You might’ve heard the term call sheet as a photographer, but you’re not quite sure what it is and how could you start implementing it in your practice. If you’ve never sent one out yourself, you may not know everything you need to add to it and why a call sheet is so essential to every professional production.
Production call sheets contain everything you need to know when you’re shooting. Like call times, crew calls, crew members, phone numbers, and other things.
What exactly is a call sheet?
A call sheet is a document that is sent out the the cast and crew which you’re working with and informing them about the shoot day. It has a shooting schedule, location information, parking information for the crew to name a few.
Usually 1st AD, producer, or production coordinator creates the call sheet and sends it out to everyone in the production team.
By understanding the intention of your shooting day to know exactly what to add to it. Always leave room for modifications, since the schedule is fallible and something will surely change.
Making the call sheet as clear and easy to read as possible, so everyone can understand and follow it is crucial to have a shooting day without any extra misconseptions.
Components of a Call Sheet
Call sheet will come in handy to be given out to people in your production team but also to unexpected people joining for whatever reason. Here are things you must add to your call sheet.
1. Title of the photoshoot and the company name
Even if this might seem pretty obvious, it’s necessary information to add to your call sheet once you start putting it together. Whatever information you have on it, should be included. If you’re photographing for an editorial magazine, add the name of the magazine, the issue number etc. If you’re creating a call sheet for a commercial or a TV episode, include the name of these and the titles too.
Also add production companies name and if there are any ad agencies.
Another obvious information to add is
2. Date and Time
This tells your team when and where to be. This information is also necessary when looking at working hours, to know when you’ve started and when you ended the shoot. The ending time might vary since some photoshoots will inevitably be delayed with their schedule.
3. Key people in the crew
In the first section of your call sheet should always be key people in the working crew; who is in charge of what, so everyone knows who to turn to.
The producer’s contact info, production coordinator, and director are usually the first.
4. Forecast for the day
This information is crucial if you’re planning to have your photoshoot outside. If the forecast is changing rapidly, include an alternative option for the location to be prepared for any weather changes.
This is important to know to be better prepared so you cover and protect your equipment.
5. Contact Information and Location Details
Add contact information so the crew knows the contact details if they need to communicate with one another for any reason. Location details should be added clearly and any entrance codes or other essential information should be bolded to avoid anyone being late because the directions were unclear.
Also include the address for parking since it is usually different than where you’ll be shooting. If there are any notes about parking, driving directions, or shuttles, this is where you would include it.
Include information on the nearest hospital, like phone number and address if any accidents occur. This way your crew can be safe in knowing where to turn in accidental situations.
6. Photoshoot Schedule
This section should include an overview of the shooting schedule for the day(s). Scene breakdowns, meal breaks, makeup, changing models should all be included in the overview.
If the location is out in the nature, you should include clear instructions on where the crew can park their cars so they won’t be in the way of by passers. This way everyone can also plan on how many vehicles they will arrive with, to avoid any fines and making sure there’s room for everyone.
You will want to leave room for any other notes you might have. They can be anything from noting extra time for a section of the shoot, or adding special equipment to go along.
Creating a call sheet is not difficult, but there are details that are essential for it to be informative for the needed event.
Proofread the call sheet for mistakes, particularly when it’s a spreadsheet with lots of names, times, and details. Because if you want your shoot to go off without a hitch, then you need to do it.
The clearer the call sheet is, the better chances for your shoot day to go without any surprises.
An easy-to-read, clear call sheet is the basis for a successful shoot day. To best anticipate it, create the most efficient call sheet possible with the tips provided.
If you’re not already familiar, explore the ins and outs of the document by taking a look at this call sheet example and fill your own with the template below.
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