How to read a call sheet!

So in this article I am going to explain some basics on how to read a call sheet. The following are things to look at on the sheet

1. You want to look at the time on the callsheet. It is located in the middle of the sheet and it is the biggest Font on the call sheet. That is the time that you are to report to work, hence the title callsheet. This sheet is usually given the day or night before each day of work.

2. It also has the name of the production you are working on. This can be helpful to know as there are signs posted on the road to find the location to the set usually (but not always) with the production’s name.

3. The next thing to look at is the list of scenes that you will be shooting that day. Next to it is usually the page count listed in 8ths on the right of each scene, then you will find the total page count listed to shoot at the bottom of this section. This section will also have a list of which day in the script the scene falls on, shown as D1 D2 and N1. Just prior to each scene is usually int or ext., which means interior or exterior respectively, and then the location of the scene. As well as a line that is called a slug line or oneliner which describes the scene.

4. Another thing to look at is the cast list and all the actors that will be working and their call times.

5. Under the cast list is the list of props that are needed for the day.

6. At the top of the page usually to the left is a list of the producers and director as well as the ADs and a number to call if you have questions or get lost.

7. On the back of the call sheet is a list of the crew working that day and their different departments. This way you can refer to the crew by their names if you forget them and also sometimes it has individual call times. You may want to check your name and call time.
There are other things on the call sheet but this is a brief overview to get you started.

Melanie Littlewood

Melanie is a hair and makeup artist working in various fields including film, TV and print media. Her training comes from modeling and cosmetology spanning over multiple decades. Her curiosity in creating images behind the camera led to several positions as Assistant or Key Hair and Makeup Artist for various film and print projects. Memberships and awards include the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 495, then Local 122, the California Board of Cosmetology, and a 2012 nominee for Best Hair Salon by San Diego Alist.

An ongoing education in the nursing industry provide her the latest techniques to support persons with ailments and surgeries requiring specialized needs. Melanie believes her extensive knowledge of the beauty industry helps everyone she works with have their best look on their perfect day. She works with housewives and movie stars alike.

Although she started in modeling Melanie always knew she wanted to be behind the scenes. She explains that it is difficult to break into film because of steep competition, and thus was one of the biggest challenges. Eventually people started asking for her due to her active role in keeping her name out there. Melanie loves weddings and considers it a “special honor” to work with brides and their families. Inspiration comes from multiple people and things for Melanie. She says that talented people are everywhere; people who inspire her include Joe Blasco and Billy B.; these makeup artists inspired her when she began and still do today.

A favorite book, The Seven Spiritual Laws, by Deepak Chopra gives her more inspiration with quotes such as one of her favorites – “calm your mind like a pond and don’t let anyone throw any rocks in”. This is one virtue she lives by now to keep herself centered and on track. Like her inspirations, her music is a wide range with a bow towards heavy metal or rock bands such as Metallica. On this topic she finds inspiration from working with Dave Mustaine who inspired her through his music.

One of the biggest challenges she sees in her field is that too many makeup artists in the industry work with bad sterilization techniques. This prompted Melanie to create the “Go 2 Brush”. Melanie says that artists can clean the brush with 99% alcohol, then sanitize, sterilize and be done in one wipe; thus allowing the makeup artist to move on to the next client.

Melanie works in everything from hair to makeup, tattoo cover up and airbrushing, along with training in wigs and prosthetic design. She helps inspire other up and coming artists. You can find more information about Melanie Littlewood at


A Gunfight with Cowboys, Pirates, and Ghosts

The filmmakers behind the upcoming movie called Pistolero discuss the concept behind the film and
announce the launch of their crowdfunding campaign.
United States – Nov. 9th 2015 : In August of next year, a highly talented film crew will begin shooting the
much-anticipated film entitled “Pistolero.” The film will be directed by Ezequiel Martinez, an
up-and-coming Hollywood director who has directed several other films including “On a Dark and
Stormy Night” and “Spyware.” Alongside Ezequiel, there will be many talented and accomplished
individuals within the film industry taking a part in Pistolero. This includes the noted cinematographer
Byron Werner, the producer Kico Velarde, and writer Lee Brandt. The film is expected to begin
shooting this upcoming August at the Greenspot Farms in Mentone, California, near the San
Bernardino Forest.
“ The concept behind Pistolero was created when I answered a question that no
one has ever thought of. ” said the director Ezequiel Martinez. “ What would
happen if you took the Mexico of the past, present, and future, and then rolled
it together with a world of Tim Burton fantasy and Clint Eastwood westerns, to
create a hurricane of gunfighters? Pistolero is a story that brings those who are
wanted dead, to life as they participate in the greatest gunfight the world has The movie Pistolero revolves around a revenge plot between cowboys, ghosts, pirates, and the elusive
Dorian Grey. The film is expected to have several high-quality action scenes, including a 15-minute
gunfight that was already optioned by a large film production company. For $45,000 the makers of
Pistolero can shoot this piece of the movie and then have it re-optioned with Ezequiel Martinez as the
director. In order to offset some of the costs associated with creating Pistolero, the filmmakers have
created an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign which was launched earlier this week and will expire
within the next two months. The crew hopes to achieve their $45,000 goal in order to bring the story
of Pistolero to life. There are several “perks” that will be provided to contributors such as digital
downloads of the movie’s theme song, an entry to a draw, merchandise, and the opportunity to be
apart of the film. More information about the Pistolero crowdfunding campaign can be accessed
seen. ”

