CALL SHEETS: For Safety's Sake!
Call sheets. What are they good for? Absolutely everything!!
Not only does a call sheet tell your cast and crew when and where to arrive, but it should be as detailed as possible! I'm not just speaking about adding parking details or the contact information of the nearest hospital. A great call sheet will state when everyone should arrive to location, and what time actors are to be on set, in HMUW (hair, makeup, wardrobe), ready for the first shot.
My favorite kind of call sheet breaks down the day's schedule by time. Not only will it state a start time, but it will tell you when meal break is schedule, and (the best kind) even break down what time we should be filming each scene! This is particularly helpful to those (cast and crew) arriving throughout the day, after the first call time. Which brings me to my next point...
Always look for YOUR NAME on the call sheet. Assistant Directors and Production Coordinators are usually great about stating this in the body of the email that includes the call sheet as an attachment. While it usually isn't terrible to arrive early by assuming you are needed for the first call time, it can set things back if you arrive LATE!
- The day before you are needed on set: Look up directions and an ETA.
- A couple hours before you planned to leave: Double check directions and ETA (which could change by the day's rush hour, construction, or accidents)
- Give yourself an extra 15 minutes
- Make sure you know who to contact if you do end up running late despite your careful planning. It's usually the Production Coordinator or Assistant Director. It is almost NEVER the Director!
A good call sheet includes the weather forecast. A great one notes that cast and crew should be prepared for exterior shots in stated weather. Alternately, filming INSIDE does not always mean the location will be heated or chilled to your pleasure!
For the health and safety of everyone, always state if there will be ANIMALS AND/OR SMOKE (tobacco or otherwise) on location as this could interfere with allergies, thus slowing down production and deducting points from your decent human being scale.
If you think I missed a vital safety factor in the call sheet department, wait for next week's "thoughts" before calling me out on it. please and thank you.
What has been your best or worst experience with call sheets? Share you indie film helpful hints in the comments section.