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First Shot, Lunch, and Wrap Reports

If you’re working on a network show or studio film, there are three reports that are almost always the purview of the office PA. They are: the first shot, the lunch report, and the wrap report.

This is one of those times where the little details matter a lot.1 Everyone does them a little differently, depending on the whims of the coordinator, UPM, executive in charge of production, and any of a dozen other people. But here’s the gist–

The First Shot email is one of the few emails where the subject line pretty much says it all. It usually goes something like this: SHOW TITLE – EPISODE #2 – Day # of #, ##/##/## – FIRST SHOT: ##:##AM

Sometimes the body of the email is just that subject line, copy-and-pasted. Y’know, ’cause it’s weird if the email is blank. Also, sometimes spam filters catch those.

Some studios3 ask for an explanation if the first shot is anything longer than an hour after call time. The “explanation” is usually “Long rehearsal for first scene of the day.” I mean, come on guys, an hour? Give us time to settle in for the day.

The Lunch Report has more details, because you’ve (hopefully) actually accomplished something by the time lunch rolls around. Again, I’m generalizing, but the subject line is something along the lines of: SHOW TITLE – EPISODE # – Day # of #, ##/##/## – LUNCH: ##:##PM

The email should read–

Episode #
Day # of #

Call time: ##:##AM
First shot: ##:##AM
Lunch: ##:##PM – ##:##PM

Scenes: #, #, #…
Pages: # #/8
Setups: #
Time: ##:##

AM/PM should change based on, you know, whether it’s morning or afternoon. Some people like military time, which I can dig, but I tend to avoid it for the people who aren’t used to it.

If the difference between call and lunch was more than six hours, you need to make a note of whether grace was called. It almost certainly was, but still, write out the words “grace was called” so nobody at the studio freaks out.

“Scenes” refers to scenes that were completed. If you were only half way through a scene when lunch was called, it doesn’t go here. Now, here’s the tricky part: if only a partial scene (indicated by “pt” after the scene number on the call sheet) was scheduled, then that does count. Because that means you shot everything that was scheduled to be shot.

Pages are always accounted for in 8ths. Ignore your 3rd grade math teacher and never simplify fractions. If you shot 4 and 4/8ths pages, don’t write 4.5; write 4 4/8.

Remember, you’re reporting the number of setups, not shots.

“Time” is the script supervisor’s estimation of the amount of screen time that was actually filmed. Generally this number and the page count are similar, but not always. If they’re way off (2 1/8 pages, 14 minutes 12 seconds), double-check that you heard the numbers right.

Almost all of this information comes from the script supervisor herself, whose job it is to keep track of all of this stuff (among many, many other things). Sometimes a PA or 2nd AD will pass the information to you, but scripty is the one who actually knows the info for sure.

The wrap report is basically the same thing, but at the end of the day. SHOW TITLE – EPISODE # – Day # of #, ##/##/## – WRAP: ##:##PM

Episode #
Day # of #

Call time: ##:##AM
First shot: ##:##AM
Lunch: ##:##PM – ##:##PM
First shot after: ##:##PM
Wrap: ##:##PM

Scenes: #, #, #…
Pages: # #/8
Setups: #
Time: ##:##

Work completed? Yes

On most shows, you won’t have to send a first shot after lunch report. The studio doesn’t stress about that one as much as the very first shot of the day.

Take note: scenes/pages/setups/time refer to the entire day’s work, not just after lunch.

The biggest new wrinkle is “work completed?”. If you shot everything on the call sheet, then “yes” is obvious. If the answer is “no,” then you need to explain what’s missing. For instance: “Sc. 32 was not shot due to time”; “Owe one shot for sc. 57”; or “Sc 12A was cut from script.”

That last one may happen because of an error on the call sheet, or because a producer called an audible on the set.

It’s up to you to get the information from the 2nd AD before you send out the report, so you don’t get a call from the line producer at 10:30, asking why the hell scene 32 wasn’t filmed.

This is all very elementary, and you’ll get the hang of it by day 2. But again, each and every one of these details is important. Screw it up, and you’ll be looking for a new gig by day 5.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I mean, details always matter, but here’s a place where you can easily get them wrong.
  2. Assuming you’re on a series.
  3. Fox, if I recall correctly.
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4 Responses

    1. You know, I’ve seen that referred to as a 5pm report, and never once in a dozen shows done it. Is it a film thing?

      1. Yeah it can also be called the 5 o’clock report, but it always comes at the 10 hour mark. All the network shows I’ve worked on have needed them. NBC, Fox. Maybe it’s regional? I work in Chicago.

        1. Makes sense. By 5:00 o’clock on the West Coast, the network suits are getting ready to go home, but 5:00pm Central Time is mid-afternoon here.

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