Production scheduling is a major part of the pre-production process in filmmaking. It requires different parts of the entire production process to come together in a symbiotic manner to facilitate film production.

From script and budget breakdown to locking the schedules, all elements need to be taken into account before starting with the shoots. This article will help you with a step-by-step guide to creating an efficient production schedule to kickstart your film production journey. Read on to find out!

Before we get into the details, let's first look into what we understand from the production schedule.


What Is a Film Production Schedule?

A film production schedule is a plan every production unit follows to ensure a film project runs on the track and is executed within a fixed timeline. The method includes a simple breakdown of shoot location, shoot timings, casts involved and their rosters, day breaks, and many more details.

Production schedules are usually created by the first assistant director and sent out to the cast, crew, and operators to ensure everyone is on the same page. No casualties or unexpected bottlenecks delay the production process.

Now, we'll look at a step-by-step guide to understand the production scheduling process.


Steps To Making a Film Production Schedule

Here are the steps to making a film production schedule.


1. Script Breakdown

Once the script is ready, it's important to break it down into several parts for organizational and creative purposes. Breaking down the script means going through each scene and enlisting items required for the filmmaking process.

From equipment to location scouting, script breakdown helps understand the budget and provides a rough idea of the timeline.


2. Understanding the Budget

With the script breakdown, you get an insight into the budget and create a budgeting module based on the equipment requirements, crew and cast requirements, and so on. Certain locations can also add to the budget; hence, every little detail has to be accounted for while calculating the budget.

A great way to optimize the budget is by starting with the cast and crew and then moving on to the equipment, production design, and location. The budget is subject to change throughout the pre-production process while you're getting things ready for the shoot, but a budget breakdown will help you cut costs when you happen to go over budget.

You'll be required to contact your cast and crew members individually and understand their daily rates and whether any travel expenses will be incurred. With the help of the script breakdown, you have to allocate a specific cost for each scene.?

The longer a shot takes, the more the expenses; hence, you have to optimize the time required for each scene and allocate a budget.


3. Staff Schedule

From the main actors to the crew members, production houses in India create a staff schedule that shows when they will be working and their availability during the shooting. It's important to develop a staff schedule during the production scheduling phase to help the cast and crew members keep that time window open for the particular project.

Alternatively, the staff schedule can be optimized according to the availability of the main actors and crew members. Once the cast and crew timesheets, their billable hours, and budgets are configured, the rest of the filmmaking process becomes much easier.?


4. Creating Storyboards and Shot lists

Storyboards and shot lists prepared in the production scheduling phase help the director share his vision with the rest of the crew. At this stage, how the film will be shot, the angles the director is looking for, and how each scene should look are planned with a vision board to plan the film's final look.

Once the shortlist is prepared with different shot types, it's shared with the DOP and producer, who analyze the accuracy of the shots and whether everything is within the planned budget. Once everyone agrees on the shot list, storyboarding begins.

Storyboarding consists of sketched images that represent the shots in each scene. This draft helps the producer envision the quality of the shots the director intends to deliver during the film production.

Storyboards and shot lists provide insight into the number of hours required per scene and an overall idea of the film on the screen. This enables directors to make necessary changes in the production scheduling process accordingly and optimize it further.


5. Finalizing the Production Schedule

Once all the above-mentioned processes have been fulfilled and the necessary changes made to the budgeting module, cast and crew schedule, and equipment, the production schedule can be finalized. This is sent to the production unit, and stakeholders are involved a week before the production begins.

In most cases, it's sent within the optimum amount of time so that last-minute changes can be ruled out. This is called the advanced call sheet. The call sheet is sent the night before each day of shooting.

This is done to update the crew and cast members about when and where they are needed. According to this sheet, pick-ups for cast and crew members are also taken care of.

Many film studios in Bangalore ensure the call sheet has all the details required for a stress-free production experience.

The call sheet also contains a shot list breakdown per scene to help the actors and crew members stay prepared for their roles.

Once the production of a film starts (meaning the shooting phase), there will always be some unforeseen circumstances or incidents requiring changes in the production schedule. Hence, the production schedule can never truly be final, but it plays a huge role in streamlining the filmmaking process.