Why a film schedule is so difficult

I don’t envy the First AD (Assistant Director). He or she has a difficult job already with keeping the film flowing and moving forward. But prior to the shooting, they also have a difficult job, which is creating the film schedule. In this blog article, we’ll discuss why it’s so difficult!


The Reason a Film Schedule is Difficult

There are several factors that make scheduling a film similar to figuring out a Rubix Cube.

  1. Which days do you have access to the locations? Maybe you’re shooting in a restaurant, and you have to shoot on a day that the restaurant isn’t open?
  2. Which days are the actors available? Let’s put out a round number and say you’re shooting for 30 days. If you’re casting name stars, you don’t have access to them the entire time! This is especially true if you’re shooting at a remote location. So for the stars, you may only have access to them for a limited time, sometimes just a few days. So you need to make sure you schedule their scenes when you have them.
  3. What’s the weather like? If you’re shooting exteriors, you have to worry about this.
  4. Are you shooting day or night? Or Day for night? (meaning you’re shooting during the day but making it look like night.) – and this also ties into #1 where you might have access to a restaurant during the day, but not at night. So how can you cover the windows if you need to make it look like night?
  5. How many pages are you shooting? Indie films average maybe 7 pages a day. That’s a lot more than studios do! But maybe you’re in a location for 10-12 pages. So you have to split it over 2 days!

And, if you can believe it, these are just some of the problems! Check out this video:

Figuring out a schedule for your film is a very tough job. But it’s also what makes a film great.

Check out the filmmaker roadmap for tips on navigating your film.

Photo of author


Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.