The Shooting Schedule

Creating an effective shooting schedule is essential for a successful project.

All Key Considerations Combined

The instrument used to structure everything on a visual production is the shooting schedule. It results from the consideration of all factors, follows logical goals and gives film production the structure it needs. Depending on the production phase, it has different functions. On the one hand, it is a document that summarizes the current state of planning and at all times ensures an overall view of the planned shoot. On the other hand, it is also a tool used to moderate and control the process of scheduling, since the project is often subject to rapidly changing influences during the development.

In order to design a functional shooting process, specifications and factors have to be considered from many sides. These result from the screenplay, directorial and production ideas based on the budget, the requirements and availability of resources, the work processes of the departments and the general procedures that take place on a film set. A shooting schedule is therefore the result of a variety of considerations. The decisions follow three main objectives: the cost and related time efficiency, the creation of workable frameworks for the creative process and the options in the event of uncertainties. These goals contradict each other and therefore have to be individually weighted when preparing the shooting schedule.

In the shooting schedule, the scenes of a script based on the breakdown are distributed to the available shooting time. For this purpose, the shooting days are first defined in a calendar, after which each scene or sub-scene is assigned to a shooting day. The information and resources of the breakdown act as an ordering principle. Within the shooting days, the scenes are also brought into order. The available shooting time is prioritized based on the amount of time that is given to a scene for its implementation. A shooting schedule therefore provides an overview of the use of the shooting time as well as which scenes are shot on which day of shooting in which order. A shooting schedule always includes the most important resources related to the scenes.

There is a distinction between an internal and an external schedule. An internal schedule is intended for use within a production and serves as a basis for discussion and for continuous coordination with the departments. As it is permanently subject to change, it is more of an intermediate than a finished plan. An external production schedule, on the other hand, is distributed beyond the production office to team members, actors and other individuals, agencies and service providers involved in filming after being approved by the production manager.