him opportunities he would not have been able to find for himself.

During David’s years as a First A.D. he never stopped learning the job, which is essentially carrying out the director’s wishes for the day’s shooting while guiding and facilitating the film’s crew. Being a First A.D. is a high visibility occupation, known for being stressful, but it’s also one of the most satisfying and interesting jobs on a set.

In 2022, David published his memoir, Best Seat in the House, revealing numerous experiences working on some of the highest-profile Hollywood movies ever produced. Best Seat in the House is a beautifully written retelling of David’s many amazing exploits working alongside such legendary directors as: Milos Forman, Sydney Pollack, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson, Cameron Crowe, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, and many more, as well as working with movie superstars like: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Robert Redford, Michael Keaton, Jessica Lange, John Travolta, Harrison Ford, Sally Field, Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, and Jeff Bridges, just to name a few.



Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


  1. Charlie Croughwell

    I’ve worked with David several times and count him as a very good friend. This interview with David is the best I’ve heard.

    • Steve Cuden

      Thanks so very much, Charlie! So glad you enjoyed the interview. David was a great deal of fun to chat with.


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