The Call Sheet

On the opposite page is the "call sheet," the shooting plan for the day. Every cast and crew member gets one. In the preproduction phase of the movie, all of the scenes have been given numbers in the consecutive order that they appear in the final shooting script. If there is a very long scene, it may be given more than one number, so that it can be broken up into workable sections. Each character in the movie has also been given a number. That is how the scenes, and the characters that are needed to play them, are identified on the large scheduling board in the production office. This board is the projected shooting schedule for the entire movie. It is not in the sequence of the shooting script; it is in the sequence that the production has deemed most efficient to shoot the movie. The schedule can change from day to day, due to a wide range of reasons. Each day, towards the end of the day, the production manager makes an assessment of what has been accomplished on the set that day and how to proceed with the next day's schedule. The logistics of the next day's shoot is handed out to the cast and crew on the call sheet.

How close a movie sticks to its production schedule varies in each case. The general rule is that everything takes much longer than expected. There are some directors who stay strictly on schedule, as planned, and never ** waver. Sidney Lumet is famous for this and says the call sheet is his bible. ^ There are others who lose track of the time or just keep shooting until they -g are satisfied. Then, there are the millions of reasons that a film will go off § schedule, reasons that are acts of God and reasons that are caused by human ^ error and emotion. In most cases, each day is a new experience to be ^ assessed and planned accordingly. £

The call sheet I have made up is for a hypothetical movie called Bucket ^ of Blood, by the fictitious director, Sarah Vision. g o

Call Sheet

#1 General Information

Director: Sarah Vision

Bucket of Blood

Date: Mon. 4-01-02 Day 14

Asst. Dir. Robert Glad 917-242-3066

Crew Call: 8:00 A Shooting: 9:00 A

#2 The Scenes





Zina tells Sammy off


1, 3, 8, 11, 12

1 4/8

Hoople s Bar and Grill

48-36 Russel Street, Brooklyn, NY

Typical Sat. night


2, 3, 8, 11, 12

2 1/8

Int. Joe s Bar-Backroom

Zina gets away




Ext. Side entrance-Dusk

Alina meets Zina


1, 2


Russel Street outside of bar back entrance-Magic Hour-weather permitting

#3 The Cast





1. Alice Vait




9:00 AM

2. Roam Kally




9:00 AM

3. Johnny Gee




9:00 AM

8. Barry Philco




9:00 AM

11.Susan Mitch




9:00 AM

12.Rocco Simi

Jo Jo



9:00 AM

# 4 Background and Props


Special Instructions:

Standins: 8:15

Steady Cam SC 48 SC 64 Weather permitting

30 bkgrnd: 7:30

Bkgrnd holding: 48-26 Russel St. Brooklyn, NY

#5 Crew Calls

Dir: 8:00 A

First AD: 8:00 A

DP: 8:00 A

Prod Asst.: 8:00 A

Electrics: 8:00 A

Sound: 8:00

ScriptS: 8:30

craft serv: 7:00

Grips: 8:00

makeup: 7:00

wardrobe: 7:30

Dailies: 8:30 PM

VEHICLES & OTHER: con t next pg.

#6 Advanced Schedule



• It is the fourteenth day of shooting.

• The name and cell phone number of the assistant director; the person you would call in case of emergency.

• Shooting should begin at 9:00 am.


• The set description tells us the slug lines of the scenes to be done that day. A very brief description of the action follows each scene.

• The scene numbers as they appear in the final shooting script and on the production planning board.

• The characters that are needed for these scenes, identified by their numbers.

• The amount of pages that the scene represents in the shooting script. A page of a shooting script is broken into eighths.

• The shooting location of the scenes that day.

On this call sheet, there are four scenes planned. Scenes 48, 62, and 63 are all interiors on the same location, the bar Hoople's. Scene 64 is an exterior shot with a weather-permitting flag. This scene is to be shot at sunset, in what is called "magic hour," when a special type of natural light exists just before and after the setting sun. It will only be shot if conditions are desirable. We know from the shooting script that scene 48 takes place a week or so before the consecutive time sequence of scenes 62, 63, and 64.


• The cast identified by number.

• The cast identified by the actor's name.

• The cast identified by the character's name.

• The time that they will be picked up by a driver.

• The time that they are due in the makeup department to begin their makeup. ^

• The time that they are due on the set, camera-ready for the first scene. -5

Before an actor can go before the camera, she must be made "camera- ^ ready." Camera-ready means that the makeup, hair, and clothing of the q character have been applied to the actor by the various departments respon- £ sible for them. The actor is ready to go before the camera. The normal £ sequence of events is pickup, makeup, wardrobe, and then on the set.


• The time that the stand-ins for the lead actors are due on the set. The stand-in is your "light double," who stands in your place while the crew works, so that you can get ready to act in front of the camera. They do this while you are in makeup and wardrobe, and they also do it throughout the day after a camera/acting rehearsal on the set. The actors are called the first team, the stand-ins are called the second team.

• The reporting time of the background actors. These are the extras in the movie. In this movie, they are the people in the bar. Since there will be a busy Saturday night scene, there are thirty called for that day.

• All special props that are needed by the lead actors.

• The special instructions tell us that a Steadicam camera will be used for scene 48 and the time of sunset because scene 64 takes place at magic hour. It also tells us where the background actors will stay when they are not needed on the set. This is called the "holding area."


• The times that each important crew member or department is due to start work on the set.

• The organization of the drivers and vehicles that will pick up the cast and crew.

• A note that dailies (the rushes) will be shown at 8:30 pm. Only select members of the crew watch the dailies with the director; they know who they are.


The projected schedule for the next few days. In this case, whatever scenes are remaining for Joe's Bar will have to be completed by Wednesday. Hoople's, the real bar that serves as the location for Joe's, will have to be vacated by Wednesday night for its usual weekend business. That means the crew will have to clear everything out of that location and restore it to its normal owners. When a production has completed shooting and has vacated a location, they say the location has been "wrapped." Wrapped, in film a lingo, means ended, completed, done with, finished.

< Every cast and crew member who is to report that day will receive the J call sheet the night before. If it is your first day on the set, a production assistant will call you a day or so before and let you know what the schedule on the call sheet is. The actual call sheet is not decided upon and printed up until the latter part of the previous day's shooting, when they can be more certain of what they have accomplished and if they will be able to proceed as planned. For an actor, this can mean a lot of starts and stops. They may tell you on Tuesday that they need you on Thursday for such and such a scene, only to call you on Wednesday evening to say the whole thing has been pushed back to next week, and they will now need you starting on Monday. This can cause a lot of anxiety. It's a good time to go back to the chair and do those relaxation exercises to focus on what's important, that you do the best job you're able to do in front of the camera, and not to get involved with the anxiety of your anticipation. That's just the way it is in the movie business. It's always hurry up and wait.

Was this article helpful?

+1 0
Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

Get My Free Ebook


  • elisa
    What is the advanced schedule on a call sheet?
    9 years ago

Post a comment