You have partnered with actors and creatives in the fantastical adventure that is making a film. That day where you roll cameras is drawing closer. What day is that again? What’s the first scene? Where’s the first location? Your Script Breakdown can help you figure out those answers, but there’s more you can do.

That brings up the next piece of paperwork that will make filming monumentally easier: the Shooting Schedule.

What is a Shooting Schedule?

The Shooting Schedule gives you the order of filming, the number of days you can expect to be filming, and how many days you will need for each location.

Why is a Shooting Schedule important?

The Shooting Schedule keeps you organized and helps you ensure everything gets shot. It also ensures you have all the locations found and secured for the time you’ll be filming.

The Shooting Schedule also helps with creating the call sheet.

Who is involved with a Shooting Schedule?

The First Assistant Director creates the Shooting Schedule.

What is included in a Shooting Schedule?

The Shooting Schedule pulls almost all of the required information from the script breakdowns.

The header includes the film title to eliminate confusion. The shooting day is the day you’re filming. If 13 May 2018 is the fourth day of filming, the shooting day would be 4. The page is the number of pages for the shooting day.

The locations include the actual location, not the film location descriptions. For example, you’re filming a spaceship interior on a soundstage. The location listed in the header would be the soundstage.

Each day has its own schedule, and the scenes filmed each day are listed with important information. Put the scene in the order of filming.

List the scene number as it appears in the script, breakdown, and other pieces of paperwork. The scene description includes the script scene header and the description from the breakdown. The length in pages should be given with the eighths.

For the other columns, include all the specified information. This can be found on the script breakdown and should include all the information from the script breakdown. The columns can be changed, or more added, for your specific needs.

Here is a template in PDF and Excel formats for the Shooting Schedule.

When making your Shooting Schedule, be sure you schedule enough time for filming. Can you film eight pages in a day? Yes, I’ve known someone who did. Is it realistic? Probably not for us independent filmmakers on an average day. Best not to plan your entire shoot around this.

For independent film, give yourself as much time as you can. For simple dialogue heavy scenes, four to five pages per day is a good estimate.

For scenes with stunts or fight sequences, limit what you’re filming. These can take a lot of time between rehearsals and getting full coverage of the scene.

The more complicated the scene the more time you should allow. Do you need to produce rain? Do you need to reset vehicles, set dec, props or make-up after each take? Will the actors need a breather after running?

Look at the shot list as well. You have two shots, one is two pages, and one is three eighths. Just looking at the length, you might think it’s clear the two page scene will take longer.

Then, you look at the shot list and the scene description. The two page scene is in a bar, with two people talking, and there are five shots. The shorter scene is a fight scene, in the rain, with two dolly shots, a crane shot, and handheld shot that tracks each of the fighters.

The day of the fight, that scene will likely take your entire day, just to be on the safe side.

The schedule keeps everything moving and minimizes confusion. With the chaotic and exciting life of the film crew, organization is everything for keeping a set running smoothly.

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  • Connor Sassmannshausen is a screenwriter, video producer, and social media organizer with the Initiative Production Company. She loves watching movies, nerdy t-shirts, travelling and taking broken things apart (but not necessarily putting them back together).

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