Alan discusses the call sheet used by “Shock Nation”.
The production/filming phase of “Shock Nation” season 2 continued today. See here for my post of the previous shoot.
Today’s shoot had the usual collaboration among the actors, director, and director of photography, resulting in script changes during the shooting session itself, as well as making everyone aware of script changes derived prior to the shooting session. And the script supervisor (me!) had to document the changes. In this post, I will relate a story regarding the call sheet and a script change. But first, I will talk about the call sheet itself.
Shock Nation is a webseries about a girl growing up in the streets of Baltimore City and trying to find her way, as well as escape from living in poverty and being surrounded by a neighborhood of violence and drug addiction. She gets inspired by a dance group called Shock Nation that changes her perspective on life. This series will go through the life struggles of today’s young adults living in poverty, but through their friendship and strong bond, they realize that together they can achieve anything, thrive to keep chasing after their dreams, and survive any obstacle because their love for dance helps to save their life in ways they could never imagine. – From TruTalent Creative Works website
Watch all eight episodes of Season 1 here.
The Call Sheet
The purpose of the call sheet is to inform cast and crew about what is planned for a particular shooting day. At the highest level, it indicates which actors and crew are required at the shoot and what time each is expected on set (the call time); a list of scenes to be filmed; and the physical location(s) for the shoot.
There are many call sheet formats, all conveying the same information. This call sheet format (courtesy of Cast and Crew Call) is very close to the one we use on “Shock Nation”:
A clearer view can be seen at this link:
In this format, the shooting day is divided into SETs. Each Set is defined in a row of a table. For “Shock Nation”, a web series, each SET usually corresponds to one or more Episode number / Scene number combination(s). As the name implies, each Episode/Scene combination in a Set has a story “location” (sometimes called the locale) in common. Information for each Set includes but is not limited to: the characters appearing in the Set, a brief description of the action, the corresponding page numbers from the script, and the “location” in the story (e.g., Alan’s bedroom) (not the physical location in real life, shown elsewhere on the call sheet). The total number of pages covered in the shooting day across all Sets is stated.
There is another table where each actor is listed. Information includes the actor’s character’s name, call time, the Sets in which they appear, and any special instructions. Each actor is given a number.
Another table lists the crew members present for the shooting day, including the position (role) (e.g., director, 1st assistant director, set production assistant, director of photography, camera operator), and contact information.
The project name and the production company are indicated. There is space for Notes throughout the form. The physical location(s) is/are shown in one of those spaces. Other information includes crew call time, production notes, weather, sunrise/sunset, the nearest hospital, and meal information.
In all film and web series projects I have been a part of, I have always wanted to look at the entire script in advance – even those I would not be on-set for. Long before I procured the assignment as script supervisor on “Shock Nation”, I was aware that studying the entire script is very important. When I receive a call sheet in advance of the upcoming shoot, I pull the indicated script pages and study them again. When I received the call sheet for this shoot, I figured there must have been a script revision due to an unfamiliar actor/character and Set description on the call sheet. But that’s OK. Script revisions are commonplace. Among the myriad of responsibilities of a script supervisor, documenting script changes is very important. I worked with Kimia’ to capture the script change correctly. There were other script changes that were not evident from the call sheet, and those were also documented. A script change is not just dialog, but there could also be a change in the locale of a scene (e.g., instead of being in a living room, it could be changed to a kitchen).
Behind the Scenes Photography
Here are a bunch of photos from the session. All photos are from the author’s collection.
Being script supervisor has been my favorite crew role to date. I am currently reading a great book on the script supervisor (AKA continuity supervisor):
Pat P. Miller, Script Supervising and Film Continuity, Third Edition, 2013, Focal Press
I will continue to document the “Shock Nation” experience.
Please provide your thoughts and questions in the comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. If you have a topic in mind you would like me to cover, please let me know.
Originally published March 23, 2018. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.