WAC PRO Script, Budgeting & Scheduling Workshop

Written by GMAC Film intern, Miriam Mathie

We know the title of this session seems dull, but with the help of Community Learning & Development Manager, Carol Brown, and perky participants, it was an informative evening and the perfect way to get the ball rolling towards their projects.  

WAC Pro is a new project for care experienced theatre group, WAC Ensemble, delivered by GMAC Film, Citizens Theatre and Arts in the City (Glasgow City HSCP). Participants are in the process of creating ten new pieces, 5 theatre and 5 film, whilst supported by industry professionals. The aim of the project is to support professional development within the arts and provide young artists with lifelong creative skills. 

Following on from recent 1-1 progress sessions with co-ordinators, getting down to the nitty gritty of logistics was exactly what the participants needed. For 6pm on a Thursday night, the KitKats, Penguins biscuits, and flasks of coffee were a necessary addition to the table, and much appreciated.  

To kick off the evening, Carol went over next steps for the participants’ scripts, scheduling the shoots, and creating a script breakdown – colour co-ordinated depending on department (e.g. characters in green, props in red, set dressing in purple) – which are needed for every scene. By giving an example of this, Carol calmed the stressed faces of the participants and invited them to start planning their own script breakdowns before moving onto the next part of the evening: scheduling.  

Did you know there are better ways to plan out a shoot to maximise efficiency and keep most departments happy? Well, Carol helped with ironing out the creases of this, explaining what to do and when, it can look like ‘shootout’ locations (filming all scenes in one location at one time), condensing an actor’s scenes to minimise their days of work, being aware of daylight dependant scenes when scheduling and always – and we mean ALWAYS – checking for turnaround issues (12 hours between shifts is recommended).  

Following this, the participants worked together using scenes of a past script to map out a schedule they would put forward for the project, avoiding any clashes, looking for formatting errors and sticking to similar locations at one time.  

 “I’d try and shoot all the scenes in the doctor’s office in one go to avoid rental costs of the location.” Alan, a WAC PRO participant suggested. 

Through this practical exercise the participants were able to understand the final part of Carol’s session: budgeting. With the use of a top sheet – the total budget that is often given to the investors when deciding if they will approve or not – the participants were able to see a realistic glance of what their projects would cost, and what, if needed, to cut out. 

Overall, the participants left the session feeling prepared for the next step in their journey. Slightly frazzled for a Thursday? Maybe. But determined to conquer another skill in the film industry, and running on the serotonin that comes with the chocolate biscuits provided!