Next week Megan an I will be heading to Las Vegas for our friend Natalie’s wedding. It’s going to be at Treasure Island Casino. Arrgh. Nothing says love like walking the plank – that was a euphemism. I hope you plunder his gold and he gets to your treasure chest. That wasn’t a euphemism. He has a told of gold mediallions and Natalie is very protective of her treasure chest.
While it will be a very intimate wedding, I can imagine that any wedding is hard to plan. When Megan and I announced our engagement, all the married couples had the same thing to say, “This will be the worst year of your life.” Supposedly because the planning phase makes people want to tear their hair out and/or shove that ring in their fiance’s butt. For some people, the ladder isn’t a bad thing. It takes all types. We never understood this mentality. Well, we understood it but were far from agreeing with it.
If you have ever produced a film, then a wedding is exactly the same thing. You have location scouting (reception hall, ceremony), casting (groomsmen, bridesmaids, preacher, etc), crew (ushers, wait staff, photographer, caterer) props (rings, etc), music (band, DJ, ceremony music), craft (dinner), marketing (save the dates, invitations), financiers (parents, you, some rich uncle), art department (flowers, linens, table cards, etc) — really, this wasn’t my first rodeo. This doesn’t mean our wedding planning was stress free, it just meant I knew what I was up against. I can imagine couples who haven’t had this experience could feel the pressure, breakdown and hire Martin Short to plan the whole thing for them.
So, when Natalie posted on her Facebook page, “At what point in the wedding countdown do I get to say, ‘You guys do it! I’m done!’?” Megan and I jumped on on a response. Natalie, like Megan and I, is an actor and has put up many of her own shows. So, really, this whole wedding thing should feel familiar to her too. We still felt we should nudge her in the direction that this should be treated like putting on a film (or a theatrical production in her case). The answer to her question? Make a Call Sheet. What’s a call sheet?
The daily call sheet is a filmmaking term for a sheet of paper issued to the cast and crew of a film production, created by an assistant director, informing them where and when they should report for a particular day of shooting. Call sheets also include other useful information such as contact information (e.g. phone numbers of crew members and other contacts), the schedule for the day, which scenes and script pages are being shot, and the address of the shoot location. Call sheets may also provide logistical information regarding the location. It is common to find weather information, sunrise/sunset times, local hospitals, restaurants, and hardware stores. Call sheets have information about cast transportation arrangements, parking instructions and safety notes.
Yep. Super easy. We made a call sheet the day before the wedding and handed them out to everyone at the rehearsal dinner. I told Natalie this: “Yeah, taking what I learned as an assistant director on film sets, we basically made a film call sheet that had a schedule of the day, hour by hour, and the names and numbers of all the vendors, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, parents and venues. I almost listed the nearest hospitals (which) is a requirement for film locations). It took a little time, but at the rehearsal dinner, we handed those puppies out with this printed in bold at the bottom, “UNLESS WE ARE MISSING, NO ONE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ARE ALLOWED TO CONTACT US.”
Cool, eh? Yeah, weddings are just glorified film productions. I can totally understand how someone who hasn’t had that experience would be intimidated by the whole wedding process shenanigans. When I made my first big film (short film, mind you) I was WAY out of my element. I was tense, nervous, scared and completely stressed for months. The day production ended, the amount of stress that fell off my shoulders was so immense, I practically collapsed. I was like those stoner commercials where the kids are melting into the couch. Except I had none of the benefits of cannabis. Just lots of Red Bull.
So, to Natalie, all my best. You will have a beautiful wedding with lots of planks and pirates and planks . . . and rings . . . arrgh! Just remember two things – 1) you’ve put on a show many, many times. This is the same thing. 2) Do what our mutual friend Tracey told Megan – take the time to breathe and look around you. You won’t be able to see dailies, so let the camera in your mind capture these moments.