Mostly copied from here.

A well-formulated shooting schedule can be the difference between production heaven and production hell.

Production scheduling might not sound exciting, but it is one of the key differences between a positive film set experience—and a film set that leaves you regretting your life choices.

Some filmmakers get so caught up in the creative elements that they leave scheduling to the last minute. No matter what scale of production you set out to make, scheduling should be taken seriously. Very seriously.

This post will go through some of the key areas of film production scheduling, from the script breakdown to listing all of the elements you should consider when creating your own shooting schedule.

Script Breakdown Basics

The 1st AD creates the shooting schedule on a professional production is, traditionally. However, often the entire production team, including the producer, production manager, and director, will closely look over the schedule and have a say in how the film production dates will be organized.

These days it’s typical to use software such as movie magic scheduling. However, you can still do this yourself with a computer Excel document or simply a notepad and pen.

To begin this process, you will need to closely read your script and create a breakdown of each scene.

Breaking Down Your Script

The first thing you need to do before creating your shooting schedule is to complete a script breakdown.

This means reading through your screenplay carefully and making detailed notes on what is required for each scene.

In the breakdown, you will list any elements that appear within each scene. Elements are everything you can see or need to make a scene possible. This includes cast, props, set design, costumes, makeup, stunts, and special effects.

You can do this on paper or with a computer document. Simply list all of the elements that are present in every scene in your film.

script formatting

Film Stripboard

Traditionally a stripboard or production board is a color-coded chart containing information on each scene.

This chart would be printed out and hung in the production office wall. Scenes would then be rearranged by the 1st Assistant Director to create a shooting schedule. These days it is more common to use computer software, but you can still do this on paper.

Page Count

It is also helpful to know exactly how many pages of screenplay you are dealing with. For example, you might have a 90-page screenplay, but within it are blank pages or scenes that only take up half a page. In reality, you might have only 80 pages of a screenplay to film.

If you wish to create a more professional script breakdown, you will now want to break your script pages into 1/8ths.

This literally means dividing each screenplay page into eight sections. In simple terms, this is because one page of screenplay roughly equates to one minute of screentime, and it is easier to create a film schedule based on seconds of screentime than on minutes.

On a professional call sheet, you will see how many 1/8ths of a page you are filming each day jotted down next to each scene.

The breaking down of pages into eighths was first devised when filmmakers decided that it would be more functional to shoot a film out of chronological order. It was found that dividing a script page into eighths was the most practical way of doing this. If you are shooting anything other than a student film or micro-low-budget indie, make sure to get an experienced 1st AD and Script Supervisor to help keep track of the film’s process.

After you have gone through every scene and made a note of all of the elements (and perhaps divided your scenes into eights), you can now begin to create your shooting schedule.

You might also be interested in reading our detailed article on how to create a film budget breakdown.

shooting script

Creating Your Schedule

By now you should have read through your script several times, so you have a good idea of what is needed in each scene.

Keep in mind that your shooting schedule will change. There is no such thing as a perfect production schedule. Filming is unpredictable—crew might get sick, the equipment could beak, and weather can suddenly take a turn for the worse. Still, it is best to head into production with a well-thought-out shooting schedule at hand.

To create this schedule, you can use computer software or go old school with pen and paper. The shooting schedule template above is an example of how a daily page of shooting schedule would look.

Your schedule will importantly differ depending on the scale of your production. For example, a major studio production might only get through one page of script a day, while an independent production could aim for five pages of script a day. How many pages of a script you have and how many pages you aim to shoot for each day will give you a very basic idea of how long it will take to shoot your film.

Next, consider what type of production schedule you want. For example, a typical film set will run on a six-day workweek, with 11 hours of work each day and a one-hour lunch break. However, your ideal shooting day might look different.

Mainly, avoid seven-day work weeks and consider what is the max number of hours you aim to work for each day. Add extra time to every day’s shooting schedule just in case you need it. In addition to extra time, you might consider having a few days extra at the end of the shooting schedule in case of any pickups or reshoots.

It’s helpful to create a flexible schedule if possible, just in case. Problems arise during production, and there will be no avoiding schedule changes.

At this early stage of creating a schedule, you should have an idea of how many days of filming you will need. Next, we need to make that schedule more realistic.

large film crew

Cast and Crew Availability

In an ideal scenario, you will have several meetings with key crew members before production takes place. If that’s not possible, make sure to call up and chat with each crew and cast member while you are scheduling.

Maybe you can afford to fully pay and book cast and crew for a complete block of time. If you can’t, there is a chance that they will have other commitments. It’s unlikely on a low-budget film that everyone will be free every day you wish to film. Get people’s availability as early as you can and make a note of any other commitments people might have.