First Day On a Movie Set

So here you are, you have worked hard, spent a ton of money in schooling, advertisement, and probably a number of other things. This can be nerve racking, or frustrating. Why? Because you may not be doing what you came out to Hollywood to do.

You may be doing extra work (background) or PA work.

On the bigger sets, it is harder to get more than that.

On a low budget set, it is much easier to get selected to a specific department and move up the ranks in that department faster. If you have connections, you could do it on the big budgets faster. This business is mostly about who you know and how well you get along. Skill can be taught, but unlike other industries it is mostly taught by watching people do it and doing it yourself. The more you work, the more you learn.

But what happens on a movie set?

Each set can be different, some can be organized better than others.

  1. The first thing to look at is the call sheet. It has a wealth of information like the time and the location of the set. It also says how many scenes and pages of the set you will be doing for that day. More on that in the article on call sheets.
  2. The next thing to look at is who your immediate boss is. Understanding the workings of the set take time and each can be a bit different depending on the players of the game. For instance, if the producer has more credits than the director, he may have the final say. But if the director is producing the show, then he is the boss. Do your best to observe and listen and don’t get caught in cross fires.
  3. The next thing to do is listen if someone tells you to do something. Clear it with your boss if it is outside your department and do it if your boss tells you to. But if he says do it a certain way, then do it that way. Don’t get into arguments about how to do things. The key at this stage is doing more and less arguments.
  4. The next step and you will hear me say this many times is “go above and beyond expected.” Get very good at what you do. Show up early and stay late. In the beginning, the first day you are a beginner with no credits. I don’t care how much you paid for a degree and neither does the rest of the industry. You start where everyone else does unless you have connections. So be prepared to work.
  5. And one of the most important things is to have fun and enjoy what you do. Don’t complain. It infects the set and only makes things worse.

Don’t expect any movie set to be like any other movie set or the way you were taught in school.

James Kelly Durgin

Hollywood has been enjoying services of some of the best talents in the world. One such great talent was of Jim ‘Kelly’ Durgin. Until his death in 2011, Jim served as an excellent script supervisor in Hollywood having taken an active scripting role in more than 200 movies.
Early Life
Durgin, James Clayton “Kelly” was born in August 13, 1930 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as the oldest of Mae and James Durgin’s three sons. In his early life, Jim attended the Holly Cross Elementary School before proceeding to Foshay Junior High School. His interest in the arts led him to later join Manual Arts High School before making his way to Woodbury College and finally setting his feet in the Los Angeles City College in LA. His early education was majorly inspired by his love for art and that’s why he later found himself in Los Angeles.
His Service to the Nation
After completion of his studies, Jim served with the 40th Infantry Division in Japan. He was in the occupation troops in Japan. His bravery actions also helped him to develop acceptable morals that guided him in his later career in the film industry.
Start of His Career In Films
Soon after his return from Japan, Jim changed the course of career from active service in the military to the films. His entry into the film industry started as a photographer and editor. He also did quite a number of jobs in the film and television industry. Unlike other talented artists, Jim was willing to do any work in the film and television industry just for the purpose of experience.
The Epitome of Jim’s Career
Under his mother’s second marriage name, “Kelly”, Jim took part in acting as an extra in many films. Despite, engaging in such roles, Jim’s real niche was script supervision. He was an excellent script supervisor. In his long career, running over 50 years, Jim had supervised scripts of more than 200 movies in both the American and Canadian film industries. Some of his greatest works include script supervision in “The Jonathan Winters Show” series and “The Blob” movie.
He had 50 years experience in the film industry, 40 of which he was an instructor teaching script supervision, motion picture production and movie budgeting. He taught many producers, writers, actors, and movie makers as well as some of the top script supervisors in Hollywood.
Though Jim did not have a family of his own, he had such an exciting life that involved exploration of his hobbies that included shooting skeet and fishing.
In November 13, 2011, the shocking news of Jim’s death was received amidst great mourning of such a great talent in the film industry. Jim survived by his US Army, Retired, brother, Major George A. Durgin.

