Call Sheets. Redesigned.

Nobody likes repeating themselves. So getting asked questions like: “Where am I supposed to go?”, “What time is lunch?”, “Where do I park?”, “What scenes are we shooting today?” Over and over again, day after day, it’s enough to make you crazy! This is why the call sheet was invented. Whether your set is made up of 5 people or 500 people, organization is essential for a smooth running set. We, at Topsheet, thought to ourselves, “How can we make this organizational tool even more efficient?” So, we put it in an app and sprinkled on some automation for you to use for free. But before I blow your mind with our awesome call sheet solution, let’s break down the “whys”, “hows” and “whats” of the call sheet.

Why Call Sheets?

First, everybody likes to know what’s going on. People are put at ease when they have a quick reference guide to everything they need to know for the day. Second, answering the same questions all day might make your brain melt and leak out your ears. I mean, maybe not literally, but it feels like it. Third, your set runs much more smoothly when everybody knows where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there and what they need to be prepared for. A smooth-running, well organized production is a successful production. Fourth, you need a call sheet for safety. Not only for a quick reference to the nearest 24 hour hospital in case of an emergency, but also, so people don’t get lost and wander into areas they shouldn’t be in.

Composition of a Call Sheet

A professional call sheet template must have: the production title, date and set location(s) of the shoot, call time for the various groups, nearest hospital, weather forecast for the day, sunrise/sunset, scenes, cast and crew members, a general layout of the day, and meal times. A good call sheet should also have notes on things like: parking, hair and make-up, open or closed set, walkie channels etc. If it’s important, write it down. Studiobinder's call sheet is a great example to look at too.

Creating a Call Sheet

Topsheet has made call sheets free, fast, and easy to set up and send out. Simply, go to your “projects” button then go to the project you want to manage. In the upper left hand corner you will find a button that says “create call sheet”. Click on that and fill out date and times. Next, fill in the address of the location or locations. Topsheet call sheets are equipped with map links, to ensure everyone gets to the same location. Next, fill out information such as: scene number, characters in scene, set and description, and add notes etc. Save and add scene. Your call sheet has been created. All that’s left to do is select the people you need to send it to and your finished. It’s that easy. All of your call sheets will be organized by department in the app. Pro tip: Make sure you proofread your call sheet and run it by/get it approved by the 1st AD (assistant director) and UPM (unit production manager) before you send it. You only want to send one per day to avoid any confusion on set.

Organizing Your Production

Call sheets are great for keeping everyone on the same page, but you need to keep yourself organized too. Create a comprehensive distribution list so you don’t lose track of what you’re doing and who you’re sending what to. A distribution list is a list of everyone receiving a call sheet for each day. Your distribution list should include, at least: full name, character name/title/position, phone number, email address and which days this person will need a call sheet. Also, whomever else needs to be informed. Oftentimes, agents request copies of their actors call sheets for their own records. This is a quick reference guide for you, to ensure you are doing your job well and avoiding simple-but-costly errors. When minutes cost thousands, you need to be on your game! Your distribution list should be updated on a daily basis, as schedules change and people are hired and fired.

Best Time to Send Call Sheets

The best time to send call sheets is 12-14 hours before the day of shoot. You can send out a preliminary call sheet earlier so your crew can get a feel for the next shoot day, but it must be clear that it is a preliminary call sheet and things will likely be adjusted. Due to the nature of the job and...nature… details are always changing. Weather forecast, equipment issues, illness, injuries, shooting schedule and shot lists can change at almost any time. It’s better to update everyone once rather than every time there is a change. That being said, with Topsheet, updates can be made simply by pushing the “edit” button on the top right of the page and a push notification will be sent out to all those receiving the update, as well as, in an email.

Call Sheet Confirmation

You just did all the work to make sure everybody was well informed for the next day’s shoot. How do you know people even saw it? In the past, you would have needed to wait for a text or email or call, confirming everyone received the call sheet and, I’m sure, it would be common for people to simply forget to reply. With Topsheet, you know instantly who viewed their call sheet because an eyeball icon will appear at the bottom.

Click here to watch a short demo and find out more about how Topsheet can serve you on your next production. Whether that be: a feature film, short film, tv, commercial, web series and anything in between, Topsheet is here to help

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