Planning and scheduling your TV or film production
Dramatify’s new planning suite gives you a variety of tools to plan your production, including drag’n’drop planning, calendar views, call sheet overviews and more. Here is how to use it!
Scheduling in Dramatify can either be done natively, as described below, or through the Movie Magic Scheduling import.
Before you start: Production periods, teams & episodes
Configuring the production
Setting production periods
When you first start a new production, you set the production periods. The production periods inform your team when pre-production, production and post-production starts and ends, as well as display in what stage the production is in on the Today page.
If you use episodes, you first set the overall production period of the entire production, then on each episode. This makes it easier to navigate episodes, especially if you produce a large number of episodes.
Editing production periods
Since production dates often change as planning progresses, you can easily edit production periods by accessing the Production nav tab, clicking on the orange Admin tool icon and then on the Edit menu to the right in the toolbar.
Scrolling down the page you find the Production schedule and can adjust the periods if needed.
Adding teams and episodes
On the same page: Production > Edit you also can activate the functionality for multiple teams and multiple episodes. You must have at least one team. You can add another team at any time during production, if you should need a 2nd Unit for example.
Before you start: Breakdown
To successfully work with scheduling, you need to at least have done the a core breakdown of your script. That means that scenes have the correct strip board colours in the scene list, because you have added sets, time of day and optionally also estimated segment and production time to scenes. Adding characters also makes scheduling easier.
See an overview of the strip board colours at “Starting scheduling” section below.
STEP 1: The overview page
The overview page
To start scheduling, you click on Planning in the side bar menu. The over view page is blank since you haven’t started planning or scheduling yet, but will soon start filling up with your production days and teams. You can start planning in two ways:
- Create a rough production plan of prepping, travelling and shooting on the overview page, or…
- Go straight to the scheduling and start scheduling your script and shoot
On the overview page, you will get an overview of your production and – later – access to all call sheets, published and unpublished, as well as an overview of which call sheets are published or not.
An overview page can look something like this:
STEP 2: A rough production plan
Create a rough plan
First, if you’d like to create a very rough plan of prep days, travel days and shooting days – with or without dates – you can do that on the overview page by going to the edit menu in the toolbar and clicking “Add a new production day”. You add the production day number and, if you’d like, the date. You can also add dates later.
STEP 3: Call sheet types
Call sheet types
Click on each team to assign what they should be doing that day; prepping, travelling or shooting. There are also the alternatives of holiday and other if you need. You can – if you want – add a title. If you don’t add a title, it will only state the activity; shooting day, transport, preparation, holiday or other.
Now you haven’t only started on a rough production plan, you have also added call sheets to each team.
The different call sheet types makes it possible for you to create a team that only deals with set construction for instance. They get their own call sheet of when and where they should be and what they should be doing. The call sheets for other tasks than shooting, are simplified call sheets, and we tell you more about those in the FAQ for call sheets.
STEP4: Adding standard working hours
To set standard working hours click on Settings in the toolbar. Note that we use “international 24h time” , i.e. not 8 am but 08:00 or 8:00, and not 3 pm but 15:00.
(start of the day)
(end of the day)
STEP 5: Start scheduling
In the Planning section, click on Scheduling in the toolbar to begin scheduling. The first thing you might want to do is to create more space by hiding the sidebar menu. Click on hide menu in the upper right corner.
The left hand column show all your unplanned scenes. The background colours corresponds to standard strip board colours. It’s completely linked with your script so it’s impossible to miss a scene. When this column is empty, you know that you have added all scenes and missed none. If a scene should be added after you have scheduled your shoot, it will show up here in the left hand column.
The strip board colours are as follows:
If a scene have a slightly striped slug background, it means that the scene isn’t properly broken down with set and time of day. If it seems like you have added both set and time of day and the slug background is still striped, that is because you have not indicated on the set if it’s an interior or exterior set. Go to the set list, find the set and fix that.
STEP 6: Adding a production day and/or team
Adding a production day and/or team
To the right of the left hand column, you can now add columns for shooting days and teams. Simply click on + Production Day.
You will then be asked to add the number of the production day you want to add, as well as which team you want to plan for. Optionally, you can also set other working hours than the standard production working hours for this day. If you instead choose to do this later, just click the edit icon at the top of the production day column.
Should you by any chance have made a mistake, you can easily change day number or team by clicking on the edit icon at the top of the production day column, or delete it entirely by clicking on the trash can.
STEP 7: Use the drag’n’drop planning tool
Use the drag’n’drop planning tool
Adding scenes to production days
To plan, you simply take hold of a scene with your mouse (or finger on a tablet) and place it on the day you want it. You reorder scene and event banners in the same way within a column as well as move scenes and event banners between production days and teams.
STEP 8: Remove a scene
Remove a scene
To remove a scene from planning, simply just click on the scene card menu, and choose “remove”. This will move the scene back to the scene list at the left-hand side, not delete it or remove it from the scheduling entirely.
STEP 9: Split a scene
Split a scene
You can split a scene as many times you need. For some productions, you just might want to split it to place a banner with lunch in the middle (more on banners below), in other cases a scene might need to be shot over several working days, or you might want to split the same scene on several teams. We increasingly see scenes that are created both by live action shooting and special effects teams.
To split a scene, you click the scene card edit menu icon and choose split. You can now split the scene as well as add notes.