No Man Is An Island

The film may say “A George Lucas Production” or “A Steven Spielberg Production” but the movie you have just been enthralled by is not the work of just one man. The 90 minutes or so that you have just seen is the effort of many people, a movie today is all about teamwork.

team work

Choosing the right team is the challenge. How many movies or TV shows do you know of where the actors have stormed off under a cloud because they cannot get their way, or the director is too pushy or even he or she just cannot get on with this team? Luckily it is not that common but it does happen and it is going to happen from time to time in any team.
Just read the credits at the end of the movie, every name that comes up from the leading role down to the person that supplied the catering on set is credited. Why? Because they are part of the team and giving any member of your team credit is a vital part of teamwork, the credits at the end of the movie are like the team sheet for your favourite football or baseball team who drive home the touchdowns and home runs that bring about the success, listen to the interviews after the next game you watch and you will see the man of the moment gives credit to those he plays with.

Choosing a team is an art. Teamwork is not just about having someone that can play their part, there are plenty of great directors, producers and make-up artists and there are countless actors that could very easily play any role. Behind the scenes there are literally thousands of people and companies, who incidentally have their own teams, to choose from. So what is it that makes a team work? How do you choose the right team members?
It boils down to more than just someone’s ability to do something. That person must have an understanding of where he or she fits in and how the roles of others impact them or how they impact the others. Like cogs in a well-oiled machine the team players need to work together. Working together means communication in the movie business, it is all well and good having the best actors, the greatest directors and the most amazing producers but if they fail to or cannot communicate they are destined for disaster.

Being able to communicate, being willing to learn and being willing to teach others are just some of the characteristics of the team player a movie team needs. Communication among team members ensures problems don’t get out of hand and can even eliminate some problems altogether. With communication a team’s left hand knows what team’s right hand is doing. Through communication skills can be taught and learnt and this begins to strengthen the team, some of the best people in the movie industry have come up and even across by being part of a team, listening and learning. Actors becoming directors is perhaps the best example and when they cross the divide they know a how to put part of the team together because they have been on both sides of the movie making fence.

You can’t just have guys on the team because they are nice guys, nepotism or favoritism can lead to problems down the line. Families provide either success or failure, if your team consists of family members, husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister there is a risk of home life being brought to set, the most successful family partnerships are those who know how to leave personal and home life where it should be and bring their professional selves to the set.

But family is what a team becomes, whether it is a real life family or not, the best teams become a family. Members fit in, they are able to discuss things openly, make suggestions for the greater good. When you find someone that you want in your team their ability to be part of the team and add value to the team not because they are awesome a CGI guy, cameraman or even stuntman but because they fit in will be almost instantaneous like a lost puppy finding a home. The right team is a family but unlike a family you can choose who is in it. Because of this once a team has worked together and found success they will, just like a family, do other things together, make more movies, produce the TV series and do it as a team knowing they can do it well.

Why work in Film?

10930126_10153609539594119_7425300684727510660_oWith the invention of original productions arriving on Netflix, Amazon and various television or online venues,
the film industry is expanding. Disney recently acquired Makers Studios for $500 million (an internet channel) due to this
phenomenon. This same expansion is a boon for artistic types seeking work within the film industry.
Hollywood is one of the greatest places to work. Not only the environment, but the pay for many jobs found
in Hollywood, and jobs found in entertainment, is worth the work and effort you put into it.
A few examples….
Multimedia Artists/Animators – $61,370
Writers – $55,940
Film/Video Editors – $46,280
Personal Assistants – $80,000
Camera Opperators – $46,280
Art Directors – $80,880
There are hard facts that support the money. According to the Motion Picture Association of America
(MPAA), global box office sales for all films released around the world reach $36.4 billion in 2014; $10.4
billion of all those sales came from the U.S./Canada market. That’s almost one-third of the global market!
Movie theaters continue to draw more people than all the theme parks and major sports venues in the
United States combined.


According to a study from Duke University, Hollywood studios take up 30% to 50% of the Chinese market
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis state in a 2013 report that $504
billion, or 3.2% of the Gross Domestic Product, comes from the Arts and Cultural Production. A great deal
of this comes from the film industry.
The key is that you must know what you are doing, and be good at it. The importance of these facts in this
industry is well known in hiring practices. The film industry is always seeking good people to aid in the
expansion. If you ever wanted the dream job, that piece of the action. The time is here. Whether you want
to be in front of, or behind, the camera or working behind the scenes making it happen – you have the time
to do it now.
So how do you get a job in the film industry? How do you get a job in Hollywood? Find out in the next post.