Working with cast scheduling

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Working with cast scheduling

Dramatify offers cast scheduling from individual availability integrated with scene scheduling, visual overview and Day out of Days schedule to the daily cast schedule with cast calls, transport, makeup, wardrobe and rehearsals. Here is how it works!

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to add individual cast availability 
  • How cast availability integrates with scene scheduling.
  • How to use the cast schedule overview / Day out of Day (DooD) view
  • How to confirm a cast member’s booking in Dramatify
  • How the daily cast scheduling works and integrates with call sheets, time sheets, automatic catering lists and daily production reports.

 

1. Where do I add cast availability?

To add availability to a cast member, you must first have added that person to your production in Dramatify. Learn how in Adding and Administering Team Members.

To add availability, click on People and then on Cast.

Find Dramatify's cast list

 

Select the cast member you want to add availability to, click on the menu icon and select “Availability”.

Adding availability to a cast member

1.1 How to add cast availability

Adding availability

Start with clicking on Add availability.

Add cast availability

 

In the calendar, you add the start date and the finish date. You can add a single day (meaning you add the same start and finish date) or a number of days in one go. Just save between each post, and you can add as many days as you need. Each day will be presented as it’s own list post, meaning you can edit and change dates, times and notes whenever you need.

If you need to add a specific time that the cast member is available during a day, click Only available from / to specific times of the day. Note that if you add specific times, scene scheduling will warn you that a cast member is unavailable if a scene is planned to be shot when the cast member is unavailable, even if that is just 10 minutes at the end of the shoot. However, you can still schedule the cast member.

Add cast availability date and time

 

The difference between availability and confirmed booking

The difference between availability and a confirmed booking is that usually the production works with scene scheduling and takes the days cast members are available into consideration. Often cast members may be available a longer period than is needed. When the production scheduling is firmer, the production calls the agent or cast member and confirms which specific days the cast member is booked. That’s when you click Confirm booking.

In some cases, either with entertainment or stars / VIPs, scheduling must start with which days certain cast members are confirmed because they are generally hard to get and have few available days. In those cases, you can skip adding availability and confirm the booking directly.

1.2 How to see cast availability for a specific cast member

If you go through the steps described above and click Save availability or Confirm booking, you will be presented with a list of available dates. The same list will be presented if a cast member already has available dates recorded when you look at their availability. If you want to Confirm a booking you can simply click on it to confirm.

Availability list

2. Cast availability in scene scheduling

First, go to scene scheduling by clicking on Planning, and then on Scheduling. At the top (circled in green) you can turn availability warnings on and off. If you do preliminary scheduling and have not yet added any cast availability, you may want to turn it off.
 
Cast availability in scene scheduling  
 
Dramatify’s scene scheduling will warn you when there are conflicts by adding a small warning icon.
 
Cast availability warning
 
The conflicts may range from a character that has no cast member assigned, a cast member with no added availability or that they are not available, or that they are already scheduled to shoot with another team in the production. Note that Dramatify only warns about conflicts or no availability. It does not stop you from scheduling.
 
Cast availability details

3. Cast schedule overview and Day out of Days (DooD)

To find Cast schedule overview and Day out of Days (DooD) – in Dramatify combined into one comprehensive view – go to Cast & Characters and click on Schedule.

This is a combination view that shows availability, status, potential conflicts and Day out of Day information. You can limit the days in the view as well as filter and only show certain character types, for instance, main characters or extras. If you’d rather sort the list on cast names, just click in the box for cast and it happens automatically.

Cast schedule & DooD

 

What the different icons and colours in the Cast schedule mean

This is an overview of all cast members’ working days. The icons and colours are explained below. Only work days that have a set date are listed on this page.

The colours

Grey is for available    Available to work, but no scenes or activities are scheduled. Great! Start scheduling!

Orange is for confirmed but nothing scheduled    Confirmed to work, but no scenes or activities are scheduled. Start scheduling!

Availabile and scheduled but not confirmed    Scheduled for shooting or activities, and available to work, but no booking has been confirmed. Call to confirm!

