As a video producer, I find call sheets to be of utmost importance. It helps me coordinate my crew – the who, what, where and when.
If you’re new to video production, a call sheet is a written itinerary or schedule of filming events throughout the day. It provides info on who should be on set (both cast and crew), when, where and what should be filmed.
When working with experienced cast and crew, they expect this document the day before each filming day.
Furthermore, it’s a great document to have when working with corporate clients. It shows that you as a producer are running a tight ship.
Here’s a simple I use for my corporate video productions.
Download it HERE.
Note that call sheets represent a schedule for 1 day. It’s possible to create multiple day call sheets. Personally, I find it more useful to have one call sheet on the day of the shoot.
Hand this out to the crew and talent (I do it via email so I can save a few trees) a day before the shoot.
I print 1 copy to myself and have my assistant have 10 copies in his/her folder in case I need it distributed on the day of the shoot.
First, replace the center logo with your company logo.
Second add the important crew members on the left hand corner. This list of crew can include the director, the producer, the client contact and the director of photography.
Include their names and their respective phone numbers. This is important in case a crew member or one of the talents needs to reach someone.
Perhaps, someone is sick or got into an accident. It will be handy to have the contact info of key personnel in hand.
On the right hand side, include the sunrise and sunset times, which you can easily get from Weather.com.
This is important as the lighting setup could change as the day progresses. Or perhaps, you’re looking for the golden afternoon look.
This sunset/sunrise data will be particularly helpful for the lighting crew.
The weather details are also important for lighting (i.e., overcast versus clear blue skies). Moreover, it will be helpful to know if there is rain expected.
May God have mercy on your soul if you schedule an outside shoot (when there is rain expected) and you schedule your ten million dollar star in the scene.
Next, there is a separate section for crew call times and cast call times.
Personally, I schedule my lighting crew to come in 1-2 hours early. Sometimes I have them come in a day before the scheduled shoot. It takes time to create the lighting mood and make sure the place is safe for talent to walk around.
This is why the crew usually comes in before the cast (and thus have separate call times). They can prep the shoot to make sure things run smoothly and safely.
Finally, make sure to include the location or address of the shoot. It seems obvious but don’t skimp on details as people may forget the location.
The middle of the call sheet is an hour-by-hour schedule of the day.
I break this up in blocks, usually it’s 1 scene per block. 1 hour is just the default but you can tweak it as necessary.
Some scenes may require more than one hour, depending on the complexity of the scene.
In each scene block, include details of the script and description. In the case above, I have Ken and Barbie heading to the cafe. Then they have a meal and Karen spills coffee on Ken. This sets up the rest of the scenes for the day.
If you got a Game of Thrones opera going on, it’s important to have instructions and details for each character.
You can put specific notes on the “LOCATION/NOTES” section.
There is also a line-by-line item at the bottom, where you can put details of each and every cast member.
It will have their phone numbers and other key details like if they are a minor or not.
In the “SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS” section, include any special notes you have for each cast member.
This can include where to go for makeup, who to go to for sound and also any wardrobe details can be included here.
Below the talent section, there is a section called “PRODUCTION NOTES”. This is a catch-all section, where you can further include instructions for the cast and crew.
I personally use this for the crew. It could include lighting instructions (i.e., special lighting gels for specific scenes) or perhaps audio (i.e., what microphone to use for which actor/actress).
Include as much detail as possible for the crew and cast. This will ensure a higher chance of a smooth filming day.
Also, it will impress your clients as you come across as someone who is organized and knows how to run a film production set.
At the bottom of the call sheet, there are line-by-line sections of each cast and crew member. It includes spaces for their name, position, phone number and a notes section.
Not every crew and cast have to be in every scene. This allows you as the producer to let them know when and where they are expected throughout the day.
The phone number is there in case they have to be reached, and you need them to lay off the buffet and get on set!
💰💰 Ever hear the expression “time is money.” 💰💰
This saying is especially applicable to film production. Crew and talent rates are often based on a daily rate.
If you are disorganized, then film productions could result in extra filming days, which means more money required to complete the film project.
This means going over budget and unhappy film investors or corporate clients, footing the bill for the film production.
So don’t skimp on the details.
Fill out your call sheet and feel free to use this downloadable call sheet template. Happy filming!
Finally, if this is a lot of work, leave it to the pros – CONTACT US for your next video production.
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