Before becoming an Assistant Director, Jerry Ziesmer received a Masters Degree in Acting at UCLA and appeared in television series like Sam Benedict and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. In 1967, Ziesmer was accepted in the DGA’s Assistant Directors Training Program (ADTP), launching his long, successful career as an Assistant Director. As an AD, Ziesmer has worked on more than 40 films. His list of credits includes notable features like Apocalypse Now (1979); Rocky II (1979); History of the World: Part 1 (1981); Annie (1982); Scarface (1983); Short Circuit (1986); Say Anything (1989); Singles (1992); Jerry Maguire (1996); and Almost Famous (2000), for which he also served as associate producer.
In 1987, Ziesmer was elected to the DGA’s Western AD/UPM/TC Council, serving as Council Chair for three terms from 1993 to 1996. He was instrumental in the creation of the AD/UPM/TC Council Mentorship Program in the early 1990s and chaired the Council’s Mentor Committee. Ziesmer also has helped promising ADs by teaching in the AD Training Program, as well as a course on “The Craft of the Assistant Director” at UCLA Extension.
Jerry Ziesmer was a member of the DGA’s Western AD/UPM Council from 1987-1998, serving as Chair from 1993-1995. In 2006, he received the DGA’s Frank Capra Achievement Award for his career achievements and service to the Guild. In 1999, he wrote a memoir of his experiences on set in Ready When You Are, Mr. Coppola, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Crowe.