Another reason for getting a cast and crew opinion on the shooting schedule is that each department’s needs might affect it. For example, the art department might want some scenes to be carried out towards the end of the shoot as they don’t have enough prep time within a certain location. In another example, costume and makeup might prefer scenes to be done at the end of the shoot for continuity reasons. You never know what problems might occur to mix up the schedule out of sequence, so it’s best to predict issues beforehand.

While creating your schedule, it can be good to have a calendar close by and take notes on the availability for key cast and crew. Keep these notes to refer back to at a later date.

What Scenes To Shoot First

When first scheduling your film, you can place all of the scenes in your film into the schedule chronologically. Some directors wish to shoot in chronological order. On other shoots it is only feasible to shoot out of order. For example, shooting all of the scenes that take place in one location at the same time (regardless of where these scenes appear in the script timeline) can help make the shoot go faster.

Another tip is to plan the most complicated scenes first. Do the more complex or important scene at the start of each shooting day. That way no matter what occurs to slow your daily schedule down, at the very least you will have hopefully ticked off one major scene.

You will also need to consider actor’s energy and emotions. Scheduling two emotionally exhausting scenes right after the other might be too draining for an actor. Also consider physically demanding scenes such as fight sequences. For these reasons, when planning the scene order it can be helpful to work closely with the director.

By now you should have a basic shooting schedule. You can send this to key crew members for initial feedback. However, there are still a lot of factors to keep in mind before you have a fully working first draft.

Night Shooting

Day and Night Scenes

Your script might have a mixture of day and night scenes. If you have an idea of what month you are shooting in, double-check the daylight hours during this time. Depending on where you are in the world daylight hours will vary. Also, consider weather conditions if filming outside. Of course, you can’t predict the weather, but you can have a general idea of what to expect.

Depending on the desired number of hours you wish to shoot for each day, you will have to block shoot day and night scenes separately. For example, you might shoot outside in daylight for the first two weeks and have a night-time block during the second half of filming. How you arrange day and night scenes on your schedule will depend on a lot of factors.

Keep in mind that you can’t go straight from a day shoot to a late-night shoot the following day. You will have to give a few days in between for people’s internal clocks to adjust. Just like if you were organizing a rota for any ordinary job, you need to be conscious of people’s energy and rest time.

Lastly, make sure to let cast and crew know in advance if you are planning on scheduling a lengthy night shoot.

In general, night shoots more expensive to produce (both for hiring out equipment and hiring locations, and crew can have higher nighttime wages ). As such, on a low-budget film, it would be wise to keep night shoots to a minimum.

Location Availability

It’s likely that a lot of your scheduling will come down to location availability. Hopefully, you don’t have too many location changes in your film. Location changes during a shooting day (no matter how close together the locations are) will take up chunks of precious time. If possible avoid having any major location changes during one filming day.

You will need to get in touch with the owners of locations and find out what days and times you are allowed to use them for filming. There may only be a certain day of the week when one location is free, or you might only be allowed to use a location for certain specific hours in a day. Even if you’re not booking locations yet, it is helpful to have a general idea of what the rules are for filming in each one.

If there are important scenes that happen in an outside location, it might be best to schedule these scenes earlier in the shooting schedule. That way if weather problems come up, you can move these important scenes to later on in the schedule.

It’s typical for a shooting schedule to change regularly during production. Scenes will move along and across the schedule calendar as problems occur. But hopefully, by gathering as much knowledge as possible on all of the elements needed in each scene, you will be able to always adapt and have something to film on every shooting day.

film equipment

Equipment & Production Design

Another obstacle that might shake up your schedule is equipment. Hopefully, your main camera and sound equipment are available throughout the whole production. For specialty grip equipment like cranes or a Steadicam, you might only have access to these on particular days.

In general, your equipment availability will depend a lot on your production type and how much money you have to put down on hiring equipment. For example, on low-budget independents, you might be getting by on favors, or relying on the crew to bring their own equipment to set.

Vehicles, major props, and production design might need longer prep to gather or create before filming begins. This is why it’s good to discuss the schedule with all key crew members before filming. During pre-production, it can be a good idea to have a read-through of the script with all heads of departments present. This way everyone can discuss what they need for each scene, and it’s an easy way to avoid any crew arguments that might arise during production.

In short, the more time you put into pre-production and planning, the smoother and more successful your production is likely to be.

Re-Drafting Your Schedule

Your shooting schedule will change many times throughout the production process. When you get a new piece of information (be that lack of availability for a cast member, location, or prop), you can simply adjust your production schedule as you go. It’s not uncommon for there to be changes in a schedule every day on a film set. As such it is good to have all of your information in one place. That can be in a computer document or folder.

Also, why not consider creating your own production office wall stripboard with scenes that can easily move position as the schedule changes? A large wall stripboard might be the easiest way to visualize all of these elements and scenes coming together.

