What is a Call Sheet?
A call sheet is sent out before the next scheduled shooting day. All of the cast and crew who are involved with this day of shooting receive a call sheet. It contains tons of valuable information (that we will go through shortly) that helps keep everyone organized and allows them to plan ahead. The bigger the show, the more secretive these call sheets are. When sought after plots and actors are involved with the production a call sheet that is given to someone outside of the production can expose spoilers, give actors’ locations, and disrupt a shoot in general. Let’s learn what’s on them!
Here's an example of the front page. Call sheets vary greatly in style.
The top of the call sheet is mostly just production house keeping stuff. I’ll be honest, I hardly ever look at it. The only thing I might glance at is the weather predictions for the day at hand. So what’s in the top section? Well for one…
- The Forecast: Might seem odd, but if you’re outside shooting all day you’re going to want to know if it’s raining or extremely hot out. Along with that, is the sunrise and sunset. Sunset is great to know for Magic Hour shots and sunrise is great to know if you’re shooting nights…
- Daily Information: This includes the episode, how far along the episode you are (Ex. 20 of 24 days), crew call (when the day officially starts), shooting call (when they hope to be shooting by), and most importantly; when lunch is!
- Production Information: This information hardly ever changes. We’re given all the information you might ever need to know about the production company, producers, production managers, office locations, etc.
- Walkie Channels: Most people on set are armed with a walkie. This section is to tell you what each channel on your walkie is dedicated to, usually departmentally. It changes with each show but channel 1 is always the main channel that the AD and everyone who doesn’t have their own dedicated channel use.
- Locations: Here is everything you need to know about your location for the day. It tells you where crew park is, how to get to catering, if there are any moves, how far the moves are, and emergency muster points.
This is when we get into the interesting part of the call sheet. The scenes. This section tells you what you need to know about the scenes you’re shooting that day.
- Scene Breakdown: Scenes numbers (from the script you might have), if it’s interior or exterior, day or night, the location, which cast members are involved, and the page count of the scene. You’ll also get a quick scene description that is typically about a sentence long.
- Cast Breakdown: All of the cast who’s working that day will be included here along with some information about what they’re doing. It has their cast # (which references to the scene breakdown), character name, real name, their schedule for the day (pick up, makeup, etc.), and any other special notes.
- Background and Stand Ins: Finally, you’ll know how many extras will be on set today and for which scenes and who the stand ins are and which actor they will be representing.
This section is important to know how big the day is going to be per department.
- Department Requirements and Additions: This breakdown shows any special equipment and instructions for all individual departments. Such as an additional camera package, techno cranes, special effects, etc.
- Special Notes: These are general notes for everyone on set.
This just might be the single most important part of the call sheet for anyone in the crew, it includes your…
- Individual Call Time: The call time at the top of the call sheet is for crew in general, this is for you specifically. Often times members of the crew will be called in earlier to begin setting up prior to call time.
- Advanced Schedule: Here you can see the next couple days in advanced. It’ll give you the scene breakdown as well as the locations.
Although not on every call sheet, usually there is a map attached. This map will show you how to get to the shooting location and crew park from the production office. It will also give you a quick breakdown of where each scene will take place.
Your Call Sheet Experiences
Ever created your own call sheet? Let us know what program you used to do so!