Why A Solid Production Schedule Is Priceless

COSMOS Banner 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

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:

  • Actors
  • Extras / Background Talent
  • Special Effects
  • Special Equipment
  • Stunts
  • Props
  • Make-up/Hair
  • Wardrobe
  • Vehicles / Animals
  • Sound Effects / Music
  • 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.

Movie MagicThere’s a wide selection of scheduling software on the market that can assist you in producing your film, such as Movie Magic and Gorilla.

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

Zand & Ell

Thanks as always,

Elliot Weaver
Director @CosmosMovie



Leave a comment


  1. The Cinefile

     /  May 5, 2014

    Oh man. I worked as a producer on a friend’s film for a bit and he refused to prepare at all. Long story short, he finished shooting it, then after over a year of “editing” determined it wasn’t worth it to finish it. Only in hindsight did he realize that planning was a necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, how frustrating! So the film never got completed? What was it about?


      • The Cinefile

         /  May 6, 2014

        No, it never got completed. All of (most of?) the footage was shot, but after his method of putting scenes together (supposedly spending hours trying to fix a moving sun that caused blown-out highlights) he decided that the project just wasn’t worth finishing. I can’t imagine how big of a blow it must’ve been for the actors that gave up two weeks of their lives.

        Here’s the thing: to this day I still don’t know what it’s about. And I read the script. It was about this girl who is bored with her life and meets these guys who are like paranormal investigators or something. There’s a Chinese Fox Spirit in there too, but any menace from her is gone after a few pages. All the project really amounted to, I’m told, was a bunch of scenes of people sitting/standing around just talking. And there was a bad joke that spanned a full page of the script.

        I could go on about it, but the whole riveting tale will be an article in the near future.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gosh, it sounds like quite an ordeal! What a shame; it’s never nice to hear about projects that failed to get finished… but hopefully he learnt something from it! Are you planning on writing a specific blog about that experience? If so, let us know when it’s out, I’d love to hear more.
        Thanks again for your support, means a lot to us 🙂


      • The Cinefile

         /  May 8, 2014

        I’m hoping he learned from it. A cut together sequence he showed me was pretty awkward; cutting between a wide and close-up shot for a dialogue scene. I asked if he had shot close-up footage of the other character, to which he replied, no. That was when I told him that this was where shotlists would’ve come in handy, to which he begrudgingly shook his head.

        And yes, I am absolutely planning on writing a post about the experience. (Novel-length, most likely) I’ll be sure to let you know when I put it up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I guess you live and you learn, frustrating for you thought :S – I’m following your blog, so hopefully I’ll see your epic tale as and when it arrives 🙂


      • The Cinefile

         /  May 23, 2014

        Fantastic. Thanks for the follow! I really appreciate that!


  1. The Script Breakdown & Stripboard | Reel Deal Film School

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