Some people groan when they hear those words. Others do a dance of excitement. But let’s face it… most groan. Production reports are notorious for being tedious to create. This frustration is compounded by the fact that after you create them, they are often given the stamp of approval and filed away — never to be looked at again. (unless something goes wrong.)
But wait! Here at SetHero, we’re on a mission to change this. We’ve built a really slick software tool for creating professional production reports and call sheets in just a few quick minutes. Check that out here. Okay, now onto the good stuff:
Why are production reports created?
Production reports are created for a variety of reasons, including for tracking work hours, safety records, union requirements, and tracking progress. While they are often considered optional on very small shoots, they are a requirement on larger projects.
What does a good production report look like?
Not all Production Reports look alike, nor should they. Exactly what is included on a report will vary based on the needs of the project. However, there is a generally standard layout most templates are based on.
Here is an image breaking down the structure of a production report produced by SetHero, a web-based software for creating call sheets and production reports. We’ll walk through each section in detail below:
1. Production Title
The name of your project and company. May include a logo as well.
2. Date and Days
The date (Monday, August 15, 2016) and the day number (Day 5 of 20)
3. Key people
This is usually where some of the key leaders of the production are listed, such as Producers and Directors.
4. Start and estimated finish dates
List the day you started production on, the scheduled finish date, and then the estimated finish date. This helps Producers see if you are behind schedule and, if so, by how much.
5. Script and schedule version
The current version of the script and schedule. This usually is based on the standard revision colors.
6. Key times for the day
This part is important. This is where you list the recorded times from the day, such as when lunch break was taken and when wrap was called. Remember, these are not the times listed on the schedule, they are the times of when each thing actually happened.
7. Scheduled vs Actual days
This section contains two sets of numbers: the number of days scheduled vs the number of days actually recorded so far. The number of actual days will start at 0 and you will add a day to this each day that goes by. This section is a detailed breakdown of the shoot progress and how on-track you are with your schedule.
8. Scenes shot
This section lists the scenes that were shot and a few details about them. This often will look similar to the scenes on the call sheet, however, it’s not always the same, depending on what you were able to actually shoot that day.
9. Scenes scheduled, but not shot
A list of the numbers/names of the scenes that were on the schedule, but were not shot that day.
10. Coverage / Rolls
This section is important: This is where you list how much coverage was taken and how many rolls were recorded. Tracking the number of scenes, pages & setups taken is something usually done by the script supervisor. The number of camera rolls and sound rolls should be tracked by their respective departments.
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11. Coverage / Sound notes
This section is for specific notes about the coverage taken that day. (Example: “We only shot the first half of scene 20b”) You can also list any sounds notes — in particular, be sure to note if wildtracks or roomtones were taken that day.
12. Cast schedules/time logs
Here you should list which cast members worked that day as well as key times from their day. Exactly what times you track here will depend on the level of the shoot you’re working on. On small projects, you might just need to track cast in and out times. For union shows, the time logging will be much more detailed, including in and out times for all meals. Sometimes this section will also indicate whether cast members had a Non-Deductable Breakfast, forced call, or overtime.
13. Extras / Stand-Ins
This is where you list the different groups of extras or standins that were called in that day. At a minimum, include the quantity of extras and a brief description. Also list what time they arrived, what time they ate (if any), and what time they were dismissed.
In order to make things “official”, Production Reports are often printed and signed off on by the heads of the project. On union shoots, a Production Report is actually a legally-binding document, so it’s important that it be officially approved with a signature. On smaller projects, this is optional.
1. Crew times
Just like a call sheet, the back of the production report lists all the crew members, grouped by department. In addition to each person’s name and position, this section should list everyone’s actual in and out times and their total duration worked. On larger shoots, production reports should also list all meal penalties or other adjustments for crew members.
2. Crew metrics
While this section is definitely optional, it’s really cool to include! It lists the totals of crew metrics for the day and shows how they compare to the averages for that shoot. This is useful for comparing a specific day to an “average” day on your shoot. If you’re using a software tool to create your report, these metrics will be automatically calculated.
3. Notes / Explanations
This is where you can put general notes about the day or further explain any information on the report. Try to write something here so that it doesn’t look like you forgot about it, even if it is simple like: “The day went according to schedule and no notable incidents occurred.”
How do I create a Production Report?
We searched high and low for a good software for building production reports but ultimately couldn’t find one. So we built one! That’s right; we built this slick online software for creating awesome production reports (and call sheets) in a fraction of the time that old Excel templates take. Plus they look amazing! (see the above production report). Check it out here:
Excel Template Download
While there are a lot of advantages to using online software to build your production reports, sometimes that’s just not an option. In that case, a solid Excel template is your next best bet. If that’s you, look no further because we have a free template for you right here!