Scheduling your shoot is an art that can be difficult to master. So many unexpected things that could happen from equipment failure to actors messing up their lines time after time, it can be tricky to know just how much time to allocate to each individual shot or scene. That’s why it is important to break down your raw script into a detailed list of items to be sourced.
A simple way to start is to do what’s called “lining” your script. This involves going through your script, page by page, and highlighting each element that will impact your budget or schedule. Things like actors, props, costumes, special effects, and anything else that might be necessary for that part of the script should all be given a different color. Once you’re done, you’ll have a script on hand that could almost turn you colorblind, but will make it a lot easier to plan things out for each shot.
Next, transfer all the items that you’ve highlighted onto breakdown sheets. You should have one of these sheets for every scene in your film, so you can see just what you’ll need. Add in category boxes for each category you highlighted while lining and keep the breakdown sheets numbered to make them easy to order. You should also include a header on each sheet with important information like the length of the script for that scene, a brief synopsis of the scene, whether it takes place at day or night, and so on. This makes the scheduling process easier, as you’re able to check the precise length of each scene and what you’ll need for it.
Finally, it’s time to make detailed lists of things such as props, costumes, and locations, so that you can have everything organized before it’s time to shoot. By making sure that you have everything on hand exactly when you need them, you’ll avoid one of the most common reasons for filming going over schedule. Using all the information that you’ve gathered, you can then easily plan out how you’re going to shoot each particular scene, what you’ll need, and roughly how long it will take. By just following this simple process, you can master the art of scheduling in no time at all!