While Danny and I were in Utah, we had an opportunity to sit down together and work through the shooting schedule that our Line Producer, Bryce Hudson, had created. Since Danny and I had now completed a Tech Scout of the Heritage House and Paria we were able to look at the schedule with fresh eyes. Being in the same room made it much easier to intertwine our thoughts on scenes, locations etc.
A schedule can be made with a variety of programs. I use Entertainment Partners Scheduling which can take a full script from Final Draft and automatically create breakdown sheets that then can be modified and broken down into strips. The other option is a producer can break down a script manually, which involves doing a page count of each scene. A page is broken down into 1/8s, so if a scene is half of a page it is 4/8 in scheduling terms. The 1/8s help a producer and director determine how long a scene will take to shoot. When breaking down a script manually, the breakdown sheet included a page count, which actors are in the scene, the location, the time (Day, Night, Morning, or Evening), wardrobe, hair and make up, special effects, props, and other things that are needed for that particular scene. Once all of the scenes are entered into individual breakdown sheets, the arranging must begin.
For A Monster in the Attic, I did not need to worry too much about scheduling around multiple actors as Caroline and Darrell are in almost every scene. What Danny and I were most concerned about was our locations and being efficient while in the desert of Paria and the Heritage House. We also tried to think of a weather plan, in case it looks like it was going to rain one day what or where could we shoot to make sure we could still make our days.
As a director, Danny could look at his individual scenes and discuss with me how he planned on shooting that scene and the time it might take him to accomplish the shots he wanted. So even though a scene might only be half of a page, it might take over a half a day to shoot depending on stunts, or the intensity of a performance that he was trying to achieve with child actors. On A Monster in the Attic we are going to shoot 20 days averaging about 4 pages a day. Each day we must make our days or we could risk going over-budget which is something that we efinitely cannot do.
Bryce did an amazing first pass at the schedule and Danny and I were able to fine tune each day now that we were aware of the complications of shooting in our particular locations.