Red is for Scheduled but no availability    Scheduled for shooting or activities but no availability has been added. Warning! Is the cast member really available?

Green is for all is well!    Scheduled for shooting or activities and has a confirmed booking. All is well!

The icons

Scheduled to shoot    Shooting one or more scenes.

Scheduled for reheasals, makeup etc.    Has scheduled activities; Hair and/or Makeup, Wardrobe, Rehearsal or Call time.

Scheduled for a full day    Available/Booked all day.

Available/Booked part of the day. Available/Booked part of the day. See Booking for each cast member for details.

The DooD Abbreviations

SWStart Work The first production day that the cast member is scheduled to work.

W – Workday Cast member is scheduled to work

WF – Work Finished The last day that the cast member is scheduled to work

SWF – Start Work & Work Finished The only day that the cast member is scheduled to work

4. How to confirm a cast member's schedule

When your schedule is finished enough that you want to confirm a cast member’s booking, you can navigate in two different ways:

  1. From the Cast schedule described in the section above, click on the link underneath the cast member’s name Availability/Booking.
  2. Click on People, then on Cast and find the cast member’s profile card. Click on the menu icon and select Availability.

Confirm cast member

 
Click on the date or dates which you have confirmed with the cast member or their agent. If you need to add a note, click on the edit (pen) icon and write a note.

5. Where do I find the Daily Cast Scheduler?

You’ll find the Daily Cast Scheduler under the Cast & Character section in the sidebar menu. Then click on Daily.

5.1 Smartest way of working

There are two ways you can work smarter:

1) Click on the Hide Menu icon in the upper right corner to expand the Daily Cast Schedule to the maximum width of your screen.

Hide menu

 

2) Since Dramatify lives in your browser, the smartest way of working is to have the Daily Cast Scheduler in one browser tab, and the scene schedule or call sheet edit form in another. That way you will work smarter, and don’t have to constantly save and navigate to another page while looking up information for your cast schedule.

5.2 Who appears in the daily schedule?

The cast list in the daily cast scheduler consists of two main sections, those who are scheduled to shoot that day, and those who are not.

By default, the list only shows cast members who are shooting the selected day. You can show all cast members by clicking on, and thus turning off, Show only shooting.
 
Daily Cast Schedule - Show only shooting days

Who is added to the list of “shooting today”.

Dramatify automatically adds shooting cast based on three factors:

  1. Is the character added to the scene in the Breakdown?
  2. Has the character been linked to a cast member on the character’s page?
  3. Is the scene scheduled to be shot that day in the Scene scheduling?

If a cast member isn’t showing up on a day when he or she should, go back and check these three factors. Note that for non-fiction productions, the process works the same, but you add the cast member’s real name as Character name.

A note on atmosphere cast

Note that atmosphere cast is NOT handled in the scheduler and do NOT appear under cast calls in the call sheet. If you want these cast members to appear in the scene scheduling, in the call sheets and in the timesheets, make them Extras instead of an Atmosphere group.

5.3 What can I schedule with the Daily Cast Scheduler?

The Daily Cast Scheduler contains a number of scheduling options:

  • Cast call
  • Transport to location, either the cast member’s own transport or transport organised by the production.
  • Make-up, F/X make-up and hair
  • Wardrobe
  • Cast dismissal
  • Rehearsal
  • Transport from location
  • Notes

Scroll sideways to see them all!

Show and hide sections

At the top, you can select which sections should be shown, and which you want to hide, for easier scheduling and overview.

Schedule per cast member, or for most – or all – cast

In the top of each column, you can click on the edit (pen) icon and choose to set the same value for all scheduled cast members. Note that this will only affect cast members that are shooting that day.  If you want to set different values for certain individual cast members, you can edit them separately.

Daily Cast Schedule - ShowHide

Use the controls in the top to select the day, time format and to turn off columns for easier scheduling.

