Call sheets are one of those organizational tools industry insiders know about but most of the rest of us have never heard of it, unless you’ve been called on set. But what is a call sheet? And why do we use it in the film industry?
What Is a Call Sheet?
A call sheet can be compared to an instruction set, though it is specific to the film industry. It will say where the day’s scenes will be shot. It will say what lights are required and who will provide them. It identifies who will handle the lighting, whether it is done by the production house or a third-party. Call sheets generally have a schedule, so that the set labor can be scheduled.
Why Is a Call Sheet Used in the Film Industry?
Call sheets are essential to management of the set. It is like a work schedule for both the actors and the support staff. It even gets its name from the crew call; the calls crew get telling them what day and what shift to be on set.
The director will give the artist dates and times to show up to shoot their scenes. While things may run over if they have to keep repeating the shots, the ideal situation is when it is finished within the defined time frame. The crew wants to know what the schedule is, so they know when they can take breaks and when they will wrap up.
The total schedule of all the call sheets is used to determine how many hours support staff like cameramen and lighting managers are working. If the labor and set management costs are too high, they may be told to cut scenes in order to cut costs.
How Do You Make a Call Sheet?
Call sheets are normally made by the assistant director of a show or movie. They’re distributed to cast and crew so that they’re on schedule. You can make a call sheet via a call sheet template. Then you fill in information such as dates, places, times, equipment and job duties. Save your initial call sheet, and you can update it with information as the shooting progresses.
You can determine what information should be on a call sheet by asking these questions: who, what, when, and where. Who needs to be there for the shoot? What are they going to do? When should they be ready, and when will they finish up? Where do they need to be? Add any additional responsibilities people have to their job, whether it is calling in lunch, picking up a co-star or bringing in a set piece. Or you might remind them to bring their old uniform. If you’re working with models, you could remind them of what they need to bring and what to leave out, whether it is reminding them to bring their wardrobe or skip the fake tan.
You should add contact information of key people so that you can reach them, whether they forgot they were scheduled that day or simply late to the shoot. Or they might get lost on set.