A call sheet is an important piece of paper handed out at the end of each shooting day. Its main purpose is to provide information on the next day of shooting, but it also acts as a receipt for your work.
Call sheets are often forgotten about or left lying around because people think they are unimportant as long as you know the call time. I disagree and believe that you should be keeping them in your records.
Start Collecting Now
Having a collection of call sheets is a step in the right direction towards establishing your credibility as a real full-time filmmaker. You never know when you may decide to join a union or need to prove that you have the experience you claim.
For those within the camera department, the union is the IASTE Local 600. One of their requirements for membership is a predetermined number of hours of paid work (the exact numbers vary depending on when/where you join). An option to fulfill this requirement is submitting call sheets.
I have a folder at my desk at home where I keep call sheets from every shoot I’ve been on. Sometimes I even take two copies at the beginning of the day cause I know I will end up using one copy for names of talent or other purposes. The 2nd copy I keep for my records.
Digital Call Sheets
These days with computers, a lot of productions send out digital call sheets through email and they aren’t even printed at all. Keeping digital records is acceptable in this instance, but I would recommend you store the files on your own computer instead of relying on an email inbox.
It becomes very hard to wade through thousands of emails for just one file if there’s an instance you need it.
One method is to create a folder on your computer for each year you’ve been working. Within that folder, create separate folders for each production. Inside these folders is where you can store digital copies of the call sheets from that shoot.
Printing the call sheets and placing them with the other call sheets is also an option.
Besides acting as proof of work, having a record of your call sheets can serve a few other useful purposes. Some of these purposes include:
- Acting as a contact sheet with names and phone numbers of crew you’ve worked with
- A reminder of what productions you worked on when you update your resume or CV
- Location addresses to calculate car travel mileage
If you haven’t been collecting call sheets, start doing so immediately. Don’t procrastinate on this and find yourself scrambling later on to prove where, when and who you’ve worked with. A collection of call sheets can show all that information in a legitimate fashion. So if you aren’t already, start a folder now.
What records do you keep to prove that you have real work experience? Do you keep call sheets or other documents?