Tag: scheduling

The Critical Path = The Story On Screen

noterowYou may say that business folk and creative folk are opposites, but there are concepts that both use… just with different vocabulary.

In business project management, it’s important to schedule a project considering the “critical path” – the minimum steps in the most condensed order to ensure the project will be completed (on time and on budget). With more time and resources (money, people, equipment…), you can add extras to the “critical path” in order to deliver a truly dynamic project. If unforeseen circumstances happen and you have to condense the schedule, you cannot condense it to shorter than what’s on the “critical path” – all the essentials are here for the project to deliver.

Now over to producing a script. It’s important schedule a production considering capturing the “story on screen” – the minimum essential scenes and story points in order to ensure the complete story will be filmed during principal photography (on time and on budget). With more shoot time, cast, crew and equipment, you can add extras to the “story on screen” in order to produce a truly dynamic film. If unforeseen circumstances happen and you have to shorten the shooting day or schedule, you have to focus on those essential scenes and story points because you need them to capture the “story on screen” for post production to craft into a finished, coherent film.

Interesting parallel, eh? Looks like business folk have more in common with creative folk than it first seems.

Cheers and a good story on screen to you,

Ciné-Surfer: Holidays Around The World

fwksIt’s summer and a lot of country independence (and country constitutions) are being celebrated. Here are just a few for July:

  • Canada (July 1)
  • USA (July 4)
  • Argentina (July 7)
  • South Korea (July 17)
  • Columbia (July 20)

Since we tend to be used to the public holidays of our own country, planning the shoot of an international co-production can be a challenge if you don’t know the holidays that the co-pro country is celebrating too. OfficeHolidays.com is a great site to plot holidays of the world on a calendar and plan the shoot accordingly!

Cheers & a good shoot along with happy summer holidays… whatever one(s) you are celebrating!

Ciné-surfer: $1M Budget Breakdown (from Oz Film Commission)

The Australia Film Commission has a set of feature articles worth perusing. One in particular is called “The Financial Lowdown“.

Though this article is a tad old (it references films shot between 2000 and 2003), the content is still excellent. There’s a breakdown of a $1M production budget that helps with understanding of generally where in the budget the money goes. There is also discussion of how many shoot days are typical for low budget features and much more.

So… read it, learn from it, bookmark it! Then you can peruse their other articles too. Are any of them of significant interest to you?

Cheers & happy budgeting to you,

Hour Changes & Midnight Call Times

The Dilemma: Call time for the first day of the shooting week is at midnight on Sunday and daylight savings ends this weekend… how do you ensure the crew shows up for set on the right day and at the right time?

The Answer: Well, it’s a 2-part answer.

(1) How to Set a Midnight Call Time
First of all… do not use 12:00 a.m. as your call time. Though the crew will understand the time to show up, they’ll find the date confusing: “Do they mean 12 midnight between Saturday & Sunday…. or… 12 midnight between Sunday and Monday??” Use a call time of 11:59 p.m. or 12:01 a.m. and then both time and date will be clear. Considering you’ll probably also have a number of pre-calls, I recommend using 11:59 p.m.

(2) How to Set a Call Time Around the Daylight Savings Time Change
DST time changes happen at 2:00 a.m. so give clear notice on the call sheet (that the crew receives the night or day before) that there is a time change, exactly when it happens (2am), and what happens to the hour (clocks back or clocks forward):


If your shoot day takes place during the time change (like when you  have a midnight call), then things get a little tricky. In the spring you lose an hour springing forward – that’s not as confusing as in the fall where you “repeat” an hour. If you call someone to set at 1:30 a.m… which 1:30 a.m. is it?

The easiest solution in the fall is to declare the time change to happen at least 1 hour before your shoot starts that night and so you can have consecutive hours for the entire night’s shoot.


Alternatively, you could declare the time change on your set will happen 1 hour after wrap. In either case, you’ll have to be very clear on the call sheet and message this unique “set time zone” to all involved. Considering, however, you’re shooting at night, you should know every single person who will be showing up to set anyway!

Cheers & a good shoot to you!

P.S. Oh yes… don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend. 🙂

5 Expensive Budgetary Items – III

There appear to be no end to expensive expenses in the production budget… here is another round of “favourites”:

11. Lots of Set-Ups – There could be two reasons why there are lots of set-ups: either you have multiple cameras running (so there are extra expenses in labour and equipment, and more time to choreograph it all, plus more editing time to sift through the footage); or you have lots of coverage and camera moves planned (so you are not capturing much of the script as you move the camera around for all that coverage, and need more shoot days). Either reason is expensive!

12. Lots of Unit Moves – Not only do you have more costs associated with location rental and management, but you are spending precious daylight hours in vehicles moving from place to place instead of capturing images.

13. Name Stars – Their salaries are obviously high, but what about the extra costs? Do you have fly in their entourage? Send them home every weekend? Do they want a car for themselves, separate from their car and driver on the set? Will they only work for a certain number of hours? Does their limited schedule on your set force you to schedule around them? And yet, aren’t they so worth it? Oh yeah.

14. Weather-Dependant Scenes – Waiting for makeup and hair to be completed is one thing, but to have a whole cast and crew wait around for clouds to clear (or to arrive) feels really silly, and you can feel the money being spent. If you can help it, do not get caught with unfilmed exteriors at the end of your shoot.

15. Rush Hour, Hockey Season & Other Fun Times – There are times when a downtown street cannot be locked, or a hockey rink cannot be closed, for filming. In some cases, you can pay the premium to secure what you need for these “fun times”, but that’s expensive. Typically, instead, you have to schedule around these “fun times” and find yourself locked into shooting on weekends or at night (expensive item #3).

Happy budgeting!