When I first heard about a Day Out Of Days report (abbreviated as DOOD), I was quite confused. It was my first feature film. In the Production Office one day, the sound guy approached me and asked, “hey, have you ever made a DOOD before”. Of course, I was thinking he was talking about a “dude”, so needless to say, there were a couple of awkward glances between us before he explained what he meant. 😂
Blush all you want, but this DOOD’s got nothing to hide. Day Out Of Days reports are a little mysterious sounding, mostly because the name is so… odd. But today we’re gonna break down what a DOOD is, why you need one, and finally, how to make it. Let’s dive in.
What is a Day Out of Days Report?
In the simplest terms, a Day Out of Days report is the most “big picture” way of looking at the schedule requirements of a shoot. At first glance, it just looks like a spreadsheet with lots of columns and rows. Each column represents a day in the schedule and each row represents an actor. The intersection of these rows and columns forms a grid, a bit like a checkerboard. Within each cell of this grid is an abbreviation code that shows the work status of that person for that day.
Here’s a simplified look at the basic structure of a DOOD:
The actual structure of a DOOD is pretty simple: It’s just a grid. The trickiest part is knowing all the correct code abbreviations to put in the cells. The most common are S (Start), W (Work), and F (Finish). You can also combine these together to mean different things. For instance, SWF means “Start Work Finish” (or, in other words, this is the person’s first and last day of shooting) We’ve prepared a helpful cheat sheet of all the common Day Out Of Day work status codes, which you can check out here.
When it’s all together, a DOOD allows you to see the big picture of who is working or not on a particular day as well as what day(s) a particular actor is going to be called in or not.
I should also mention that DOODs are not just for breaking down cast schedules; you can also create a DOOD report for any element type, such as costumes or extras. For instance, it’s very useful for the wardrobe department to be able to see every day a certain costume is needed, including its first day and its last day, so they can know when they need to have it ready by and when they can wrap it. Most commonly, however, DOODs are used to breakdown the schedules for the named cast members on your show.
Why do I need one?
On any shoot longer than a day or two, a Day out of Days report becomes increasingly necessary. If you are working on a feature film, you will absolutely need to create a DOOD. If you think about it, this makes sense. In life, we all want to know our “work” schedules so we can plan ahead. Actors are no different. Having a DOOD allows you to have one simple document that you can send to all cast that gives them the basic info they need to know to plan their schedules. Plus it saves you from having to answer dozens of emails separately. Just create a DOOD, send it out to all the cast, and you’re done.
How do I make it?
Most people make Day Out Of Days either in Excel (or an equivalent program) or else generate one from the scheduling software they are using (for instance, Movie Magic). Because a DOOD is essentially just a grid of columns and rows, it is very simple to make and manage in Excel.
In fact, we’ve decided to share with you our custom Day Out Of Days template that we use in-house. It’s simple, easy to use, and nice to look at. To download it, just fill submit the form below or click here to see a preview of the template.
Wrapping it up
I’ve come to view all production breakdowns and documents as tools. Just like saws and hammers and wrenches, each document has its own special ability that it possesses that none of the other documents can match. If that’s the case, the DOOD is an essential tool to have in the tool belt. It’s able to give a 10,000 foot, big-picture view of when elements are needed on your shoot in a very concise and easy to read way, making it possibly the single most useful document for planning logistics like housing, rentals, travel plans, etc.