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Scheduling & Shooting

Lesson 14 from: Producing An Independent Film From The Grassroots Up

Michael Gottwald

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Lesson Info

14. Scheduling & Shooting

Lesson Info

Scheduling & Shooting

Scheduling and shooting your film so um let's get to it this year I mean, I can talk all I wanted you know about scheduling and shooting him but at the end of the day this is why you have a good assistant director I talked through a couple of the different factors that they have to take into account what film you know are you shooting day for night? Um meaning are you shooting um during the day and pretending like it's night that for example, creates huge scheduling problem because you have to, um tent out as we say like if you're shooting interior and it supposed to be um daylight out but it's actually night you're sorry you don't have to tent out you have to basically blast light into the house as if it is day even though you're shooting at night night for days a whole different thing. Well, when we did the beasts storm scene it was it was a day when we were filming but we had to shoot it as if it was night. So we tented out the hole sort of treehouse where where they were, where the...

actors were and pelted it with rains you could see rain and here rain coming through but when you were inside the tree house it looked like it was dark out and that took a whole half day too build with our group in electric department um so these air some factors that aides have to take into account when they're scheduling movie actors blackout days when can they absolutely not work when are they completely unavailable what's a travel day you know the reason that film's air so tightly scheduled is because usually an actor has a day rate determined by sag and so you want to get the most out of each actor every day and so that's why we'll all of these elements air cost you know they cost something and you want a minute you want to maximize your impact of using each of them any day so location availability you know we on ping pong summer we used this club called h two o which is an underage dance club in ocean city, maryland and we knew that we weren't going to be able to use that location on saturdays or sundays because that's when they actually sorry fridays and saturdays okay, so we know we have to these days the week which is best for them what they can to get it for the best cost but how does that interact with the actors availability it's all these crazy puzzle pieces and then I sort of talked about turnaround time but especially in terms of working with a six year old you need to make sure that they stay healthy and that you're doing everything legally so they need you need a building a certain amount of time I think it was twelve hours for revenge anywhere she had to leave said and she couldn't be back on set for another twelve hours and I was not a sad thing that was just a legal like labor law thing um same applies to your crew give them as a rule even in a non union um in a non unions shoot you want to give them at least eleven hours to turn around so if we don't wrap until one a m you know I don't you don't really feel good asking them to come back until at least twelve p m the next day um otherwise you're gonna have a grouchy people um yeah call sheet I sort of went through this already but but does anyone have any questions about a call sheet I know this is ah why don't we talk? Yeah, you go ahead yeah I'm sure a lot of people people online have already expressed interest in you know various you know, software solutions or platforms you don't have a template for a call for sure right? And, you know, a lot of people out there obviously or using budgeting scheduling celtics is really kind of gaining steam in terms of its its its use even in the industry I think at this point um I was just curious that that doesn't look like excel, for example I think it was actually originally constructed in excel, but I was using my first eighties template, so he'll create it, and then you just and this is how it always happens, somebody just passes it down to the next person, and then you just fill in the blank, so they're probably his software. But again, just like I did with the budget I used, I used a template and then just grafted it into grafted my stuff into their sure so I guess I was just curious and you don't have any kind of, you know, specific workflow that you get other people on your team to sort out here to a lot of people are doing paperless productions now, for example, I know that, you know, kind of keeping everything in the cloud or you're just kind of more old school paperwork. The second a d is sort of the keeper of all that, and I sort of defer to them as to how they want to keep everything I you know, in my experience, you this's what the second a d is working on for all of the morning of the shoot, and then they pass out, uh, preliminary call she for the next day during lunch, the first eighty takes a look at it. Makes red marks on it says no yes yes no or whatever then they're the second eighty is tweaking that all throughout the rest of the shoot and you know you usually like call in and say you know so what does especially towards the end of the day where things might get a little hairy mike may be going into overtime what does it look like for call time tomorrow adjusting everything accordingly but um you you know yeah I think preliminary call sheet is most important to be in paper form as long as everybody gets the call sheet you know being elektronik clear paper at the end of the day it was something I was bad at on beast I was a second I was the second eighty on beasts who and sometimes I didn't send out the call sheet until way late at night and that's not good and I you know uh sometimes didn't had it in paper form but couldn't get it into everybody's hands and it just creates chaos people need to know what's going on now there is some sort of some software that you can use to make sure everybody has the same with the click of a button it's like boom it just gets sent out um but I'm not familiar with it myself but yeah I mean a second it is also in charge of the what we call the football or the production bible you know these all these series of sheets that they need to be in charge of production reports call sheets day out of days actors contracts stuff like that all needs to be kept in one place and usually it's on them or the production of office coordinator to have all that stuff properly filed in paper form and and um cool I'm going to move on to this is a day out of days this is for ping pong summer so s w means start work uh wf means work finished s wf means dark work start work and finish so this is ahh yeah I mean it's pretty self explanatory these air the names of the these are the names of the characters um you know, these are what we call day players telescope photo guy was only there for a day um sand woman was only there for day. Um teddy was the biggest sorry raed was the biggest character you could see that we didn't. Um yeah, this is a tricky one because you could see that usually we were doing five day weeks, but for whatever reason we started with three days and then we had to take a break for these four days can't remember why probably had something to do with actor availability um or or you know and when we would shoot in ocean city there was always like this is this is an interesting thing like so you construct your five day week and you think I'm going to need to use saturday and sunday because certain things were available to me on saturday and sunday that just aren't otherwise um so you know, you need to do that that said you're working in a beach town one of the biggest mid atlantic beach towns in the country and every single weekend in september they have some sort of festival that makes some sort of noise that will ruin the audio of what you're trying to shoot so I think what happened on these days and why we weren't shooting there is that it was like car weak and so like up and down the drag of ocean city he would have these really really