Everything You Need to Know About a Shooting Schedule Template

A lot of young filmmakers are always surprised to realize how many documents are needed during film production. It takes a lot to keep the ship sailing smoothly. There are many people involved on set with a specific job for each. It’s imperative that there is a way to keep everyone on the same page — enter the shooting schedule. The shooting schedule template is a tried-and-true method that industry professionals rely on, so it’s important to have an understanding of what that template entails. Much like the Peerspace Concierge team, it keeps you organized, and helps streamline your shooting process.

What is a shooting schedule?

A shooting schedule includes the entire schedule for the film shoot through to the end. It is a schedule given to everyone involved on set and includes each location, the resources needed (props, make-up, effects), and the cast involved. It pinpoints the time required for each scene based on the page count and talks with different heads of department such as the cinematographer, location manager, and director. This meticulous level of planning is executed by the assistant director who is in charge of all logistics on set, especially related to scheduling.

With the help of a shooting schedule each department can be on the same page about what needs to be prepared without confusion or unnecessary questions. This allows the film crew to plan ahead when it comes to call times, wrap times, and their individual jobs. It is also an important part of setting a deadline for a film based on the estimations on the shooting schedule.

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What is the shooting schedule template?

Shooting schedules must have several pieces of information to be as efficient as possible. These templates will have a section for every scene number listed in shooting order. It will include a short, one sentence description of the scene along with the set heading often found on a scene header in a script for easy identification. It will include if that scene is an interior (INT.) or exterior (EXT.) scene as well as if it’s a day or night shoot. This helps add context to what the workday – or night – will look like and what kind of lighting is needed for it.

Something that helps with continuity is adding what day it is in the story. For example, say a story takes place in the span of seven days, each scene should then have the appropriate day it applies to within the story. This can help wardrobe figure out what costume to give the actors for that day or even how an actor looks like by that point in the story if hair and make-up are heavily involved.

The page length is also noted with each scene because it is what initially determines how long a scene might take to shoot. Script pages are normally eight inches in length; therefore the script is measured in eighths of a page. One page on average is one minute of screen time, without counting possible visual effects, stunt choreography, or emotionally heavy scenes. So within the shooting schedule template you could jot down for a scene, “1 and 3/8”. Depending on the shoot, a five-page shoot day is pretty standard.

Another required factor for your shooting schedule is to write in what cast members are needed for each scene. This helps schedule what days to bring in the characters and juggle around the scene order. Assistant directors avoid having actors waiting around, especially on indie sets where actors might not get cozy trailers to spend the hours in between scenes.

Therefore, the key is to cluster scenes for them to have a good workday and also to give them days off. They work with the actors’ schedules as well as taking into account emotionally draining scenes. This can help create a safe environment for them to emote. Often the actors’ names aren’t used on the schedule. But rather their characters are given identification numbers and those numbers are the ones used on the schedule for a cleaner look.

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The last required part of the schedule is the addition of a location address or title. Obviously for a location listed as “[Main character’s] apartment,” a real life equivalent is needed to shoot in. If the location is a studio lot, write the studio in along with the address, if it’s a location, the address. Always include the address! It helps with emergencies, everyone can reference it, and people can plan ahead.

All this information is located in a streamline template known as a stripboard. Each scene with the aforementioned information is written within each strip section. All the strips are in shooting order and will have individual strips in a different colors to show where the shoot day ends and the next begins.

Additional strips note company moves – any time a location changes and the crew needs to meet at a new location on the same day. For a thorough schedule, make sure to note the time it will take to get from one location to the other. Also it’s motivating to see meal breaks in the schedule and if possible an estimated wrap-time for the crew.

How to make your own

There are programs specifically for making these intricate and often lengthy documents. The most popular is MovieMagic, however you can create your own template with more low budget software such as Microsoft Word or Excel. There are several already made templates online to play with and figure out what works best for you as well.

A shooting schedule pro

It really is an art to create a film schedule, especially the more massive the production. We hope this made you less wary about getting your film’s logistics pinpointed. It’s all about finding the right shooting schedule template for you and communicating with your crew. Best of luck!

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