When it comes to making a schedule for your project, be it a short film, music video, feature film or web series, I will always recommend using Movie Magic Scheduling, you can get your copy on amazon. Created by Entertainment Partners, it’s a fantastic piece of software for the AD department.
The great thing about MMS is that it allows you to simply input all of the elements of your script and creates a shooting schedule, breakdown sheets, day out of days, cast breakdowns and more.
MMS will help you breakdown your script into the smallest of details. Some work is required on your part before you actually get stuck into the software, you need to run through your script a couple of times and highlight all of the important information that will need to be considered.
It is always good to have a 2nd set of eyes go over your work in case you miss any important elements. You will want to highlight all of the characters, props, vehicles, sound effects, locations, visual effects, extras, stunts, wardrobe, makeup, special equipment, set dressing and anything else that will need to be considered on your shoot days.
Once you have thoroughly gone through your script it is time to open MMS. The first thing that you want to do is create a breakdown sheet for each scene.
The amount of breakdown sheets will differ for every script you do. When doing a feature film you will more than likely have a large amount of breakdown sheets to create, make sure to pay close attention to detail.
Under the BREAKDOWN heading you will want to select ELEMENT QUICK ENTRY, here you can add things like characters, props, locations etc.
Once you have added all of the elements into the breakdown sheets select STRIPBOARD under the SCHEDULE heading,
this will bring up a multi colored document, each colored strip representing a scene. You can move the strips around to change the shooting order and add day breaks for shoots that go longer than a single day.
Under the DESIGN heading you can select REPORT LAYOUTS,
here you can have all of the information that you have already added put into printable BREAKDOWN SHEETS. These sheets can be given to each department as they breakdown the individual requirements for the crew.
Movie Magic Scheduling offers many scheduling options; I have named just a few of the elements that it has to offer. I recommend downloading the 5 day demo from the Entertainment Partners website and playing around with it to see if it is the right fit for you. It makes scheduling easy and creates clear and concise documents that you can send out to your crew.
Unfortunately MMS is not free software and can be quite costly. If you have the money and are serious about working in production then I say it is the best option for you.
For those of you who can’t afford this software I recommend that you download the 5-day demo and create your own documents emulating MMS in whichever word document program that you use. Go through the program and find the documents most useful to you and try creating your own versions. If you have any ideas or suggestions for creating useful scheduling documents please share in the comments section.