A little heads up on split times: these are added together, so if the estimated segment time for the scene is 30 seconds the combined estimated segment time for the split scenes should also be 30 seconds; i.e 15 seconds each or however you want to split it.
If you’d like to split the scene three or more times, you just repeat the split on one of the scene parts.
When you have splitted your scene, just drag and drop the part where you like it, just like any other scene.
STEP 10: Unsplit a scene
Unsplit a scene
To unsplit a split scene, choose the menu icon again, and “unsplit”.
NOTE! The entire scene and its parts will now remove itself from the production day(s) where you have placed it and revert to the top of the left-hand scene column. To add it back into planning, just drag and drop it where you want it.
STEP 11: Adding flags
To aid your planning, you can add a flag on top of each column. It might be to help you remember the shooting area, that a specific actor is available that day or that you have booked a helicopter. You can only have one flag per column, but you can write several items and multiple lines in each. The flag will be visible in the drag’n’drop planning view as well as in the calendar view. It will also be the call sheet title.
You can change the flags as you proceed in your planning.
STEP 12: Adding banners
Banners are any non-scene event during a shoot, i.e. unit call, rehearsals, transports, breaks etc. If you add a time to the banner, Dramatify’s auto-calculator will add the time to the total production time at the end of each day column. To move a banner, just drag and drop it, just like a scene! You can also move a banner between scenes.
Banners are automatically added to call sheets along with scenes for each day and team.
STEP 13: Estimate working hours and finished material
Estimated working hours and finished material
If you have set standard working hours and production time on scenes during breakdown, Dramatify will automatically calculate estimated working/production time at the end of each column (PT), as well as estimate how many minutes finished material you will produce (ST). Any time that you set on banners for non-scene events will also be added to the working hours.
STEP 14: Using filters
Dramatify’s scheduling have two filters to make scheduling easier.
TEAMS: First, you can filter on teams above the schedule, and hide or show teams.
SCENE DETAILS: Secondly,at the top of the scene list, you can filter on interior or exterior shoots, time of day, sets or characters, as well as season and episode if you use that.
Just click clear to return to the non-filtered scene list.
STEP 15A: Adding dates with the calendar
Adding dates to shooting days using the calendar
There are several ways of adding dates to your shooting days.
USE THE CALENDAR: Click on Calendar in the orange toolbar . In the form at the top, simply select the production day and add the date it should be shot. You can then use drag’n’drop on desktop move production days around or click and change the date on any device.
STEP 15B: Adding dates on the overview page
STEP 15C: Adding dates in one sequence
Adding dates to shooting days in one sequence
If you want to add all production days in a sequence, click on the Edit menu in the right hand corner of the toolbar, and select Re-number days.
Check the check box and, in the part that slides out, add the date when you want the production to start. Dramatify adds dates to all you productions days, Monday to Friday, unless you check that you also want Saturdays and Sundays to be included.
STEP 16: Insert a new production day
Insert a new production day
If you need to insert a new production day between two existing ones and want the following days moved forward,
click on Add new production day in the Edit menu in the toolbar.
In the form, select either “Add and insert a new production day, and re-number all the following production days” or
“Add and insert a new production day, and re-number all following days until there is a gap“. The latter allows you to change just a part of your schedule if you for instance have different production periods.
Dramatify will now recalculate and move all following production days.
STEP 17: Swap production days
Swap production days
Sometimes you need to swap two existing production days, shift a day to a new date or move a day to a new date and adjust all the following days.
Just click on the production day edit menu, and select “Swap this production day with another“. Add the day you want to swap the day with and click OK.
This means that Production day 2 and Production 10 can swap places, but everything else is as before.
STEP 18: Move and insert this production day
Move and insert this production day
If you need to move a production day in between two existing ones, but keep everything else in the sale order as before, click on the production day edit menu, and select “Move and insert this production day, adjusting following days“. If you want to move day 10 to in between day 1 and day 2, you add day 2 in as the production day in the box.
Dramatify then moves it between day 1 and 2 and renames it to day 2, while renaming the former day 2 to day 3 as well as renumbering all following day and dates.
STEP 20: Moving an entire production in time
Moving an entire production in time
If your entire planned production got held up, and is moved – forward or backward – there is a simple way of moving it, provided that the production days are in sequence, i.e. not a weekly show.
Click on the edit menu in the toolbar and select Re-number days. In the popup, check the check box and
enter the date you want the production to begin on. Please note, that if you have production days out of order, say day 7 is before day 5, this will be adjusted into order as well.
STEP 21: Delete a production day
Delete a production day
To delete a production day, just go to the Production day menu and click on “Delete”.
However, if you have call sheets added to your production day, i.e one or more teams have a coloured background, you must first delete the call sheets. You do that by clicking on the call sheet, and then on the call sheet editing page, click on the page edit menu in the right hand side of the toolbar and select “Delete call sheet”. When all call sheets are removed from a day, and only the blue links with standard team names are left, you can delete the production day.
STEP 22: The Day Out Of Days Report
The Day Out Of Days Report
You’ll find the The Day Out Of Days Report for cast by clicking on Reports in the orange toolbar in the Planning section.
If you want to use it as a side-by-side planning tool as you schedule, you can open it as a second tab in your browser and update it as you schedule by clicking on Refresh in the toolbar edit menu.
Top image by Maria Morri / Flickr (CC BY SA)