5.4 Cast calls

The Cast call sets when a cast member should be present on set to start working. The cast call not only shows up in the call sheet but is also integrated into Timesheets. You can set individual times for each cast member. To set the same cast call time for all cast members, click the edit icon at the top of the column. Bulk add daily cast scheduling information Set scheduling option for all cast.

5.5 Transport to and from location

To only schedule transport, turn off all other sections at the top of the scheduling section.

The “Transport to location” and “Transport from location” have two main settings:

  • The cast member gets there by themselves – check “Own transport”.
  • The cast member’s transport is organised by the production, fill out all other fields in this section.

To add the same value to all or any of the different information fields, click the edit icon on top of each column.

A note on locations

The selected list of locations is automatically added depending on the shooting locations and unit bases linked to the scenes being shot that day. If you do not get the correct locations, check the Setlist to see:

  1. Are the scenes being shot that day linked to the correct sets?  If not, correct in Breakdown.
  2. Are the sets linked to the correct locations and unit bases? If not, correct the set’s settings (for locations) and the location’s settings (for unit base).

A note on drivers 

The driver list has designated drivers on top, then the rest of the team. If you instead use a company; cabs, limousines, bus, boats, airlines etc; you can add the company as a team member with contact information, and link the company as a driver. If you want to inform a cast member of the name of a specific driver for that company, you can to that in the Notes at the far right of the scheduler.

Cast members not going to or from location

To add transport for cast members going to and from other places than location, add them straight into the call sheet under the “Transport” heading. The same goes for any other kind of transport, including couriers and production transports of scene items and equipment.

Go to Planning > Days and click on the call sheet to which you want to add the transport order. Below the Shooting Schedule you’ll find Transport. Just click on the blue button “Add Transport”.

5.6 Make-up & Hair

To only schedule make-up & hair, turn off all other sections at the top of the page.

Simply add the time and select the make-up artist or hair stylist you want to schedule for the cast member. To add the same for all cast members, click the edit icons on top of the columns. If a make-up artist or hair stylist isn’t in the select list, it’s because:

  • They have not been added to Dramatify as team members
  • They have been added to the wrong department. All members of the Make-up & Hair department will show up in the lists.
5.7 Wardrobe

To only schedule wardrobe, turn off all other sections at the top of the page.

Simply add the time and select the wardrobe person you want to schedule for the cast member. To add the same for all cast members, click the edit icons on top of the columns. If a wardrobe team member isn’t in the select list, it’s because:

  • They have not been added to Dramatify as team members
  • They have been added to the wrong department. All members of the Wardrobe department will show up in the list.
5.8 Rehearsals - for both shooting and non-shooting cast

To only schedule rehearsals, turn off all other sections at the top of the page.

Rehearsals are one of the reasons non-shooting cast members have been added at the bottom of the cast list. You might want to schedule rehearsals with cast that is not shooting that day – and you can!

Rehearsing the current day’s scenes

Dramatify automatically adds the scenes that are to be shot the selected day you are scheduling for per cast member, and will automatically update if you change the scene scheduling (Planning > Scheduling).

  • If you want the current day’s scenes to be rehearsed that day, just add time.
  • If you want to change the scenes rehearsed, just add which scenes to be rehearsed instead.
  • If you want the same scenes to be rehearsed for everybody. click the edit icon on top of the column and add the scenes you want to rehearse.
5.9 Cast dismissals

To schedule cast dismissal, just add the time for all cast at the top of the column, or add individual times.

Note that just like cast calls, cast dismissal time not only shows up in the call sheet but is also integrated into Timesheets

5.10 Notes

Any notes you add to a cast member’s schedule (in the last column) will show up in that person’s cast call in the call sheet.

5.11 Scheduling non-shooting cast members for rehearsals, fittings etc.

There are all sorts of reasons, you might want to schedule non-shooting cast; rehearsals, fittings, test makeup and meetings. You can schedule them the same way as any shooting cast member. There are two differences:

  1. You schedule them on an individual basis. The settings for all shooting cast at the top of each column, do not affect non-shooting cast.
  2. You MUST add a team for them to show up in the call sheet. 

Top image by Sean MacEntee / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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