Why A Solid Production Schedule Is Priceless

COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 8: PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

‘A writer needs a pen, an artist needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army.’ – Orson Welles

Orson Welles said it best (and did a lot of it best too!); a filmmaker does need an army.

I’m not sure whether that makes the Producer or the Director the General, I think it’s best to let them battle that one out between themselves, but what it does mean is that someone has to organise this army – an efficient and dependable corps of Officers who strategise and plot, deploying troops and supplies when and where they are needed!

Apologies, my movie imagination getting the best of the me again… but if that doesn’t make you want work in a film crew, I don’t know what will!


COSMOS Production Schedule


One of the highest ranking members of any film production is the Production Manager. Their job is to decide the most efficient and economical way of scheduling the film on behalf of the Producer. These dedicated and reliable individuals have many responsibilities, but one of these is the creation of the Production Schedule.

Now this may not seem like a hot-topic for a blog, but good planning is the key to a smooth and successful film production.

If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!


Last time we talked about creating the Script Stripboards and Script Breakdown. Well this next step in creating the Production Schedule is where all that hard work pays off. The Production Schedule can come in several shapes and forms depending on the preference of the production but whatever the layout, it’s function is the same – it’s the master plan for how the film will be produced, and how the budget will be spent across that production period at every single stage of the filmmaking process.

The key factors that a Production Schedule accounts for are:

  1. Actors

  2. Extras / Background Talent

  3. Special Effects

  4. Special Equipment

  5. Stunts

  6. Props

  7. Make-up/Hair

  8. Wardrobe

  9. Vehicles / Animals

  10. Sound Effects / Music

  11. Production Notes

We’ve drawn our Production Schedule up into a spreadsheet using the information complied in the Script Breakdown sheets. By cross-referencing this schedule and the Stripboards, we’ve created an accurate Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production Schedule.


This is a long and precision task; a small mistake can result in major budgetary, equipment and personnel shortages (or wastage!) much further down the production line. The Production Schedule for COSMOS was relatively simple compared to others we’ve produced, but it still took the best part of a week to plot and type up.

But now it’s done and hangs proudly on the wall in the Production Office, informing all future production decisions and guiding us through the choppy waters of the shoot… hopefully!

Once again, please enjoy this short video showing how we drew up a similar Production Schedule for ENCOUNTER.


Next time, we’re STORYBOARDING

Zand & Ell


Thanks as always,

Elliot Weaver Director @CosmosMovie

#filmproduction #scheduling #filmmaking #lineproducer #producing #howtomakeamovie #productionschedule

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