loud cars and we just knew we were going to be able to shoot anything on get good audio so we just called it we didn't do it but that's just an example of some factors that you have to workaround um with this day of days are you also using the movie magic software to generate this or is this this one I was not responsible for probably the second this is this? Well, actually, yes, it would be movie magic is movie magic actually does when you're scheduling it you can say click generate day out of days and they can just they could just based on the how you've scheduled the whole shoot they can just spit this out and tell you ok this is when this character is here and this is when this characters here so the what's actually the starting place is not the data days but rather oh wait this is kinda interesting to say so you can see total rad is that twenty seven days out of like think we shot twenty seven so he was in every single day next biggest character was teddy and fifteen and you you know this is another thing that you plug this into the movie magic software and it can tell you very quickly when actor starts and when an active finishes um and then you can use that to figure out like ok how much money are we spending on randy are lyle you know like that number times their day rate or they're weak rate or whatever ah but this is the one liner for ah web series that I worked on the summer called high maintenance um this is like episode one okay so this is day one shooting this is actually your starting point not the day out of days so when the idea is working this is what they're looking at they're constructing the day based on little strips right and those strips air sort of like you're building blocks in movie magic um you know how many how many days it ah sorry how many how what is the proper unit? How long with page how much of the page you're shooting that day or in that scene whatthe number of the scene is is an interior exterior what is the time of day what basically what is the location? What basically happens they're all stuff that you could tell just by looking at the script page um and what are the act who were the actors that are actually present there right these could these these these colors are refer to something that I don't know I didn't construct this the other producer did ugo oh great our if you notice white into your day orange mocha interior evening so it's basically a different color for each combo so interior days white into your night is green got a forest green gotcha so that's what that isthe it's just to break up and I think that that should be according to the script right? So maybe you're shooting you know the lime green scene twenty two at the bottom on it's actually nighttime but it's going to be green on the sheet because we're shooting the scene to look like that right? And you want a group those kinds of scenes together so we're shooting both of these evans apartment scenes at night inside um you know you want to shoot the evening before the night scene you want to shoot uh you know yeah, I don't know there's all different sorts of factors, but again, like this one was more of a run and gun operation. It was less about improv ing, and it was more I don't want a traditional actors, but they were kind of mean, they knew what they were doing more than you know, dwight henry had never been on a set before, but, um and look, we're doing for four and five eighths pages, which is double what we're doing on that on that day of peace because that dave beast was more of, like a set. Pete, what we call set piece like a big sequence, you know, where it involved cars and kids and all these things stunts and things that could go wrong. This is a bunch of different locations, but what we were actually doing in the locations was very acting and dialogue based. So see all these different kinds see this was it would have been a really tough day, but at least we didn't have a company move, you know, like, this is six and three eights days, but we stayed all in the same in the same basic place, you know, um, okay, so in your in your project, think about all the factors that we've just talked about. Um, real quick think about it at home in the project that you're considering what's the biggest factor, like what is the biggest scheduling factor that you should every that should be the sun and everything else should sort of rotate around it, you know, think about that for a second. And, um, anybody here if they have a particular project in mind and they got one thing that they know is going to be the factor finished feature film, same thing the stars, about eleven years old, and then the her talent is just somebody that just happened in the onset and so and then he was right around winter break they're getting ready for winter break, and then all of the pro testing that was going on with the ferguson, so we had to work around thanksgiving break ferguson protests. We had a work around her already blossoming career and the fact that she was eleven years old and then she's going to be working with b list actors that are trained and she's yeah, there's a lot of factors to take into consideration with her. Yeah, all right, so actors availability the big one, especially if it's your star, anybody else? Um, this project that's coming up in a couple weeks, we have a concert scene that we're asking a lot of people to come out for and that's going to take place at a venue that we obviously nexus too, and we want to shoot on the weekend so we can get people to come out, eh? So we know that we need to do that on a sunday night, um, and it's also going to be an opportunity for us to kind of cast some additional background characters eso all the other days are kind of a little bit flexible that's the one thing that I know we need to shoot that on a sunday, we can't do it on saturday because it's valentine's day and no one's going to come out, we can't do it on him when they were friday, because kids are in school and you know, we so that's are one thing, and then everything else is revolving around that and it's also I'm using it and again as an opportunity to do some casting. So it's just example, we're like, I know that one thing and it's giving me a foundation to build off schedule.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 1.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 2.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 3.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 4.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Call Sheet - Filled Out.xls
Michael Gottwald - Sample Low Budget Documentary Excel Budget Total Budget.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Sample Low Budget Documentary Excel Budget.xls

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

A top-notch presentation on indie film making. I learned a lot from this course which I hope to soon put into practice as I'm about to embark on my first indie film - as a screen writer for the first time out, but eventually I hope to write, direct, and produce my own film. Very easy to follow the presentations in this course, and the handouts I received when I purchased the course are quite useful.


Such a great course! Being an indie "Grassroots" filmmaker in the middle of three projects, I found what Michael shared to be very valuable. The way that he described the different aspects of producing and illustrated with examples was very clear and fresh. The course really opens you up to examine your own processes, what works / what doesn't and stirs up some new ideas on how to move forward. Thanks CreativeLive team for making the class happen!


This is a tremendous introduction to grassroots filmmaking. Michael takes you step by step through the various elements of film production and offers those so inclined a cursory understanding of what is required. Because filmmaking is a creative pursuit, the direction the individual filmmaker takes from there is entirely up to each. I would highly recommend this course to any one starting out in filmmaking. Well worth the cost. David W. King, Michigan Movie Magazine

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