Which Schedule?

I’m often surprised at the number of people who don’t know that ADs create more than one kind of schedule. Frequently, experienced crew members will come into the office and ask for “the” schedule, only to be baffled when I ask, “which one?”

So, here’s a quick primer on what’s what:

The most common schedule that nearly everyone gets is the one line schedule, more commonly called the “one-liner.” It’s called this because each scene (or part of a scene, if it needs to be split up for whatever reason) gets its own line.

Each line tells you the scene number, interior or exterior, the set, the physical location, a brief description of the scene, the number of pages, and the actors required for the scene. You’ll find this information is roughly copy-and-pasted into the main part of the call sheet.

The scenes are arranged in shooting order, divided by shooting days. You can usually tell a one-liner at a glance, because it has thick, black bars dividing the days. Older ADs tend to only mark the end of the day, and let you assume the next line must therefore begin on the next day; younger ADs now write “End Shooting Day 4,” followed by “Begin Shooting Day 5.”

Usually attached to the one-liner is the Day Out of Days.1 This is a chart that lists every single cast member, and the days they will be required to be on set. Some shows hold this back, for privacy concerns, even though technically all of this information can be discerned from the one-liner.

The next most commonly used schedule is the Shooting Schedule, or Production Schedule. Not everyone gets these because not everyone needs them, and they use a massive amount of paper.

Besides containing all of the information included in the One-Liner, the Shooting Schedule also details every important aspect of a scene: props; special grip, lighting, camera equipment; costumes specified in the script; special effects; visual effects; the number of extras; probably a whole bunch of stuff I can’t even think of.

Most of the crew doesn’t need this kind of detail. Department heads certainly do, but for most of the crew, you show up on the day and do what needs to be done. Which is most likely why they’ll refer to the One-Liner as the “Shooting Schedule.” They never get a Shooting Schedule, and don’t ever think about its existence.

You might be surprised who needs this information, though. Catering, for instance, gets these. Why? They need to know how many mouths they have to feed, and the number of extras affect that.

It’s little details like that, that you wouldn’t necessarily think of at first blush. This is why you should definitely listen to your coordinator when it comes to things like distro. They know from experience that some things feel wasteful, but are actually rather important.

Finally, there’s the Prep Schedule. This is the smallest of the schedules, and also the least distributed. It generally only goes to people with offices, like production, art, accounting, and writers.

Prep Schedules generally cover the upcoming week, listing times for important meetings and scouts. It tends to focus on what the prepping director is doing, but can include things like insert meetings, as well. Basically, anything that has a specific, scheduled time, but doesn’t involve the shooting crew, goes on the Prep Schedule.

It’s usually either created with input from the producer’s assistant and the prepping AD. It’ll come out the end of the business day, around 6:00 or 7:00, regardless of what schedule the crew is on. Rarely does it come out after the wrap, though.

Sorry for the dry post. Tomorrow will be more wacky, I promise.

I really should stop posting pictures of myself on the blog. It ruins the whole "anonymous" thing.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. This can be abbreviated “DOOD” when writing, say, an email, but please don’t say “Dood” out loud. You sound like a moron.
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4 Responses

  1. I already knew this information but since I’ve not been working in production for a few years, this is really awesome information to lean on.

  2. That sounds like a more of film or TV thing. In commercials we don’t have all those schedules. We typically just have the Callsheet, directors boards (schedules) shooting boards (schedules), but I think that is because the productions are smaller. I find that even the caterer doesn’t need a schedule anymore either due to a confirmed head count given to the them upon reservation; but hey that could just be for the group of people I work for. Still important post for people to read. Thanks for writing so much lately. It’s great to read it all.

  3. Great post. I didn’t most of that information when I first got a job on a big network show. I looked quite the fool the first couple of weeks as I asked questions I wish I already knew.

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