Scheduling in Production

Once we go into production, it's important to make call sheets.

If we're shooting on weekends, we try to get the call sheets out on Monday or Tuesday before the weekend. This is so that actors don't get freaked by wondering what scenes they need to study lines for, and the crew has the foggiest idea what kind of sets or effects we'll need.
On most everyone else's movie you don't expect call sheets more than 12 hours before call. We're not everyone else.
Also, we don't hand out printed call sheets or sides. This is because we're jerks. Also, it saves trees money. I mean, it saves us money. It costs the actors. Remember that part where I said we're jerks?

  • Don't send out call sheets more than 6 days in advance. I assure you that at least one actor will get confused about what date they're on.
  • Try to keep all the call times the same through the entire shoot. It makes everyone's lives easier.
  • Is there really a reason to have an early call time? Exactly, I didn't think so either. Noon to about 9pm seems best. Only have early call times if somebody needs to get to work at night.
Example of a call sheet

It would be awesome if call sheets could be automatically generated from the schedule. They can't. So we use a template(external link).
The important information is

  1. the call time for actors/crew at any transportation you're using (in this example the cast is meeting at Penn Station in New York),
  2. the call time on set (for cast and crew who self-report),
  3. the nearest hospital (figure out where the nearest emergency room is, hopefully you'll never have to use it, but what if someone gets hurt or suddenly has chest pains — you'll want everyone to know how to get there),
  4. any phone or contact information
  5. what you're shooting, who's shooting it
  6. any special props or effects or anything

If people are taking the train I like to put things like when the trains go back to New York or whatever. It's also nice to put in sunrise and sunset times if you're shooting outdoors (or on a set with windows).

Notice too that we will add stuff to the schedule — especially specific shots which we feel we need that we didn't get on previous days. It's like a big ol' checklist.

We sort of try to shoot everything in the order on the call sheet. But that is by no means necessary. If there are issues with (say) makeup or what-have-you, you will determine the most efficient way of shooting your day.

After you're done shooting, you get to go onto the exciting world of editing and computer graphics. And there's the world of post-production sound. The most exciting part of post-production is Post-production scheduling!

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