DSLR camera

This is mostly copied from here.

SLR camera next to laptop

When  beginning the filming  process, there comes a lot of preparation before hitting the record button. You need to find a set, adjust lighting, and have the proper camera angles.

One way to organize this preparation is with a shot list.

Want to learn more? Our free TechSmith Academy course,   Basics: Using a Shot List , will walk you through the process. Plus, download your very own shot list template!

What is a shot list

A shot list is a document that maps out exactly what will occur and what will be used in that particular shot, or scene, of the film.

But,  why is a shot list important? 

It serves as a detailed checklist that gives the video a sense of direction and prepares the crew for film expectations.

Shot lists are helpful for bigger productions that need shots at multiple settings or features several actors. It allows directors to organize their thoughts before filming begins and starts to form a shooting schedule.

Shots lists go hand-in-hand as part of the script writing and pre production process.

How to make a shot list

So how do you create a shot list? Typically, a shot list includes:

  • The scene number
  • Shot number
  • Location
  • Shot description
  • Framing
  • Action/dialogue
  • Actors involved
  • Props needed
  • Extra notes

Below is an example of a shot list template:

Sample shot list template

Begin by organizing your shots based on the shot location. Grouping similar shots makes it easier to shoot because you are able to film everything you need at one given time.

It’s important to note that this may not necessarily be in order of shot number.

For example, if you’re going to shoot a scene at a lake for the beginning and end of the video, you want the shot list to show all those shots.

Even though you will not be filming in order of the storyboard, this makes filming much more convenient.

Type of shots

Next, decide what kind of shot you’ll be filming, such as a wide shot (WS) or a close-up (CU). In addition to the type of shot, the camera angles and camera moves should be specified.

Angles may include a high or low level, where a move may be on a handheld camera or on a crane. Once you’ve decided your camera work, it’s important to address how you will be picking up the audio, may that be through a boom mic or a voice-over.

Refer to the chart below for more shot types,  camera angles ,  camera moves , and audio.

Chart of shot types, camera angles, camera moves, and audio options

Capturing your subjects

Next, identify the subject of your shot, which is considered the focus of the shot.

A subject can be an actor, a group of actors, a prop, or a setting that is focal to the shot. Adding the shot description gives directors a clear guideline of what is happening in the shot.

This can include the actor involved, the action they are taking, the props involved, and what exactly the camera will be capturing.

Now that you’ve mapped out the direction of your video, you’re ready to start shooting!

This is mostly copied from here


In this guide, we will be discussing everything you need to know about storyboards.



When you make a video for your business, fiction story, journalism piece, documentary, planning is extremely important. One of the most important stages of planning out your video is creating a storyboard.

    What is a Storyboard?

A storyboard is a graphic representation of how your video will unfold, shot by shot.

It’s made up of a number of squares with illustrations or pictures representing each shot, with notes about what’s going on in the scene and what’s being said in the script during that shot. Think of it as sort of a comic book version of your script.

what is a storyboard

A storyboard is your roadmap when you make a video.

Like a script, your storyboard visually guides you throughout the production process. By planning your video, you know which shots you need to create and how to create them when filming begins. You can get others’ feedback early on and make simple adjustments to your storyboard, rather than making major changes while filming.

To make a good storyboard, you don’t need to be a visual artist (though you can be). A storyboard can be anything from comic book-like rough sketches to stick figures to computer-generated drawings. To help you plan your own video, we’ll walk through the basics of creating storyboards, including:

  • The basic elements of every storyboard
  • A breakdown of two popular storyboarding methods

Understanding different ways to storyboard, you’ll be set to visually plan your own video. Regardless of your budget or design experience, you’ll be able to create a clear map that seamlessly guides you through production.


    Why You Need a Storyboard?

Creating a storyboard might just sound like an extra step in the process of making a video for your business, but trust us — it’s a step you won’t want to ignore. Here are three reasons why you need a storyboard:

Best way to share your vision

A visual aid makes it much easier for you to share and explain your vision for your video with others.

We’ve all had experiences where we were trying to explain something and the other person just can’t see your vision. The core of this issue is that most stakeholders don’t have the experience of visualizing something off of a text deliverable, such as a script.

When you have a storyboard, you can show people exactly how your video is going to be mapped out and what it will look like. This makes it infinitely easier for other people to understand your idea.

Makes production much easier

When you storyboard a video you’re setting up a plan for production, including all the shots you’ll need, the order that they’ll be laid out, and how the visuals will interact with the script.

The video storyboard is a starting point or suggested thoroughline around which you can plan your coverage (all the angles you will shoot of a scene). This really comes in handy when you’re making your video, as it ensures you won’t forget any scenes and helps you piece together the video according to your vision.

