Production Planning and Scheduling

By Ng Ke Rong

09 March 2022

Ng Kerong

During the course on production conducted by Mr Clifford Ng, I have learnt production planning and scheduling. I did find myself interested in the course as I am from event management and would not use much of the knowledge learnt from this course. But after a few lessons, I have found production planning and scheduling interesting as I watch a lot of dramas and movies. 

A brief description of production planning and scheduling, also known as pre-production planning, is one of the most important steps for a film to be a success or not is made up of seven-part which are AV script breakdown, script breakdown, staging and blocking, storyboard, audition of cast, one-line schedule and call sheet.  

After learning production planning and scheduling I found it very interesting and entertaining as I get to find out what are the steps taken for each drama or movie that needs to be done to come out with for us to enjoy on our television or movie theatre all over the world. 

As stated above the steps needed for a typical production planning and scheduling are AV script breakdown, script breakdown, staging and blocking, storyboard, audition of cast, one-line schedule and call sheet. These few items are the basics of production planning and scheduling. 

I’ll share with y’all some of the knowledge I have picked up on production planning and scheduling. First, on the list, we have an AV script breakdown. 

  1. AV script breakdown

The First step of production planning is coming up with a scene breakdown on the AV script. This script is used to break down the script to let you easily identify and describe the people, places, and things in each scene of your screenplay.

As shown above, the video column on the left is for all the shot descriptions such as shot size, action or blocking notes, visual effects, etc. While audio on the right is used to add information on audio such as voice-over, music, etc.

Below is an example of an AV script done up for the walking dead video.

I have also done up a full production planning and scheduling together with my teammates for a music video ADHD by Joyner Lucas. Below is a sample of what we have done for an AV Script.

  1. Script Breakdown 

1. INT. Joyner’s Bedroom – NightJoyner wakes up from bed and walks around his room.

Takes a seat on a classroom table.

Joyner faces the camera and walks towards the camera right.

It kinda feels like I’m dyin’on the inside It kinda feels like I been tryna get by 
2. INT. Classroom – DayJoyner sits in a classroom. 

Teachers offer him a bottle of pills.

And I been this way since day one 

I don’t need no medication 

No, I don’t need no drugs or maybe I’m different, 

and maybe my ADHD got me trippin’ And maybe I’m just everything that you missin’

The next step in production planning is breaking down the script also known as script breakdown. The purpose of a script breakdown for production planning is to allow you to identify with colour-coding all the script elements which include cast, extras, props, set dressing, costumes, makeup, vehicles, stunts, and special effects. Using the information needed to prep, schedule from the script breakdown we can identify the number of characters we need, the props needed for each scene as well as what costume is needed.

Below is an example of colour-coding the script.

After colour-coding the script, the information will be then transferred to a breakdown sheet. A breakdown sheet will then clearly show the people and items needed for each scene. 

A breakdown sheet must have information such:

  • Scene number
  • Page count, which is used to show the length of a scene which contains 60 seconds (8/8) in total. 
  • Description
  • Slag-line
    • A Slag-line includes INT/EXT, location, and day/night
  • And the few elements listed above.
    • Cast
    • Extras
    • Props
    • Set dressing
    • Costumes
    • Makeup
    • Vehicles
    • Stunts
    • Special effects

Shown on the next page is an example of a breakdown sheet after a colour-code is done.

Shown below is an example of a breakdown sheet done up by my team and I for the ADHD video our teacher has given to us as an assessment.

  1. Staging and Blocking 

The next step to plan is staging and blocking a scene. This step is used to plan how and what the character is going to do to interact with the environment and camera, as blocking aims to outline where actors move throughout a scene. Whereas staging represents the position of the actors within the frame and the movement of the camera in relation to the scene. 

Blocking refers to the way your actors move around the space whereas staging represents the way your objects are placed and moved in the frame in relation to your blocking.

Applying blocking and staging to a film will help you to create and enhance visually harmonious sets. In which the audience’s eyes are directed in exactly the location you desire. And where the film eludes the desired tension and deeper meanings.

Below is an example of a drawing of staging and blocking.

Shown below is an example of staging and blocking drawing done up by my team and I for the ADHD video our teacher has given to us as an assessment.

  1. Storyboard (Shot List)

A storyboard is a visual outline of a film it is a series of images usually hand-drawn that shows everything that’s happening in the scene, a finished storyboard will look like a comic book as shown below. 

Shown below is the storyboard we have done for the ADHD video our teacher has given to us as an assessment.

Shot 1Shot 2Shot 3
A person lying on a bedDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceA picture containing text, monitor, television, screenDescription automatically generatedA person on a stageDescription automatically generated with medium confidence
Joyner waking up from bedJoyner sitting on the bedJoyner walking towards the table
  1. Audition of Cast 

Planning for an auditioned cast is one of the steps for production planning. After coming up with the script breakdown and shot list an auditioned cast can be done. As planning the pre-production process for selecting a certain type of actor, dancer, singer, or extra for a particular role or part in a script, screenplay.

Finding the right cast is one of the most important parts of pre-production as finding the right talent and making or breaking a film quality.

Shot 4
A picture containing text, monitor, television, screenDescription automatically generated
Joyner sitting on the table
  1. One-line Schedule 

Creating a one-line schedule is used to plan the shoot date and timing. A one-line schedule is an abridged version of the shooting schedule. Also known as a “one-liner,” scenes are listed and arranged in shooting order and broken up by shooting days. This is the most distributed schedule as it only contains the essential scene information. You can typically find a one-line schedule included on or attached to a call sheet. A typical one-line schedule will look like that (as shown below)

Shown below is the one-line schedule we have done for the ADHD video our teacher has given to us as an assessment.

  1. Call Sheet

Finally, it is creating a call sheet. A call sheet is one of the most important documents in filmmaking as it breaks down who, what, where and when a scene is being filmed for that day on a day-by-day basis. A call sheet is used to organize cast and crew, indicating who is required as well as to help keep production on schedule.

Some of the best practices for creating a call sheet are, 

  • The 1st AD, producer, or production coordinator creates it
  • Leave room for last minute modifications
  • If you’re sending it out, only send it ONCE
  • If you’re sending it out, pay attention to who RSVPs
  • Look out for it the night before
  • Triple check where you need to be the next day

Below is an example of a call sheet.

Shown below is a template of a call sheet done up by myself. I have done up this call sheet for the use of assessments such as ADHD also well as some other assessments we had during the class.