Breaking Down the Shooting Schedule
The key to scheduling is reducing each scene in the script down to its essential production requirements. Every scene that has a specific location should be shot while the cast, crew, and equipment are assembled at that location. It doesn't matter if you're at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or the highest level of a parking garage at the local library. Creating strip boards is essential to determine the number of scenes in the script, where they will be shot, and how long it should take to shoot them.
When it comes to creating the daily shooting schedule, what matters most isn't the page count, it's the camera setups. Most of your crew's production time will be spent moving cameras and lighting equipment.
The art of scheduling is staying several steps ahead of potential problems, and accurately estimating the number of shoot days. As a filmmaker, you should be able to estimate the number of shoot days that your production requires. For executives, cast, and crew members who have signed on at a predetermined fee for the length of the production, the specific number of days may not be a major concern. But for every cast and crew member who is hired on an hourly or daily basis, shoot days are critical to determining your budget. The cost of equipment rentals, such as cameras, lighting gear, and special props, will also dictate the number of days you can afford to film. When it comes to shoot days, the fewer days it takes to wrap up the shooting schedule, the more money you'll have to spread over your entire production.