How to Make a Good Call Sheet

You can’t start filming without a call sheet – first of all, because no one will know when and where to show up.  By definition, a call sheet is a form of document that has written on it all the information that the cast and crew have to know regarding a certain shoot day.

Making a good call sheet is difficult, as you have to put in there all the information the team has to know. If something happens and the call sheet does not contain information on that specific thing, filming could stop out of a sudden until the problem has been fixed.

Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will show you everything you have to take into account in order to make a good call sheet for the cast and crew responsible for your film.

The Basic Principles of a Good Call Sheet

Before mentioning everything a call sheet should contain, we should go over some basics, so that you would know what tone of writing and such you should approach. Of course, the information it contains is vital, but the way it’s being expressed is also important.

  • On Point – the call sheet is going to be used by every member of your team, so it is best if you keep the information written on it shortly and on point. If someone in the crew needs some information on a certain topic, he or she should be able to find it in a blink of an eye.
  • Accuracy – you should double-check all of the important information that’s on the call sheet, such as phone numbers, addresses, and call times. Also, be always ready to make changes to it if, for example, some of the crew members or times change.
  • Confidentiality – naturally, most call sheets should be marked as confidential, as they include the contact details of all the members of the crew. Moreover, something you should never do is to include the phone numbers of the talent in your call sheet – never!
  • Clarity, Structure, and Layout – the call sheet should have a layout that’s easy to read through; also, all the information displayed on it should be clear and easy to understand – you don’t want your crew to spend more than two or so minutes finding the piece of information they need.

Now that we’ve gone through the basics, it’s time to move on to the actual information a good call sheet should contain.

Call Sheet Information

In the following paragraphs, you will be presented with all of the things a call sheet should contain – you must also remember to place these properly on its pages, as they have to follow a certain placement pattern, so that your crew is able to find what they are looking for only by looking in the place that piece of information usually is.

  • Date – it should be one of the first things to appear on a call sheet; it must also be clear.
  • Call Time – you really don’t want people missing the call time; that’s why it should be placed in the center of the call sheet, in a big and bold font, so that it is very easy to see and read.
  • Title – you may think that there is no need for a title, but keep in mind that certain crew members might have multiple call sheets in a week; therefore, you should at the title of the production, preferably at the top of the sheet.
  • Lunch Time – naturally, all people must eat, and you should plan the lunch times accordingly; it is recommended that the lunchtime is set six hours into the shoot day and that it can be easily found on the call sheet.
  • Shuttle Information – it is likely that not every crew member will be able to get on set; that’s why you should set up some shuttles, as well as a central meet-up location. Timing is also required in this case so that nobody misses their shuttle.
  • Weather – you don’t want members dressed in shorts and T-shirts on a rainy day, right? To avoid this, you should get informed on the weather on the shoot day and mention it on the call sheet.
  • Nearest Hospital – in case of any unfortunate events, you should have a list of the closest hospitals on your call sheet; all of the information regarding this aspect, such as phone numbers and addresses should be placed close to the top of the sheet.
  • Address and Phone Number of the Production Office
  • Location of the First Aid Kit and of the Fire Extinguisher
  • Scenes to be Shot – here you should mention the scene number, heading, description, as well as the cast, location number, and pages.
  • Crew Positions and Names – this section will be split into departments that will contain all of the essential information of your crew, namely, the crew position and names.
  • Cast Roles and Actors
  • Background Actors and Extras
  • Numbers and Timing of the Craft and Catering
  • Requirements Specific for Certain Departments
  • Transport Information
  • Location and Maps
  • An Advanced Schedule – this should contain a smaller version of the schedule for the next days of filming so that everyone knows what to expect.
  • Contact Info of the Key Production Staff
  • Walkie-Talkie Channels – this will let every member of your crew know which channel they should be using to communicate with members of the department they’re in.
  • Other Essential Information – as requirements may differ, it is best that you include in your call sheet anything that might be of importance to a great part of your crew for the day.

So, this is the secret recipe to a good call sheet. It contains a lot of information, but if placed properly, you will get no questions from your crew – and this is very important as you don’t want production to stop just because you have failed to mention something important in your call sheet. This is must be hard to get a good and quality footage for scene and it can be almost imposible achieve what you want to have on the final  so maybe this essay on filmmaking will help you somehow.

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