By Eleanor Winkler, 2010

Scheduling comes down to a few stages …

  1. Breaking down the script into its core scenes and shots, including on these breakdowns locations and times of day for the story and what cast are needed for the scenes
  2. Determining the length of the set ups and action (including camera, sfx, vfx, makeup, armoury, vehicle/animal/anything wrangling)
  3. Gathering all restrictions including cast and crew availability, location availability or environmental conditions, equipment availability and cost
  4. Then plotting all these things together on a timeline that works taking into account all your restrictions.
  5. Draw up the call sheet

Sounds easy, takes hours, but once you‘ve done it right, you know that the shoot will have the best potential possible. Multicoloured post it notes are a helpful way to visualise your schedule, and stick stuff up on the wall and shuffle scenes around until it works. Make sure that when you are determining your schedule, you are in constant communication with all your heads of department … they will feed vital information into the schedule during stage 2.