Saves you time

While it may take you a little while to put your storyboard together, in the long run it will save you time in revisions later. Not only will it help you explain your vision to your team, but it will also make the creation process go more smoothly.


    How Storyboarding Can Help Your Business

Storyboarding can also help you:

  • Get buy-in from stakeholders: While a script can help others conceptualize your video, the visual nature of a storyboard is often a more effective way to bring it to life pre-production. Sharing your storyboard early on in the process will ensure collaborators and decision-makers understand your vision — and make them much less likely to put up a fight down the line.
  • Streamline production: Creating a storyboard forces you to work out a lot of the details of your video ahead of time — what shots you want, what order they’ll go in, what props or tools you need, etc. Storyboarding might also help you realize that you’re missing a key piece of logic or dialogue in your script, or that your visuals don’t tie together as cohesively as you thought. Identifying and working through these problems before you start creating your video will prevent wasted effort later on.  
  • Save time: It’s much easier and less time-consuming to make revisions to a storyboard than a video.

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    How to Create a Storyboard

Ultimately, a storyboard is a series of images representing each frame of your video. How you put the storyboard together, and how much detail you add, is up you — you can do it on paper, in a word processing program, or using specialized software.

Here’s how to go about creating a storyboard for your video:

1) Create blank slides

The first step in creating a storyboard is to draw a series of squares on a piece of paper

    Here’s an example of a blank storyboard:

what is a storyboard

Download this: US Letter | A4

You can also find tons of printable storyboard templates on Google). And here are more template options to help organize your frames. Don’t worry about your drawing skills — stick figures will suffice. Just make sure to leave room to jot down the accompanying text (whether it appears on the screen or is spoken by your characters or narrator) for each visual.

Creating a PowerPoint deck or simple word processing document on the computer is another easy option. Specialized software is also available if you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution (check out a few options below).

Think of these squares as the video frame. In each square a different shot or scene will take place. You can sketch the scenes by hand, create them on a computer or even take photographs. Make sure to leave space to write notes and lines from the script beneath or next to each frame.

2) Add your script

Beneath each picture, write the lines from the script that will be spoken in that scene and jot down some notes about what is happening.

Your storyboard should read like a comic book, so readers (coworkers, clients, etc.) can get a sense of exactly what will happen in your video.

add script to storyboard


Read more about scripting for short videos.  

3) Sketch your story

Next, you should sketch how each scene will look visually. Note that your storyboard doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed — you don’t have to draw in all of the props or even use color. (Hint: You don’t have to be great at drawing either. Bad drawings are far better than no drawings at all.)


Just provide enough visual detail to give an impression of what is happening, which characters are in the scene and what the general framing will look like. The script and notes will help fill in the rest of the details.

You can also make notes about camera angles and movement, transitions between shots and other details that will come in handy during production and post-production.

    Go-to Storyboard Checklist

Whether they’re drawn by a storyboard artist or diagrammed on a computer, all storyboards share the same information. They need to touch on the main actions, speech, and effects in every shot to clearly communicate how a video will appear.

Here are the key elements that every storyboard should include:

  • Shot images: Individual panels featuring 2D drawings to show what’s happening—actions, characters—throughout a video
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: you are developing the visual composition for each shot to communicate emotionally.
  • Shot number: The number indicating when a shot appears according to a video’s shot list
  • Action: The primary activity happening in a shot
  • Dialogue (or narration: Any speech that is heard throughout a video
  • FX: Technical details that explain how the shot is created in production and post-production (e.g. aspect ratio, camera angles, camera movement, shot type, sound effects, special effects)

A full storyboard has all of the information necessary to imagine how your finished video will appear. Reviewing your images and notes for each shot, you and your team can brainstorm how your video should be adjusted and what resources you will need in production.

        Helpful Storyboarding Tips

Here are some tips that can help you as you storyboard your video:

  • Show, don’t tell. Use the storyboard as a litmus test to determine if your story is truly being visualized.
  • Be cinematic. Does your video do things that movies do? Do people, places and things move or stand still? Does the camera move? Keep these factors in mind and bring them all together to create a cinematic video.
  • Make sure it’s logical and coherent. You’re creating a story, so the video should look visually consistent from beginning to end
  • Pick a theme. If you want to create a video infographic, add relevant charts and graphs. Want to highlight a customer pain point, show a character on screen and take them through a journey.

Here’s a great example of a story-based video that was planned to perfection:

  • Include all relevant details. Break up your script into smaller chunks and make note of important information:
    • What is the setting or background for the scene?
    • Is there a character on screen? If so, what action is the character performing?
    • What props are in the scene? This should fit in with the context of the background/setting you’re using
    • Will any text appear on screen? What is the size, color, and position of the text?
    • What message are you trying to deliver?