Here’s a simple guide for creating call sheets for any small location based production such as covering a local event, shooting a documentary or a corporate video. I find keeping things short and simple is the key; keeping the call sheet to a max of 2 pages if possible.
I’ve also written another blog post which includes some Call Sheet Templates if you want real examples.
At the top – Title, Location, Date and Weather
It sounds obvious but include the title of the film at the top in large type. Your crew may be working on multiple shoots so this will help!
Then below have the shooting date, location name, and call sheet number (if you have more than one). Having the date and location in clear bold print at the top will help when you have a few call sheets to juggle with!
You might also want to include the weather forecast (including temperature, sunrise and sunset) so your crew will be prepared with what to wear!
Ensure all crew and cast / talent email addresses and mobile numbers are included, specifying their name and role. You never know who might need to contact who, and not all cast and crew may have met by this point.
Having the address, telephone number and a map is also a good idea as people driving may not have sat nav – I’ve always found a map on the call sheet to be very important!
Health and Safety Notes
It’s a good idea to consider all the elements you may come across on your shoot and include them on the call sheets. Examples of these might be:
- Environment – busy environment / in a dangerous area, busy road, next to water
- Weather – waterproof equipment, clothing, sun cream, lots of water, extreme temperatures
- Equipment – awareness of any special equipment such as lighting rigs, cranes, etc
- Clothing – any special clothing requirements, footwear, hi-vis jackets, etc.
Note: you should also attach a risk assessment when sending out the call sheets which will let the crew know of any hazards in detail. This will also form part of your health and safety talk at the beginning of the shoot.
A short, concise schedule for shooting is a great idea. Ensure you include a call time and wrap time so no one is late. Then list what scenes / shots you will need by which time, or if you’re shooting an event list the order of events. For example:
08:00 – Call Time
09:00 – Interview with Joe Bloggs
10:00 – Interview with John Smith
11:00 – Exterior Shots
13:00 – Interview with Company
14:00 – Live music gig
17:00 – Wrap
No need to go into extensive detail, that’s what the shooting schedule is for!
Transport / Travel Schedules
Some crew members may have special transport or travel arrangements sorted, such as:
- Train tickets
- Mini Bus departsure
- Lifts from a crew member
- Plane ticket.
Include departure/arrival times, booking references, and contact info for all those involved.
I like to include an equipment summary for smaller shoots so everyone knows what they are using / bringing along. This also includes whose supplying stock (us or them, don’t want to turn up on the day with no stock!), where equipment can be stored safely and any available power sources.
If you’re filming outdoors on location, you may need to list things such as:
- Food and drink (who is providing lunch and what time)
- Green room availability
- Equipment storage
- Power supplies
Remind crew about what they need to do in order to claim expenses i.e. bring receipts and expense forms to hand in on the day.
Especially if you’re shooting outdoors. You can usually find a weather forecast up to 5 days in advance.
Making a Call Sheet Check List…
- Date: Pretty self-explanatory but make sure that the date is clear and one of the first things you read on the call sheet.
- Call Time: The call time should be front and center on the call sheet, it should be bold and very clear, you want to make sure that there is no confusion when it comes to the call time.
- Title: Make sure you include the title of the production at the top of the call sheet, a lot of people are receiving more than one call sheet a week and need to keep things organized.
- Lunch Time: As simple as it sounds everyone like to know when it is time to eat, eating makes most people happy, make sure to include the time of lunch and if lunch will be staggered. Lunch should be scheduled six hours into the shoot day and be fairly visible on the call sheet.
- Shuttle Information: Not everyone on the crew is going to have transportation to set; it is always good to have a central meeting location with shuttles to set. Make sure to include specific timing and location for shuttles. It is also a good idea to call the people taking advantage of the shuttles to make sure they are aware of their timing.
- Weather: It is great to include what the weather is going to look like so that the crew can dress appropriately and so alternate arrangements can be made in the case of bad weather. It is also good to include the time of the sunrise and set.
- Nearest Hospital to set: You may have multiple locations in one day so make sure to have all hospital information included toward the top of the call sheet. This should include the address as well as phone number.
- Production Office: Be sure to include the address and phone number of the production office as well as any invoicing information the crew may need.
- Location of First Aid Kit and Fire Extinguisher: Simply state where on set these safety requirements can be found. You should also state here who on set will be the safety rep. If you don’t have a first aid kit can get one on amazon.com.
- Scenes to be shot: This will be a more lengthy part of your call sheet. It should include all of the scenes scheduled to be shot on the day. You need to include the scene number, scene heading, description, cast, pages, and location number. Make sure to include a total number of pages to be shot.
- All crew positions and names of those doing the jobs: You need to have a grid that includes all crew positions and the crew names. You want to breakdown the grid into departments and have specific call times for each crew member. You may want your craft person to come in an hour before the rest of the crew and this is where you need to specify that. It is also good to have a line at the top of the call sheet under the call time reminding the crew to check the grip for individual call times.
- All cast roles and actors playing them: There needs to be a separate grid for the talent on the show. Do not include any contact information for cast on your call sheet. You want to state the actor’s name and the character that they are playing as well as their pick up time, makeup time, and set call.
- Background Performers and Extras: You will want to have a separate section just below the cast grid for any extras or background talent needed. You do not need to be specific here, you just need to have call times for each kind of background talent you have that day.
- Craft and Catering numbers and timing: You need to state for the craft person as well as the caterer what time you want food to be served and for how many people. Craft should take care of the snacks and subs while the caterer will take care of the hot meals.
- Department specific requirements: It is a good idea to have a grid that outlines any special requirements for all departments. Here you would list props that are needed, any makeup outside of the regular requirements, list any stunts or effects that may be happening that day, etc. All departments should have this information ahead of time but it is a necessary reminder so that there are no hold ups on the day.
- Transportation information: There may not be any transportation notes but if you have drivers or equipment trucks that need to be dealt with make sure to outline it on the call sheet.
- Locations: This is a very important section and needs to be clear and concise. List all of the locations for the day and number them in the order you will be going to them. Make sure to have the address as well as contact information for someone at the location. Location moves can be a tricky thing and making sure that all crew knows exactly where they are going is very important.
- Maps: At the bottom of the call sheet you want to include maps for each location, you can also include a link to a Google map but make sure they can have a printable version right on the call sheet.
- Advanced Schedule: The advanced schedule is a great way to reduce questions; if you include a simplified version of the next days schedule everyone can be a step ahead.
- Key Production Staff’s Contact Info: At the very bottom of all of the pages of the call sheet have a bar with the key production crew’s contact information. This should include the Producer, Production Manager, Production Coordinator, First Assistant Director. You can learn more about some of these jobs from various books on amazon.com:
Film Producing on Amazon, Production managing on Amazon,
Production Coordinator on Amazon, First Assistant Director on Amazon
- Walkie Channels: Somewhere near the bottom of each page of the call sheet you should include a list of Walkie channels and which department should be using them. Check out our Walkie Etiquette blogif you don’t have much experience dealing with walkie talkies.
- Other: Every production has different requirements and special circumstances so your call sheet will always differ. It is good to start with a general template and then add and take away as necessary. Make your call sheet something that works for you, the best thing is to have something that is clear and informative and covers all aspects of your shoot.
Hopefully these tips of making a call sheet has been helpful and informative. Please remember to subscribe and also download your free call sheet template. If there is anything that you find helps you with your call sheets please let me know in the comments below!