Call sheets or “daily call sheets” are documents based on your daily shot lists. It’s a schedule that is distributed to the cast and crew letting them know where they need to be on set. Call sheets are necessary for each day of filming.
Items that go on a call sheet include:
1. General Info
6. Cast List
7. Crew Grid
If you want to follow along as we go, you can start using Celtx’s call sheet software here and play around with it as you read!
A call sheet is required for every single day of filming. Having your call sheets accurate, prepared, and distributed is crucial to managing your shoot. If you’re not sure of exactly what information your call sheet needs, this list will provide insight.
The top of the call sheet contains information that everyone needs: the date, shooting location, key above-the-line personnel, contact information for the production company, and most importantly, the call time. The call time refers to when the primary crew needs to be present and ready for work (individual call times may be earlier or later in the day depending on the person’s role).
There’s also a small but very important section that lists breakfast and lunch timings. These meals are union-mandated, and must be readily apparent on the call sheet.
This section includes contact information for all key crew members: typically the production manager & coordinator, locations & security personel, and the A.D. team.
When organizing your call sheet, keep in mind whether any of the usual key crew members will be unavailable and insert a replacement accordingly.
The forecast is important to all cast and crew, as they will need to know what kind of conditions they need to dress for.: umbrellas, rain gear, sunscreen, and warm jackets will never go amiss if the weather calls for it. Even if a shoot is indoors, you must still provide the forecast.
Health and Safety Information
It is required that the location and contact information for the nearest hospital, fire department, and police agencies be supplied on the call sheet, no matter how small your shoot is. Film sets are dangerous places, and having a plan in place to deal with emergencies is vital.
The shooting schedule resembles your production stripboard. It contains all the scenes that are to be shot on the given day, along with additional information including their scene number, setting descriptions, script pages, page eighths, and more.
This section describes which actors are on set and what characters they are playing, along with a variety of talent-specific timings:
PU: Pick up. This refers to what time the actor is to be retrieved from their accommodations by the transportation department
H/M/W: Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe. Fairly self-explanatory. This refers to when the actor must be ready for their daily styling.
Block: This is the time when the actor must be on set and ready to run through/rehearse the first scene of the day.
Set Call: This is when the actor must be ready to begin filming.
For additional information on the terminology used in call sheets, check out our call sheet terminology primer.
The crew grid contains the names and individual call times of all crew members, organized by department – including daily hires such as background actors, security guards, or extra departmental assistants.
Not every call sheet is the same. The amount of detail present will be particular to the scale and complexity of the shoot. Here are some other pieces of information you could potentially include:
Professional crews use multichannel walki-talkies for fast internal communication. The most common configuration is:
- Channel 1: Production General Discussion
- Channel 2: Open. Typically reserved for one-on-one conversations
- Channel 3: Transportation
- Channels 4 & 5: Open or reserved for Makeup / Wardrobe if needed.
- Channel 6: Camera
- Channel 7: Electrical
- Channel 8: Grip
Some call sheets will include an advance of the next day’s shoot, typically in the form of a condensed shooting schedule. These are often subject to change.
Keeping It All Together
A lot of information needs to go on a call sheet, and neglecting any of it can lead to serious problems on set. Celtx makes producing call sheets easy by automatically populating them with information.