Whether your project is a colossal blockbuster or a small local shoot, a clear & detailed call sheet is essential for an efficient and productive corporate video filming day. Here’s why:
A call sheet is written in advance of filming and contains everything you need to know about the day. It tells everyone who’s involved, where to be, at what time and most importantly of all, what time lunch is! If there’s anything that the cast, crew or client needs to know, it’ll be in the call sheet.
I like to work on the call sheet as soon as the filming day is confirmed for a project. That way, any information that’s passed through emails or phone calls can go straight into the call sheet
But why is a call sheet important to you?
Whilst most of the detail in a call sheet is geared towards informing the production crew and cast of actors or presenters of the key facts, clients and stakeholders in the project need to understand what the call sheet is too.
Think of a call sheet like a blueprint of your filming day. Make sure you’re comfortable with the structure of it and familiar with the information contained in it. Otherwise, you run the risk turning up at the wrong place at the wrong time and, even worse, missing out on the lunch!
Here’s a breakdown of the three most important things that you need to know about a call sheet for a corporate video shoot.
First off, a call sheet will include contact details for all of the cast and crew involved in the project. You’ll have everyone’s name, job role and phone number, but you may also see email addresses, travel information and individual call times in case people are needed at different times.
At the top of the document is where the most important people will be listed – usually the producer, director and important stakeholders. If you’re in this list, make sure your contact details are accurate and up to date and advise of any other important stakeholders that’ll be present on the filming day, so you’re able to add their details.
It’s not just people present on the filming we need to know about. Contact details for production crew or stakeholders who won’t be present on the filming day are important too.
This is because there may be questions raised during filming that need to be answered by people off-site, such as verifying the correct terminology to use in an interview comment or ensuring the correct health and safety gear is worn by participants in a scene.
So if something needs to be checked with someone back in the office, having the correct contact details quickly to hand makes sure that you don’t just stay on schedule but also stay on budget!
Locations and parking
A call sheet will include clear instructions of each filming location, as well as other addresses such as the nearest accident and emergency in case anything should happen.
Some filming days may have one location, whereas others may have several.
Make sure you’re familiar with each location and have your transport in place so you can get there on time. If there’s more than one location for a filming day, make sure it’s clear which one you’re meant to arrive at! Any location moves are listed in the schedule and if there are multiple locations, they will need to be numbered too.
Most importantly, check the parking situation! Some locations may have restrictions on access or parking, so make sure you know where you’re going and put the right postcode in your sat nav! A Google Street view link may be embedded in the PDF, so you can always take a look at this so you know where you’re headed!
Here’s the good bit! The schedule is where all timings for the day are listed in precise detail. This is what I like to call the meat of the call sheet!
There’s a lot of information in the schedule. It says what time each scene is to be shot, where it is to be shot, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor scene, how long filming that scene will take, how many pages of script are to be captured, the props or costume that are needed, notes on the cast and any special requirements – loads of information and it’s all planned down to the minute. Other events such as lunch, set up time and travel between locations are also included.
You might look at the timings on the schedule and worry that some scenes take up too much time, not enough time or that they’re being filmed in the wrong order – my advice, don’t worry.
These timings will have been carefully calculated by the production team to ensure time on set is maximised and that the shoot is as efficient as possible. Each duration in the schedule is calculated based on the requirements of the shoot, script length, logistics, location availability and so on.
The most important thing you can do is to take a look at the schedule and make sure you’re clear on what is happening and when. There will be a general call time at the top of the call sheet, as well as individual call times for different cast and crew, so make sure you make a note of your call time, so you’re not arriving too early or too late!
Make sure you notify the production crew as soon as you can if anything needs changing too! Perhaps a stakeholder is not available for a section of the day when they are most needed? If one part of the schedule needs to be tweaked, it can have a domino effect on everything else.
There are a lot of moving parts in a film and the schedule makes order out of the chaos, so if anything at all in the schedule needs to be tweaked, action this as soon as possible!
The call sheet is the game plan for a filming day. It plans out everything that’s going to happen on the day. So any information that’s pertinent to the day, no matter how extraneous it may seem, needs to be included!
Anything from a fire alarm test, to an embargo on social media posting, or even dietary requirements. Don’t be afraid to inform the production team if there’s anything you feel should be included.
If filming is taking place at your premises, share the call sheet with people in your team, so they know what to expect on the day. We try to be as unobtrusive as possible during filming, but a bit of advance notice to your colleagues that cameras will be turning up, is always welcomed!
Make sure any signing in processes is factored into the timings too. If there’s a long induction process before crew are allowed on site, make sure this is made aware to the crew and the security team at the location, to avoid hold ups.
Despite how complex they may seem, a properly designed call sheet is clearly broken down into each component and if done properly are universal in design, making it easy to see relevant information at a glance.
Hopefully, that’s explained the nuts and bolts of a corporate video shoot, but let us know if there’s anything else we could help you with!
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