The most comprehensive TV & film production management software
Film Scheduling with Gorilla
Preproduction Software Doesn't Have to be Scary...
It's overwhelming... but it doesn't have to be.
For over 15 years Gorilla Film Scheduling software has helped schedule over 50,000 films. We started out
as a lighter, more independent-oriented solution to the old standard software, but we evolved...
And we kept on evolving. This is our story.
We were filmmakers and writers -- so we knew we had to plan. We were also programmers, so we knew... we had to plan well.
We knew we had to have the very basics of film scheduling, which included:
• Importing a Screenplay
• Breaking Down the Script
• Rearranging Scenes on the Stripboard
• Printing a Breakdown Report and a Shooting Schedule
The schedule begins with the script. You can import a screenplay written in Final Draft (or any other screenplay
program that supports the .fdx file format). You can also import a screenplay using the .sex file format, which is used
by Movie Magic Screenwriter.
Once the screenplay is imported, you can go through the scenes one by one easily using Gorilla's Scene
Navigator. Identify the elements that need to be tagged.
Traditional scheduling programs should allow you to add an element (a Prop, a Costume, a Special Effect) to a single
breakdown sheet. You can also 'pre-tag' your screenplay in a screenplay program, such as Final Draft, using Final
Pre-tagging a screenplay allows you to begin the preproduction process in the screenplay program. We have found that about
30% - 40% of our users like to do this, but the majority of tagging is usually done in the film/video/tv scheduling program.
If you do decide to pre-tag, remember two things:
• Tagged Elements in the Screenplay will import into Gorilla Scheduling
• You can still tag elements in Gorilla after importing a tagged screenplay
Gorilla Scheduling also has two additional features that we added.
• Element Linking
• Reverse Tagging
Element Linking is a powerful feature that allows you to 'link' multiple elements together. Say you have a
Character called: MAX THE VILLAIN. Max always wears a black cape and a black mask (Wardrobe Department), and an assortment of weapons (Prop Department)
and has lots of scary makeup and scars (Makeup Department).
A traditional breakdown sheet for a scene that Max is in, would look like this:
Scene with Linked Elements
Using Element Linking, you can create a group to link all these elements to the Max character.
Before the digital age, Hollywood used a board with thin strips to schedule scenes for a shoot. It made a lot of sense,
actually. Since creating the Shooting Schedule was a 'work in progress', requiring multiple factors to align just right, such
as actors schedules, when a location would be available, how long it would take to shoot scene -- were all
variables -- producers needed a flexible method of creating a schedule.
How to Use a Stripboard Video
Thank goodness for computers.
Imagine trying to schedule 200 or more thin strips on a large cardboard board. Each strip would be handwritten with the
Scene number, the time of day for the scene, and the Cast Members needed for the scene. Since it would be too difficult
to write in every Cast Member on each strip, someone came up with the idea of assigning numbers, known as BOARD ID's or CAST
ID's to every Cast Member.
In this way, a strip would have lots of numbers separated by commas which indicated which Cast Member was required to
be on set for each scene (hence shoot day). And that brings me to the next part.
The UPM, or Producer, had to group the strips together that were scheduled to be shot on the same day.
A black strip, or an END OF DAY STRIP, would be used to separate the scene strips, which were usually
colored indicating the time of day the scene needed to be shot.
Stripboard in Gorilla Scheduling
Not only can you drag and drop your strips up and down the board, but you can select multiple strips and move them,
you can drag a shoot day (End of Day Strip) and move that. You can also sort all your strips by certain critera.
Sorting Stripboard by Location
This is extremely important.
Shooting a film is expensive. You need to get into your location, shoot all the scenes you need to shoot and
the wrap the shoot day. The Producer needs to know what scenes are needed to be shot at any particular location.
Set vs. Location
When a screenplay is imported into film scheduling software, the SET is imported along with the Scene as part
of the SLUG LINE.
For example: EXT. CENTRAL PARK, NYC - DAY
The SET in this slug line in the screenplay is CENTRAL PARK, NYC
Note: This is the SET. It is not the LOCATION.
This scene may not be shot in Central Park in New York City.
Let me give you another example.
EXT. THE PLANET XODO IN THE CELESTIAL SYSTEM - DAY
Now, I don't care what your budget is, but you're not going to actually shoot this scene
on this planet in a far away universe. But you might shoot it on a Sound Stage at Warner Bros.
So, you can see how important it is to not only enter all your locations onto your breakdown sheets
but also to SORT your Stripboard by Location.
Beyond the Basics
In designing Gorilla, we had to go beyond the basics. Even though we added functionality to the
basics with Element Linking, Sorting by Location, and Reverse Tagging, we as filmmakers, knew we
Cast & Crew Management
We needed to have a complete contact management system including cast and crew, their contact information,
roles played, titles and departments, and available days.
Actor Casting in Gorilla with Headshots
I mentioned how important it was to enter locations in your film scheduling software. Imagine our surprise when we
found out that the industry-standard software did not have this capability.
The ability to upload photos from a location scout is crucial. You need to log all the information about that location,
including contact information, availability dates, permit requirements, electricity requirements -- does it have a restroom? -- where
will the cast and crew eat?, and on and on.
Storyboard & Shot List
We were one of the very first to include a Storyboard and Shot List module in a film/tv scheduling program. We
used to write out our shot list or use Microsoft Word to create a Shot List, which is fine, but wouldn't it make
sense to attach a scene (that is already in your program) to a shot? Or add Cast Members that need to be in the shot?
How about equipment needed, and what kind of camera or setup do you require?
Storyboard & Shot Lists in Gorilla
And the best part are the hundreds of videos we created that can help you every step of the way. From importing a screenplay,
to breaking down your script, to scheduling your scenes on the stripboard, to sending out a Call Sheet, there is a simple to follow
video created for each one.
For a complete working demo of Gorilla Scheduling click here for Macintosh
or here for Windows.